Does Celery Have Negative Calories?

Does Celery Have Negative Calories?

Celery is often talked about as a food with negative calories. Some people add celery to their diets in an effort to lose weight. Celery makes you feel full and burns up energy during chewing and digestion. Is eating celery an effective weight loss strategy?

The Concept behind Negative Calories

When a food is referred to as having "negative calories," it generally means that the food is low enough in calories that the simple act of chewing and digesting it will burn off more calories than is contained within the food. In the case of celery, each stalk contains about 10 calories and it is almost entirely made up of water.

It is believed that the act of chewing, in general, usually burns off about 5 calories each hour. Add to this the amount of energy required to digest food and it is possible that by eating celery, you will actually burn off more calories than you are consuming. Celery is high in fiber and it does require energy for the body to process it.

Eating Celery to Lose Weight

Determining whether eating celery will help you to lose weight depends on your overall diet and exercise regimen. In general, to lose 1 pound you need to burn off 3,500 calories. If you choose to eat celery to replace high fat and high calorie foods such as potato chips, cookies, candy bars and cake, then this may be a sound strategy. In this case, you are eliminating high-calorie foods and replacing low-nutrition options with a high-fiber vegetable.

If you're eliminating 500 calories per day in the form of junk food and eating celery instead, you can expect to see positive results. At the end of one week of such a regimen, you could lose one pound or so, depending on other aspects of your diet and exercise regimen. Also, the high fiber of celery should make you feel full and help to control your appetite.

Eating Celery and the Bigger Picture

If you find yourself in a position of simply adding celery to a high-calorie diet, eating this vegetable will not necessarily lead to weight loss. The number of calories burned by chewing and digesting celery is very small and will not really help you to lose weight unless you are also addressing other aspects of your diet. Limiting your daily caloric intake, in general, and exercising regularly are important components of a sound diet.

One advantage of incorporating celery into your diet regimen is that by eating lots of it during snack time or drinking celery juice throughout the day, you might find a reduction in cravings for sweet and fatty foods. In this respect, some dieters have found celery to be a useful part of an overall weight reduction plan.

In conclusion, eating celery very likely does burn off a slightly higher number of calories than it provides. Incorporating it into your diet regimen, however, requires considering the bigger picture and being careful to reduce or eliminate high fat and high calorie foods.