It’s that age-old tale your parents may have told when convincing you to eat your vegetables. But have you wondered if celery actually does have negative calories? How would you feel if I told you that you burn calories every time youeat something? In the science world, this is called the thermic effect of food, which is the rise in your metabolism from the consumption, digestion, metabolism and storage of food1. In other words, your body uses energy to get energy. Celery is composed of about 95% water and 5% fibre2 .The premise behind the age-old claim is that the energy needed to digest the fibre burns more calories than the amount found in the celery itself. 

While it is true that the fibre in celery requires a lot more energy to process and breakdown, currently there is no definitive proof showing that celery burns more calories than it contributes. Although fat generally requires less energy to process than protein and carbohydrates, on average, you burn about 10% of the calories you eat due to the thermic effect of food1. That means if one stalk of celery is about 10 calories, you realistically only burn one calorie from eating it. 

However, negative calories shouldn’t be the only reason you eat celery! For the number of calories found in celery, the vegetable itself is fairly rich in antioxidants3.The fibre in celery will help you maintain a healthy body weight, maintain healthy digestions, and make you feel more full4Plus there is more to weight loss than eating a single food. Exercising regularly and eating a well-balanced diet are key. While celery is great, there are so many other vegetables to choose from. Instead of only eating celery, focus on eating a variety of healthy foods to get all the nutrients your body needs.

Jane Skapinker

Registered Dietitian


  1. Understanding Metabolism. (n.d.). Retrieved July 27, 2015, from
  2. Water Content of Fruits and Vegetables. (n.d.). Retrieved July 27, 2015, from
  3. Yao, Y., Sang, W., Zhou, M., & Ren, G. (2010). Phenolic composition and antioxidant activities of 11 celery cultivars. Journal of Food Science, 75(1), C9-C13. doi:10.1111/j.1750-3841.2009.01392.x
  4. Focus on Fibre. (n.d.). Retrieved July 27, 2015, from

Monday, October 9, 2017 in
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