Why is it that if you tell someone that a food will make you lose weight, they’ll automatically ask, “What food? Where can I get it?” This society has become so image-concerned, that anything, whether it be a type of food, exercise, or some miraculous little pill, that can help you shed off a little weight, is immediately wanted by everyone. So of course, when people hear the famous “celery has negative calories” claim, their instinct is not to question it, but rather, to go devour as many stalks of it as they can.
When things seem too good to be true, it’s usually because they are. However, in the case of celery, it’s not all fiction. Even though a calorie is just a unit of energy, and is found in every kind of plant, including celery, consuming celery really does provide a calorie deficit in your body. The question is, how?
There are actually plenty of calories and carbohydrates stored in the cellulose of celery – but that’s the catch. Cellulose is a substance that humans are not able to extract energy from. Therefore, when it goes through your digestive system, you are only able to get about six calories from each eight-inch stalk of celery consumed. And there’s more. When celery is digested, it takes more than six calories to get the job done, so in the end, eating celery does mean you’re burning more than what you just took in.
As great as that may seem, it’s really not that big of a deal. The fact is, even if you sat there eating celery all day long, you’d only burn about a dozen or so calories. You might as well be sleeping or watching grass grow, and it would have pretty much the same effect. If you hate celery, and decide to eat it just to burn calories, try drinking cold water instead. The water has to be warmed to body temperature, an action that requires more energy.
Celery shouldn’t be eaten as a dieting method – it should be enjoyed as part of a snack, maybe with some other crunchy veggies and dip, or covered in peanut butter and raisins. Eating negative calorie foods and expecting to lose weight won’t get you anywhere – you may lose a few pounds, but you’ll probably get sick and end up gaining the weight back, anyway. To maintain good health, you’ve got to eat a balanced diet with a variety of foods, and get sufficient exercise and sleep. If you choose to eat celery, eat it because you truly want to, not because of what you think it’ll do to your weight. The only person you’ll fool in the end is yourself!