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Are vegetables a free-food?

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  • Are vegetables a free-food?

    I hear fairly well established guys saying that veggies are a free-food and don't account them for calories since it takes more energy to burn than they contain thus they are a free-food. How true is this? Should we be adding them to our total calories intake or not?
    One time http://www.marksdailyapple.com/forum/forum.php

  • #2
    I'm thinking, in that case, how do vegans stay alive?

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    • #3
      My first question would be: what do you count calories for ? Any particular purpose ?

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Allenete View Post
        I'm thinking, in that case, how do vegans stay alive?
        Well, because they eat a lot more than just veggies.
        One time http://www.marksdailyapple.com/forum/forum.php

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        • #5
          Originally posted by dkJames View Post
          My first question would be: what do you count calories for ? Any particular purpose ?
          Because I want to. The purpose is because I want to reach my goals via tracking calories. I am fully aware that you don't always have to do this.
          One time http://www.marksdailyapple.com/forum/forum.php

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          • #6
            No.
            Dark chocolate and coffee, running through my veins...

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Ollie View Post
              Because I want to. The purpose is because I want to reach my goals via tracking calories. I am fully aware that you don't always have to do this.
              Then, I would say: if your veggie is starchy, yes (like pumpkin or butternut squash). Otherwise no, it would be a second or third order detail when most of the calories are from fat, protein and sugars. Moreover, veggies contain quite some fibers and other components which make them not so easily absorbed, which will mislead you in your the calorie counting.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by AngryKiwi47 View Post
                No.
                Any explanation for that?
                One time http://www.marksdailyapple.com/forum/forum.php

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Ollie View Post
                  Any explanation for that?
                  Any explanation as to why they would be a free food?

                  Calories in vs calories out, one can gain weight on salad and on snickers - though the former would be much, much harder than the latter.
                  Dark chocolate and coffee, running through my veins...

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by AngryKiwi47 View Post
                    Any explanation as to why they would be a free food?

                    Calories in vs calories out, one can gain weight on salad and on snickers - though the former would be much, much harder than the latter.
                    No, more on the viewpoint that it takes more energy to break veggies down than the amount of calories they contain thus essentially making them cal-less.
                    One time http://www.marksdailyapple.com/forum/forum.php

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Ollie View Post
                      No, more on the viewpoint that it takes more energy to break veggies down than the amount of calories they contain thus essentially making them cal-less.
                      Yeah...doesn't really work like that. That would imply I could eat 3000kcal of ice cream and lose weight so long as I ate 4000kcal of veggies due to the digestive energy. 'twill not work.

                      IMHO it's up to you. Count them, or don't count them. Whatevs. Their relatively low anyway, so unless you're grazing on them all day, should be fine.
                      Dark chocolate and coffee, running through my veins...

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                      • #12
                        Energy expenditure, or how you body uses nutrients for energy, is mostly controlled by hormones. If you have enough energy stored, you will use that energy, otherwise, your hormones will trigger hunger so you fill up your body with energy and other nutrients that serve the homeostatic balance. So I would not give too much focus on the calorie thing. It is a gross estimate at best. I would rather trust my body signals (hunger, satiety, stamina, etc) but again, I will not discourage you to follow up on the calorie counting. Note that your body does not "burn" calories like a calorimeter - keep this in mind.

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                        • #13
                          That business of negative calories is an urban myth. If you choose to count calories (I must), then count everything.

                          Be sure to include whatever you 'dress' your vegetables with, too--as with butter or EVOO. Unless you're careful, you can be wildly inaccurate in calorie counting.

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                          • #14
                            A serving of leaf or stalk vegetables is typically 5~15 kcal, and whether or not they're expended in digestion I seriously doubt that any tally attempting that level of precision is going to be informative or helpful. The margin of error on the fat and protein foods is going to be ~10% anyway so it's a fool's errand IMO.

                            However, every food contains a lot of non-energy components with their own consequences. If you're eating enough vegetables to accrue significant calories then I'd worry about unbalanced gut flora, allergens, and other toxins first.
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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by picklepete View Post
                              A serving of leaf or stalk vegetables is typically 5~15 kcal, and whether or not they're expended in digestion I seriously doubt that any tally attempting that level of precision is going to be informative or helpful. The margin of error on the fat and protein foods is going to be ~10% anyway so it's a fool's errand IMO.

                              However, every food contains a lot of non-energy components with their own consequences. If you're eating enough vegetables to accrue significant calories then I'd worry about unbalanced gut flora, allergens, and other toxins first.
                              Whaaaaa? Toxins, gut flora? Isn't the basis of this whole site built on a foundation of vegetables? A BAS alone would have 5+ servings. If vegetables don't amount to a significant portion of calories then you might be doing it wrong. Math tells me that 50 to 100 grams of carbs could be 200-400 calories. You spend energy digesting period whether it be veg or meat. Count if it makes you feel fuzzy inside. Whatever it takes to make your goals. Don't guess it will get you nowhere.

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