When it comes time to lose a few pounds, people turn to ‘miracle’ pills and fad diets. Searching for foods with “negative calories” is also a common strategy. Of all the supposed “negative calorie” foods, celery is probably the most well-known, but does celery really have negative calories?
Celery doesn’t have negative calories although it contains very few. One raw medium celery stalk contains 6.4 calories. One raw long celery stalk contains 10.2 calories, and one cup of raw chopped celery contains 16.2 calories.
In this article, we’ll dig a little deeper into the negative-calorie dieting myth. How did it start and are there any foods with negative calories? In addition, you may have heard a lot about celery juice which I’ll cover and how to make it.
Keto Diet Tip: Celery stalks are a great Keto friendly snack with only 1 gram of carb each. Great News! You don’t have to give up your favorite bread, pizza or sandwiches to follow a 100% Keto diet. Find out more in the KetoBreads website by clicking here, Keto Breads.
Disclaimer: Some of the links in this article are affiliate links which means I may earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. As an Amazon associate I earn from qualifying purchases.
Celery Is Low-Calorie But Not Negative Calories
People have been touting negative-calorie foods like celery as weight loss miracle cures for several years. There are plenty of legitimate scientific studies that prove celery doesn’t have negative calories.
The following chart shows how many calories raw celery contains:
|1 Small Celery Stalk (5″ Long)||2.7|
|1 Medium Celery Stalk (7.5 – 8″ Long)||6.4|
|1 Long Celery Stalk (11 – 12″ Long)||10.2|
|1 Cup of Raw Chopped Celery||16.2|
As you can in the chart above, celery doesn’t have any negative calories 1. If that’s true, though, why do so many people continue to believe the myth?
The “Science” Behind the Negative-Calorie Myth
There’s a belief in the dieting world that some foods, particularly foods high in fiber and water, require more calories to digest than the foods have in them.
The most popular “negative-calorie foods” include:
Water has no calories, so some people think foods with high water content are likely to have few or even zero calories. Furthermore, the body doesn’t digest fiber; instead, it passes through the body as waste.
Together, these two facts combined and convinced some people there were foods with negative calories. In other words, they believe the process of digestion requires burning more calories than they consume when eating those foods.
Websites, blogs, magazines, and newspapers jumped on the bandwagon. Suddenly, there were articles about foods with negative calories everywhere, which only cemented the idea as gospel in many people’s minds.
Dr. Donald Hensrud said it best while answering a question for the Mayo Clinic website: “It is theoretically possible to have a negative-calorie food, but there are no reputable scientific studies to prove that certain foods have this effect.”
Why Celery With Negative Calories Is Just a Myth
Chewing Burns Very Few Calories
The idea of negative-calorie foods has never been proven, and there are plenty of scientific studies out there that actually prove they don’t exist.
A study discussed in The New England Journal of Medicine, for example, shows that the act of chewing gum for one hour only burns about 11 calories, and it takes much less time to eat a cup full of celery 2.
Digestion Doesn’t Burn a Ton Either
The act of digestion also doesn’t burn nearly as many calories as people think. Unlike with chewing, there’s no single number I can give you concerning how many calories the digestion process burns 3. With digestion, it’s a little more complicated than that.
A general rule of thumb using the thermic effect of food 4 is you burn 10% of the calories you consume during the digestion process. However, this percentage can vary based on your age, weight, and whether you’re mainly consuming carbs, proteins, or fats.
Using this as a baseline, 10% of the 6.2 calories from a celery stalk is not even one calorie.
Does Celery Juice Have Negative Calories?
Celery juice does not have negative calories. Celery juice made with one cup of celery and water contains 16.2 calories.
As with celery, there’s no scientific evidence to show celery juice is a negative-calorie drink. It can, however, aid in weight loss when combined with a healthy, balanced diet and plenty of exercise. Celery juice provides numerous benefits related to weight loss, including:
- It’s rich in essential vitamins and nutrients that can supplement a low-calorie diet.
- It’s low-calorie and filling.
- It’s a healthy, low-calorie alternative to soda or coffee in the mornings.
- It makes you feel full and can keep you from eating as much.
Additionally, these are only the weight loss benefits associated with it. Celery juice is also supposed to help all kinds of ailments like acid reflux and even high blood pressure 5. In short, celery juice may not be a negative-calorie treat, but it still has numerous health benefits that make it a worthwhile beverage.
How To Make Celery Juice
If you want to try celery juice but aren’t much of a chef, you’re in luck. It’s the easiest thing in the world to make. Here’s all you need:
- A blender
- A nut milk bag
If you want, you can throw some water in the mix, as well, but it’s not strictly necessary.
Here’s a quick, easy-to-follow video that shows you exactly how to make it:
If you aren’t familiar with nut milk bags, they are used for straining the juice. You can find them on Amazon and most of them are relatively inexpensive.
I prefer to use Ellie’s Best Nut Milk Bag. The rounded edges on the bag help keep me from spilling things, and they’re also easy to clean. You can check the current price on Amazon here, Nut Milk Bags.
In addition, if you need a blender or a new one, the Vitamix in the video above is expensive. I have a Ninja Blender (BL642) with a multi-tiered 6 blade shaft in the middle. The blender is plenty powerful and I haven’t had any issues with it.
In addition, it’s much cheaper than the Vitamix, check its current price on Amazon here, Ninja Blender.
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- NutritionData: Celery, raw nutrition facts and calories
- The New England Journal of Medicine: The Energy Expended in Chewing Gum
- National Center for Biotechnology Information: Diet Induced Thermogenesis
- Taylor & Francis Online: The Thermic Effect of Food: A Review
- Blood Pressure Explained: Celery Juice For High Blood Pressure