Intermittent fasting has become an increasingly popular health and fitness trend over the past few years. Many people use intermittent fasting techniques like the 16:8 method or alternate day fasting to lose weight, improve health, and simplify their eating schedule.
But one question that often comes up with intermittent fasting is whether certain foods or ingredients are okay to have during the fasting period. One food that often gets questioned is celery.
Can you eat celery while fasting, or will it break your fast? Let’s take a detailed look at whether celery breaks a fast or not.
What Is Intermittent Fasting?
Intermittent fasting (IF) is an eating pattern that involves regular fasting periods. Rather than restricting what you eat, it focuses on when you eat.
Some popular IF approaches include:
- The 16:8 method – Fast for 16 hours per day and restrict eating to an 8-hour window.
- Alternate day fasting – Fast or significantly restrict calories every other day.
- The 5:2 diet – Eat normally 5 days per week, then fast or eat very little 2 days per week.
- Periodic fasting – Fast for 24-48 hours once or twice per week.
No matter which method you choose, the fasting period typically involves drinking water, black coffee, tea, and other calorie-free beverages.
Some people also allow no-calorie foods like celery during fasting windows.
Does Celery Have Calories?
The first thing to look at when determining if a food breaks a fast is its calorie content.
During a fast, the goal is to severely restrict calorie intake. Consuming calories during your fast can turn on digestive processes and trigger the release of insulin and other hormones, which would break your fasted state.
So does celery have calories?
Celery is very low in calories. A 100g serving (about 1 cup of chopped celery) contains around 16 calories.
For comparison, here are the calories in 100g of other common foods:
|Food||Calories per 100g|
As you can see, celery is very low in calories compared to other whole foods. A few celery stalks contains negligible calories.
Does Celery Spike Insulin?
In addition to keeping calories low, it’s also important not to spike insulin during a fast. Spiking insulin will break ketosis and the other metabolic benefits of fasting.
Foods that are high in carbs spike insulin because carbs are broken down into glucose. This signals the pancreas to release insulin.
Celery is very low in carbohydrates. A 100g serving of celery contains around 3g of carbs, mostly from cellulose and fiber. These indigestible carbs do not raise blood sugar or insulin levels.
For comparison, here are the carb contents of other foods:
|Food||Net Carbs per 100g|
Celery is very low in digestible carbs, so it will not spike insulin or blood sugar. A few celery stalks will have a negligible effect on insulin.
Does Celery Stimulate Digestion?
Eating foods that stimulate the digestive system is another way that foods can technically break a fast.
Digestion itself burns calories. So if you eat a food that kickstarts the digestive process during a fast, you are no longer in a complete fasted state.
Does celery stimulate digestion? Not really.
Celery is made up almost entirely of water (almost 95% by weight). It contains very little fiber or other material that would trigger digestive processes.
Compare that to high fiber foods like oats, nuts, and seeds that can stimulate digestion even in small amounts.
Celery requires very little digestion. So eating some celery during a fast is not likely to stimulate your digestion very much.
Will Celery With Peanut Butter Break Your Fast?
Celery sticks with peanut butter is a very popular snack. But peanut butter is high in calories and fat, so celery with peanut butter will break your fast.
Here are the nutrition facts for 2 tablespoons (32g) of peanut butter:
- Calories: 188
- Fat: 16g
- Carbs: 7g
- Protein: 8g
Just 2 tablespoons of peanut butter provides nearly 200 calories. This is enough to stimulate digestion and break your fasted state.
Peanut butter also contains carbohydrates that can spike blood sugar and insulin levels. And the high fat content of peanut butter requires significant digestion.
So skip the peanut butter if you want to stick to your intermittent fasting plan. Plain celery without any dips or toppings will keep you in a fasted state.
Will Celery Juice Break Your Fast?
Celery juice has become popular lately thanks to claims that it detoxifies the body and has other health benefits.
But will drinking celery juice break your fast?
Plain, unsweetened celery juice should not contain enough calories, carbs, or stimulants to break your fast. A 16oz glass of celery juice may contain around 30-50 calories max.
However, be careful of store-bought celery juices, as they often contain added sugars, fruits, and other ingredients that could break your fast. Check the labels closely.
As long as you stick to plain celery juice made from celery and water, it shouldn’t break your fast.
Tips for Consuming Celery During a Fast
Here are some tips for consuming celery during fasting periods:
- Stick to 1-2 cups chopped or 2-3 celery stalks max
- Avoid dips, spreads, dressings, etc
- Make your own plain celery juice rather than relying on store-bought
- Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated
- Pay attention to your body’s signals – if celery makes you exceedingly hungry, avoid it during fasts
As long as you keep your celery intake moderate, it should be fine for most fasting regimens. But pay attention to your individual response.
Other Foods That Won’t Break a Fast
In addition to celery, here are some other foods generally considered safe to consume during intermittent fasting windows:
- Black coffee
- Unsweetened teas
- Sparkling water
- Apple cider vinegar drinks
- Bone broth
- Lemon water
These beverages will keep you hydrated without adding significant calories or triggering insulin spikes.
You can also consume very low-calorie foods like:
These foods are very nutritious additions to keep your fast clean and provide nutrients.
Should You Avoid Celery When Fasting?
At the end of the day, whether you consume celery during fasting windows comes down to personal preference.
If your goal is to avoid any stimulation of digestion, insulin response, or calorie intake, then you may want to avoid all foods, including celery. Some people prefer a “true water fast” with only zero-calorie beverages allowed.
However, most experts agree that the small amount of celery will not make a big difference in the context of a longer 16+ hour fast. Having a few low-calorie vegetables may make fasting more sustainable and comfortable for some people.
Pay attention to how your body responds and adjust your fasting foods accordingly. Avoid celery or any vegetable that makes you feel hungrier during your fast.
The Bottom Line
Celery is very low in calories, carbs, and fiber. Consuming a few stalks of celery or a small amount of celery juice is unlikely to break your fasted state or spike insulin levels.
While celery may technically break a pure water fast, it can be a healthy addition to build sustainable intermittent fasting habits for some people. Drink plenty of calorie-free fluids and focus on listening to your body’s signals about what works best for you.
At the end of the day, intermittent fasting should fit your lifestyle so you can sustain it long term. Find the fasting rhythm and food choices that make you feel healthy while still allowing you to reach your goals.