The Negative-Calorie Diet – A Myth?

We’ve heard about the ‘magical food’ that is celery. We’ve heard dozens of times about how eating a stick of celery actually causes you to burn more calories than you are consuming causing you to magically lose weight while you’re eating. Nutritionists refer to this as the negative-calorie diet and (spoiler alert) they think it’s a load of hogwash.

According to an answer posted by Dr. Donald Hensrud on the Mayo Clinic website, only about 5 to 10 percent of your total energy expenditure goes to digest and store the nutrients in the food you eat.

The Negative-Calorie Diet - A Myth?

Basically, these foods cited as negative-calorie, such as celery and other vegetables, do use a certain amount of energy to digest, but not so much that you actually burn calories.

“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,” Hensrud says. However, this doesn’t dismiss the benefits naturally low-calorie foods can have on your diet. Hensrud advises sticking to a balanced, plant-based diet and not following an extreme diet that only promotes eating a few foods.

In his words, “The key to successful weight loss is adopting a healthy lifestyle that includes a balanced diet and regular exercise.” Righto doc – we got you!