The primary goal of the celery diet is to lose a significant amount of weight within a short duration of time. As for the rules, while on the celery diet, the dieter is only allowed to consume celery and water, in whatever quantities desired. Depending on the individual, the duration of the diet usually ranges from a couple of days to one or two weeks. Advocates of the diet claim it's great for weight loss because celery is considered a negative-calorie food. Critics of the diet claim it's nutritionally deficient and forces the body into starvation mode.
Celery is one of the so-called negative-calorie foods, meaning digesting it takes up more caloric energy than what the food itself contains. What this means is that by the time the celery is fully digested, more calories were burned in the process than were initially consumed. Since water has no calories, and celery has a negative amount of calories, weight loss is greatly accelerated. For these reasons, many believe the celery diet is even superior to water fasting. With a celery diet, the dieter will be able to avoid the hunger pains associated with not consuming any food.
The main criticism of the celery diet is that it's nutritionally insufficient to sustain a balanced diet. While critics admit that celery does contain some vitamins and minerals, they add that the amounts fall far short of meeting recommended daily intakes. In addition, opponents claim that by eating such a diet, the human body will be forced into starvation mode to conserve its resources, which ends up defeating the entire purpose of trying to lose weight. When in starvation mode, the body slows down its metabolism, tries to store more fat, and burns muscle for energy. Even after the dieter returns to a more balanced diet, the body will remember this starvation period and continue to try and save more fat.
One thing that should be noted is that celery diet advocates consider the diet more of a temporary fast and do not consider it a long-term healthy diet plan. Promoters claim that, just as with water-fasting, the celery diet is a way to remove toxins from the body and deplete excess stores of fat. Advocates also point out that although experts claim fasting is harmful to the body, it has been successfully practiced by humans for thousands of years. The assumption is that overweight individuals don't need to consume their regular nutritional requirements during the celery diet because the body will be receiving what it needs by burning off excess stored fat. In theory, a dieter would only suffer nutritional deficiencies after his or her body used up all of its fat reserves.