The Negative Calorie Celery Myth is Half True

The old myth that celery takes more calories to burn than it provides isn’t true, but it’s not the whole story.

This video was originally published on and republished with with permission.

Almost everyone has heard the old celery myth at some point: because it’s made almost completely of water and fiber, the little nutrition it does provide is less than it takes for your body to burn. Researchers put it to the test and found that no, in fact you actually do gain calories. A whopping 2 per entire cup of celery.

Other plant based foods are very low in calories and high in both fiber and water, and because they are low energy density foods, can provide a lot of bulk in a meal without adding a lot of calories. Researchers at Penn State interested in seeing how much a salad can affect appetite allowed subjects to eat as much pasta as they like. Then, they had the next group eat a small salad before they could eat their fill of pasta. By adding a 50 calorie salad, the groups averaged a 65 calorie drop in pasta consumption. With a bigger salad, a 100 calorie drop was seen. As you can see, the water weight and fiber content of plant based foods can really do a lot to add plenty of bulk to meals and satiate your appetite the right way.

So in a way, the celery myth is true. While the salads, leafy greens and other high fiber, high water content plant foods might still add calories to your meal, they’ll fill you up much more efficiently and make sure the rest of your higher energy dense meal choices remain at smaller, healthier levels. The next time you find yourself at an all you can eat buffet, pile on the salad before you pile on the pasta!

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