Catabolic Diet Programs

Healthy Fresh Food.

Catabolic diet programs work on the basic principle that it takes the body more energy to digest some foods than the calories that those same foods provide. The foods that are eaten on this program are said to have 'negative calories'. This is because as an end result of eating these foods, the body has used more calories than it has absorbed. These foods form what is known as the catabolic diet.

Catabolic diets are very similar to the negative calorie diet, and many of the basic principles are shared, namely that certain foods require more calories during the digestion process than they provide. These foods are often referred to as negative calorie foods. Thus, when consumed they encourage the body to call on its own energy reserves and fat stores.

The Claims

Promoters of these programs claim that you will "lose weight faster than starvation". Whilst the wording of this claim sounds pretty unattractive, what the promoters claim is that if you eat nothing for a period, the body will burn the same number of calories as normal. If, however, you make the body's digestion system work hard by burning calories taken on board through the catabolic diet program, then the body will burn more calories than normal and therefore use up more energy which will be drawn from the fat reserves. This could be described as exercise for the inner body.

Is This the Latest New-Fangled Diet?

The principles of this diet are not new. The program has actually been around since the early part of the last century. Dr Victor Lindlarh (son of Dr Henry Lindlarh the famous nutritionist) discovered certain foods have negative calories values and that people who he put on this diet lost more weight than people who were on a starvation diet. An article outlining the catabolic diet was published in 1939.

The catabolic diet has increased and decreased in popularity over the years, and because of the restricted food types that can be eaten, shares many of the same traits of other diets - for instance low carbohydrate diets.

What is a Catabolic Food?

The definition of a catabolic food is a food which contains so little energy that it takes more calories to digest the food than the food contains. There is a list of foods available; however the basic principle is that the foods should be low in calories, high in fiber, low in carbohydrate, and of course low fat. It is the high fiber content which makes the body work hard to digest the food.

There are many lists available that outline catabolic diet foods; however some of the main foods are listed below;


  • Carrots
  • Cauliflower
  • Celery
  • Lettuce
  • Spinach


  • Apples
  • Grapefruit
  • Pineapple
  • Oranges
  • Tangerines

Some catabolic diet programs suggest combining these with low fat protein sources such as red meats. Supporters claim that the catabolic foods combat the calories contained within these accompanying foods.

How to Follow a Catabolic Diet Program

The diet can be followed by only eating the foods on the diet plan. This regimen needs to be adhered to in order to follow the diet properly. There are many internet sites which offer diet plans. In addition, some also offer diet pills and potions. Before purchasing any pills or suchlike which claim to help lose weight, it is important to do the research first.

There are also lists of 'catabolic' and 'negative calorie' food freely available to allow the reader to put together their own diet plan.

Hints and Tips

  • Research any diet before starting on it and talk to your doctor or nutritionist. There are many articles on the internet which reflect different points of view.
  • Raw fruit and vegetables often work better than cooked ones - and are definitely better than canned or frozen.
  • Eat the actual vegetables or fruit - don't consume this in a juice form.
  • As with any diet, ensure that you drink plenty of water. Drinking the recommended daily amount of fluids is essential to maintain a healthy body.
  • Stop if you experience uncomfortable or unusual side effects.

Dieter Beware

There are websites which make some wild claims unsubstantiated by the medical profession about different diets, this one included. There are also a number of websites which offer you the 'secret' of almost instant weight loss in return for your hard earned cash. As with any new diet plan, offer of eternal youth, everlasting health or anything else that sounds too good to be true, always do your homework before parting with your money! Talk with your doctor or consult a dietitian/nutritionist and don't put your health at risk by following any restrictive diet for too long.

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Catabolic Diet Programs