Food Negation Theory

February 13, 2008 | By | COMMENTS

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I have a theory. If you make spaghetti cacio e peppe for dinner, inspired by “Lidia’s Italy” on PBS–a dish of what is, essentially, spaghetti, pecorino cheese and pepper–you can undo whatever nutritional damage this does to your physique and/or health by eating a tub of green beans at the same time, as illustrated by the picture above.

This theory, which I’ll call Food Negation Theory, also applies to entire meals eaten in succession. For example, if you eat a braised pork belly for dinner on Tuesday night, you can undo its effects by eating sushi for lunch the next day. The sushi effectively negates the pork: this is Food Negation Theory.

I’ve yet to expose this theory to the rigor of full scientific exploration, but I am confident that my own personal application of this theory–an application that occurs on a daily, almost hourly basis (chocolate brownie 4:00; carrot stick 4:15: BROWNIE NEGATED)–should suffice to convince you of its merits.

May Food Negation Theory serve you well.

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Categories: Essays

  • http://www.mostlyaboutfood.com Kalle

    The way I see food negation: if you eat pasta and antipasto, they rule each other out and none of it ever happened.

    Stay slim!

  • Christian

    Also any food eaten while walking or off a stick does not count as actual “food”.

    Love your blog BTW!

  • http://cooking4theweek.blogspot.com Mary

    Glad to hear someone else subscribes to this theory as well. Our version of it is simple: broccoli eaten alongside any nutritionally impaired meal negates any negative attributes therein. We have been known to broaden our vegetable choices to include cabbage, kale and broccoli rabe as well.

  • http://www.redcook.net Kian

    My friend Edward has an even better theory: food color and texture theory. If the color of the food is blond then the calorie doesn’t stick. For example vanilla ice cream’s calorie will not stick to your body compared to Brussels sprouts. Similarly crumbly food like cookie vs. celery stick.

    Nevertheless, I have a great pork belly recipe for you.

  • http://mrswskitchen.blogspot.com Mrs.W

    Oh, I used Food Negation Theory for years! It’s a wonderful thing.

    Then I became a diabetic.

  • http://www.foodinmouth.com/ Danny

    this is a great theory. i am going vegetarian for a week to make up for all the meat that i eat for the entire year. yea, my math is off, but no one is counting anyway.

  • auntjone

    @Kian- I like your friend Edward! That means last night’s vanilla ice cream has vanished from my thighs tho the chocolate syrup might be hanging on….

    So far today I’ve had a bowl of whole grain cereal with dried cranberries and lo-fat milk and some pineapple. I may have a double cheeseburger for lunch. Hee!

  • Massimo

    The name of the dish is “cacio e pepe” which literally means cheese and pepper…

  • http://devourthis.typepad.com/ Jackie

    Love this. Simply stated, but oh so profound. Now it makes total sense how I’ve managed to maintain the same approx. weight for all of these years — oatmeal with nuts and dried fruits for breakfast and as much pasta, cheese, and butter as I want for dinner! Well done!

  • http://smellsliketeenblog.blogspot.com/ Tracy

    I’m pretty much walking proof that the food negation theory doesn’t work, but I still apply it…the other night I made some amazing mac & cheese (my first from scratch), served with steamed mixed veggies to negate all the butter and cheese in the main dish. I’m so glad that I’m not the only one who has these crazy theories!

  • http://lekkercraft.blogspot.com lekkercraft

    Ah yes. I pondered this theory last night as I negated my cheesy turkey melt with baby carrots. Carrots really are the great negator!

  • http://groceryaddict.blogspot.com Narinda

    I live by this theory, too! I firmly believe that eating an orange after dinner negates any bacon, butter, chocolate, or combination thereof that I may have consumed previously that day.

    It’s about time someone brought this Theory to the world!

  • http://groceryaddict.blogspot.com Narinda

    I live by this theory, too! I firmly believe that eating an orange after dinner negates any bacon, butter, chocolate, or combination thereof that I may have consumed previously that day.

  • jeremypb

    i love this theory. i do something similar to mary. i make fettuccine alfredo and put broccoli into it to negate the alfredo.

  • http://www.intervaldrinks.blogspot.com Tasha

    Yes, yes, yes. And food taken from other people’s plates follows a similar logic I find. So it doesn’t matter how many french fries you steal from your friend’s plate, because they’re not ‘yours’ and you’ve been healthy and ordered a salad.

    Love your blog btw Adam, I’ve been reading it for a long while but never commented before – is there a UK release planned for that book of yours?

  • Amy

    Adam you are hilarious! You don’t stop and you won’t stop (rapping), wicka wicka wicka (record scratching)…

  • Amy

    Adam you are hilarious! You don’t stop and you won’t stop (rapping), wicka wicka wicka (record scratching)…

  • Amy

    Adam you are hilarious! You don’t stop and you won’t stop (rapping), wicka wicka wicka (record scratching)…

  • allison

    I’m sure WW would balk at this but your negation theory kind of fits in with their plan. Increasing the fiber content effectively lowers the points value. So for example, if your pasta dish had 0 fiber grams, but then you added the tub of green beans (lots of fiber, no fat, little calories), you’d be lowering the points value of the dish. Borrow your mom’s points finder and check it out — I bet negation theory really works!

  • Felix

    Food Negation is a pretty awesome plan. I think this is the real reason my mom likes low-calorie food so much; however many calories she saves are that many calories she burns. If it says you saved 100 calories you really saved 200.

    “A calorie saved is a calorie lost”

  • allison

    AMEN, Adam!!!!

  • zeep

    I can subscribe to this theory – I would also add that:

    - butter is better for you than margarine

    - sugar is better for you than nutrasweet

    The more you eat what you love, the happier you will be – the happier you are, the healthier you will be.

    Rock on AG!

  • http://www.mzkitchen.blogspot.com Madam Chow

    I completely subscribe to the Food Negation Theory. I practice it religiously by having a Diet Coke with a slice of pie!

  • http://kitchen-notebook.blogspot.com/ Lucy Vanel

    Ah, that’s your secret.

  • http://kitchen-notebook.blogspot.com/ Lucy Vanel

    Ah, that’s your secret.

  • http://aloshaskitchen.blogspot.com melissa

    May Food Negation Theory serve you well

    oh, it does adam. damn near every day. :)

  • Katelyn

    My mom used this theory — baby carrots at every meal! Take-out pizza? Noodles and butter? “HAVE SOME CARROT STICKS, GIRLS.” “TAKE ONE AND PASS THEM ON.” We ate fatty foods frequently but we had to pay the consequences by eating some baby carrots alongside.

  • Susan

    Adam,

    I guess I always thought FNT (Food Negation theory) was something that was issued along with XX chromosomes. Evidently not so much!

    Regardless, allow me to submit for your consideration the possibility that food consumed off disposable tableware also contains negative caloric load. So, a piece of wedding cake? Pshaw, no calorie load. Aunt Fred’s BBQ ribs, coleslaw, cornbread with honey butter and pecan pie a la mode? No calories if eaten off Chinet dishes. :)

  • Helene Devost

    Yes! I’m glad I’m not the only one who thinks this way. It’s not what you eat, it’s what you cancel it with.

    We call it strategic eating, but the idea is the same … and something along those lines clearly has infomercial potential.

    http://kookiemaster.livejournal.com/211910.html

  • Helene Devost

    Yes! I’m glad I’m not the only one who thinks this way. It’s not what you eat, it’s what you cancel it with.

    We call it strategic eating, but the idea is the same … and something along those lines clearly has infomercial potential.

    http://kookiemaster.livejournal.com/211910.html

  • http://foodwoolf.blogspot.com Foodwoolf

    Ah, my brother. Speak the words of truth! We must join together and spread the gospel of food negation! I’ve been a practicing food negator for years.

    And one more thing…Lidia’s cacio et pepe is bad for you? Really? What can be so bad about olive oil and cheese? :)

  • chameleon1218

    Now this is one food theory I can wholeheartedly embrace!!!!

  • Angeline

    I heard a rumour, a drink can be cancelled out by having another drink. Can anyone confirm this? People keep telling me if you eat celery it has “negative” calories (I’m always telling people how much I hate celery).

    On an unrelated note, I thought you may enjoy this article about cheap coffee Adam.

    http://www.mentalfloss.com/blogs/archives/12306#more-12306

  • Angeline

    I heard a rumour, a drink can be cancelled out by having another drink. Can anyone confirm this? People keep telling me if you eat celery it has “negative” calories (I’m always telling people how much I hate celery).

    On an unrelated note, I thought you may enjoy this article about cheap coffee Adam.

    http://www.mentalfloss.com/blogs/archives/12306#more-12306

  • zeep

    Angeline, I can indeed confirm that regarding the drinks, it is all true, no doubt about it.

    Also, remember the core axiom of Beerbong Physics: what goes down, must come up.

    Be careful kids, and stay fabulous.

  • http://lifelilnotebook.wordpress.com Gloria

    It has an official name? LOL! I always do it, but I call it ‘canceling out guilty pleasures’. ;)

  • http://eatfordinner.blogspot.com gizmar

    And all this time I thought I was so unique – if you drink a milkshake with only one straw you consume so many fewer calories. Not total negation but it all helps.

  • http://eatfordinner.blogspot.com gizmar

    And all this time I thought I was so unique – if you drink a milkshake with only one straw you consume so many fewer calories. Not total negation but it all helps.

  • And Your Commenters Think You’re Unique?

    Mitch Hedberg died so you could steal his joke; it’s still funny, but not your joke:

    “It would be cool if you could eat a good food with a bad food, and then the good food would cover for the bad food when it got to your stomach. Like you could eat a carrot with an onion ring, and they would travel down to your stomach, then they would get there and the carrot would say, ‘It’s cool, he’s with me.’”

  • Bloix

    Also, food eaten standing up doesn’t count.

  • http://manolobrides.com Never teh Bride

    I do this, but not to negate calories. I just always have to throw something with some fiber and nutrients in the mix because I never feel truly good about what I’m eating unless there are some veggies involved.

  • nannystudentfoodie

    my theories:

    -broken cookies have no calories

    -food purchased for charity has no calories