Will I Lose Weight if I Only Eat Celery & Carrots?

It’s normal to want rapid results when you’re trying to lose weight. Because celery and carrots both have such low calorie counts, restricting your diet to only those foods is likely to make you lose a lot of weight quickly. Because it’s a fad diet plan that isn’t sustainable or balanced, however, you’re also likely to put the weight back on when you start eating normally again. Restricting calories too much also comes with health risks.

Eating only celery and carrots is not a smart weight-loss strategy. (Image: Ableimages/Photodisc/Getty Images)

Calorie Counts

Celery and carrots are both nonstarchy vegetables, which have some of the lowest calorie counts of any type of food. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, 1 cup of chopped raw celery has just 16 calories. The same amount of chopped carrots has 52 calories. Cooking the veggies won't change their calorie count, but it will reduce their water contents. For celery, which has a lot of water, that matters. A cup of cooked carrots has the same calorie count as the raw veggie, but 1 cup of cooked celery has 27 calories rather than 16.

Quick Weight Loss

When you consistently eat fewer calories than you burn, you will lose weight over time. Most foods you eat are probably much more calorie-dense than celery and carrots, so switching to a temporary diet of only those veggies will create a calorie deficit. You lose 1 pound for every 3,500 calories you burn in excess of what you eat, so if the calorie deficit you create is 1,500 calories per day, for example, you might lose 3 pounds or more in a week.

The Downsides

Fad diets often promise quick and dramatic weight-loss results in a short time. Eating only celery and carrots can produce those results, but it comes with risks. Severely restricting calories and eliminating all dairy, protein foods, fruits, grains and other veggies from your diet can cause anemia, gallstones, heart problems and decreased immunity. Additionally, such quick weight loss is likely to come from mostly water weight and muscle mass rather than fat. Eating nothing but carrots and celery for an extended period of time may also negatively affect your metabolism, causing it to slow and making you more prone to regain weight.

Sustainable Eating

Celery and carrots are both nutritious additions to a weight-loss eating plan, but they don’t make a complete diet on their own. The veggies are low in protein and fat, both essential nutrients that your body requires to complete everyday operations. A healthier eating plan would include low-calorie, nutritious foods from all major groups and would keep you on track to lose no more than 2 pounds per week. Before making any major changes to your diet, see your doctor.

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