wellness

This 'diet' is being spruiked by a former reality TV star and it's a truly terrible idea.

Before appearing as contestants on shows like The Bachelor or Married At First Sight, reality TV stars live regular lives with regular jobs.

Former The Bachelor 2018 contestant Dasha Gaivoronski is a personal trainer and was posting workouts and eating plans online long before we first watched her on TV.

Keeping in line with the type of content she usually posts, the former reality TV star and personal trainer told her 370K Instagram followers on Sunday about her three-day ‘water fast’ challenge, in detail.

“There has been so much stuff happening in my life lately that I lost the connection with my body and feels (sic) like nothing can recalibrate that better than a fast… I’m craving a challenge so let’s do it,” the 32-year-old captioned the post, which also included details of exactly how to do the fast.

Among the alleged benefits of consuming nothing but two to three litres of water a day for three days the mum-of-one listed were: autophagy (“the process where our body gets rid of old parts of its cells and recycles the cells.”), “slowing down the ageing process”, reduced blood pressure, improved insulin and leptin sensitivity, and a reduced risk of developing chronic diseases like diabetes, heart disease and cancer.

Gaivoronski also mentioned which groups of people shouldn’t undertake such a diet and advised her followers to “see how you can benefit from it, research more on the subject and read as many reviews of people who has already done it.” Nowhere in the post were credible, academic sources cited, or the origins of the factual information shared credited.

Getting ready for my little water fast like.. There has been so much stuff happening in my life lately that I lost the connection with my body and feels like nothing can recalibrate that better than a fast.. I’m craving a challenge so let’s do it. Who wants the updates on that I need to keep myself accountable ???? . 〰️What is water fast❓ During a water fast, you only consume water. Most people drink two to three liters of water per day of a water fast. The water fast lasts a total of 24 to 72 hours. You should not follow it for longer than this without medical supervision! 〰️What are the health benefits❓ •It promotes the autophagy – the process where our body gets rid of old parts of it’s cells and recycles the cells. It’s an important system for preventing many diseases, including cancer development.  It is also considered extremely beneficial for slowing down the aging process •It lowers blood pressure •Improves insulin and leptin sensitivity (these two hormones are important for metabolism. Being more insulin sensitive means your body is more efficient at reducing blood sugar. Being more leptin sensitive helps your body process hunger signals more efficiently. •Lowers the risk of a few chronic diseases – diabetes, heart disease, cancer. 〰️Is it good for everyone❓Who cannot do that ❓ If you have the following medical conditions you should not be doing it:  Diabetes, chronic kidney disease, eating disorders, heartburn, gout.  Also if you feel extremely dizzy during this experience you should stop it, this fast might not suit you❗️ Again – I’m doing it for health reasons as well as a mental challenge too. Fasting has been practised for thousands of years by our ancestors, in many religions. I also think there is such a huge food cult and it shouldn’t be like that. We eat to live and not the other way around. However I also truly believe that we need to embark on something only if we fully understand WHY we are doing it. There is so much information out there these days and I’d advise you to see how you can benefit from it, research more on the subject, read as many reviews of people who has already done it✊????

A post shared by Dasha Gaivoronski (@dashbody_) on

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Comments on the post were mixed. Some expressed concern over the amount of detail and information Gaivoronski shared and how that might affect some of her more vulnerable followers. Others found the idea of a water fast intriguing, saying they might give it a go.

Susie Burell is an Accredited Practising Dietitian with two honours degrees in Nutrition and Dietetics, and Psychology.

Frankly, she thinks the idea of a water fast, and a former reality TV star promoting one online, is highly inappropriate, precisely for the reason that they have the power to influence people without qualifications.

“Nutrition is an applied science. It is complex and requires comment from those qualified to do so and that qualification does not extend to personal trainers, fitness models or reality TV stars,” she told Mamamia.

“They may look fantastic but advising others on specific areas of diet, nutrition and weight loss is highly inappropriate.”

Specifically on the concept of doing a water fast, Susie said extreme diets such as this one never work, and can be fatal.

“While there are proven benefits with occasional low calorie fasting e.g. intermittent fasting 5:2 and 16:8 eating plans, these are scientifically developed programs proven to offer metabolic benefits. This does not extend to water fasting,” she said.

“Water fasting is not safe or recommended. There is no evidence to support its use and it is actually a regime that could be quite dangerous. Extreme diets never work, but you can actually drink too much water, which can be fatal.”

Further to the point of how dangerous doing a water fast is, Accredited Practising Dietitian and nutritionist Olivia Bates confirmed doing such a fast, even for a few days, is neither healthy, nor helpful for weight loss.

“Basically, [doing a water fast] is going to put your body into starvation mode,” she previously told Mamamia.

“It’s literally just a fasting diet and the major issue with those is that the body can’t maintain it, because all of your organs require energy to function.”

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Bates explained when you starve your body, your body enters starvation-mode and fears that you are going to do it again. Hence, one will never be able to maintain any results achieved doing the fast.

“When you do start eating again, [your body] will hold on to everything. It will store the energy and the fat thinking that when you’re going to fast again it will have stores to eat up.”

“So basically it slows your metabolism and ultimately you’ll end up putting on weight and retaining the weight when you do end up eating again.”

Mamamia contacted Gaivoronski to comment on the criticisms she’s received from experts and members of the public for promoting the benefits of a water fast and how doing so on Instagram is dangerous for people who’ve experienced or are vulnerable to developing an eating disorder.

“Your experts say one thing but my experts talk about health benefits. Fasting has been practised for thousands years for health, ritualistic, religious, or ethical purposes,” she said in a statement to Mamamia, along with a list of experts and resources she believes support the practice of water fasting.

“I did it as an experiment because of the overwhelming evidence that it increases cellular regeneration and promotes longevity of life. I didn’t do it to lose weight, I’m extremely happy with myself in that department. I’ve got an extremely curious mind and after following intermittent fasting (16/8) for quite some time and being mind blown with the positive effect it had on my health and well-being, I decided to try out the extended fast.

“After completing it I feel refreshed, energised and recharged even. But that’s what effect it had on me. However it’s fair to mention that it’s not for everyone and not everyone should even consider it which I specifically outlined it in my post.

“I’ve always been super open and honest with my followers, I love my community hence I share every single detail about my fitness and health routine. It is my personal experience though and of course, everyone should take their conditions and circumstances into consideration before trying out something like that.”

Overall, it’s up to individuals to decide what they will and won’t do to their own bodies. Communicating that decision online without proper qualifications or credited statistics, experts or research is a different story, and it’s where we draw the line.

If you want to try fasting, see a dietitian and do it the right way. Please don’t do a water fast. At the very least, not without discussing this with a qualified medical professional first.

Always seek the guidance of your GP or medical professional before undertaking a new eating or lifestyle plan. If this post raises issue for you, please seek professional help, or contact The Butterfly Foundation on Butterfly’s National Helpline 1800 33 4673. If you are in immediate danger, call 000.

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