The Water & Celery Diet

celery stalks
A bunch of celery stalks. (Image: gillian08/iStock/Getty Images)

The popularity of fad diets persists because these diets promise impossibly quick weight loss. The celery and water diet may be a low-calorie way to lose some weight; however, eating only celery and drinking only water can leave you in a weakened nutritional state. Once you understand the limitations of this fad diet, learn how you can reasonably include both celery and water in your diet.

Rationale

The low-calorie nature of celery, along with calorie-free water, places them in the category of "negative-calorie" foods, meaning you may burn more calories digesting them than they actually contain, according to Mayo Clinic physician Donald Hensrud. Hensrud explains that trying to lose weight by focusing on possibly negative-calorie foods inhibits your ability to eat a balanced diet. Although drinking water is necessary to your health, water gives your body no calories, vitamins or minerals.

Calories and Fat

As you lose weight, you need at least 1,200 calories to stay healthy if you are a woman, and 1,600 calories if you are a man, according to the National Institutes of Health. Eating 1,200 or 1,600 calories in celery alone, besides being unhealthy, would be almost impossible. To eat 1,200 calories or 1,600 calories, you would need to eat 75 to 100 cups of raw celery every day. Celery has only a trace amount of fat, as 1 cup contains just 0.17 g, and 100 cups contain 17 g. Your body needs fat to process nutrients and give you energy. Plain water contains no calories or fat.

Nutrients

A 1-cup serving of celery has less than 1 g of protein, 1.9 g of natural sugar and 1.6 g of fiber. While you need between 22 and 34 g of fiber per day, if you ate enough calories in celery to sustain you, you could consume about three to four times more fiber than necessary. Celery also has 40 mg of calcium per cup and 81 mg of sodium. If you are dieting, you may be limiting your sodium to the American Heart Association's 1,500-mg recommendation. Eating celery all day long may cause you to consume an excess of sodium. Celery also contains 36 mcg of folate, 3.1 mg of vitamin C and 453 IU of vitamin A per cup. If you eat 20 cups of celery, you would consume 9,060 IU of vitamin A, far above the recommended amounts of 3,000 IU for men and 2,310 IU for women. Excess vitamin A may be a factor in osteoporosis, according to the National Institutes of Health. While water is healthy, it provides your body with few vitamins or minerals.

Strategies

Avoid using only celery and water while dieting, and instead plan on including the vitamin-rich vegetable in your balanced diet plan. Add peanut butter to raw celery sticks for a snack with both healthy fats and protein; dip celery sticks in Greek yogurt mixed with onions and herbs; and add celery to salads and soups. You can juice raw celery with apples and spinach for a healthy drink. Water can help your weight loss efforts, as drinking water adds to your feeling of fullness, which can help you control calorie intake.

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