food

The dangerous new diet trend that could do lasting damage to your body.

Warning: This post contains descriptions of a diet similar to eating disorders such an anorexia and may be triggering for some readers.

So you decided to try to get a little healthier in 2018 and now you’re trying to figure out how? Well, there’s one diet we can say you should definitely not under any circumstances try.

It’s called the Water Diet or Water Fast. And it’s not so much a “diet” but a synonym for starvation.

Basically, the diet involves drinking only water, and possibly (milk and sugarless) tea and coffee for as many days as you can manage, and eating NO FOOD.

What to Expect During a Water Fast- Fasting is a time for rest, not exertion. Don’t plan on running any marathons during your fast. You should do some yoga or meditative walks. Your body will want to sleep more than usual—let it. Listen to your body; you may need 12 hours or more of sleep each night, and naps during the day. Do not be alarmed; this is part of the process. Relax and embrace it. Drink 1-2 gallons of water every day. Don’t drink it all at once. Space it out over the course of the day to keep yourself properly hydrated and increase satiety. I won’t lie; the first couple days are going to be tough. You will likely experience some unpleasant symptoms like hunger, irritability, headaches, or disorientation. Fortunately, your body is resilient and should quickly adapt. You should start feeling better around the third or fourth day. Many people even report a feeling of euphoria at this point. Water Fasting Tips and Tricks Here are a couple fasting tips that can make your experience go a little more smoothly. Read Books are a faster’s best friend. When fasting, it’s important to both rest your body and keep your mind occupied. Now would be a good time to catch up on your reading. Reading is a fantastic low-energy way to keep your mind engaged. Set Realistic Goals Be realistic about your goals. Why are you doing this cleanse? To help a particular health issue? To lose weight? Set simple, clear, achievable goals. Meditation is good and promotes a healthy connection between body and mind. Many people find that meditating can be a great way to help control cravings and strengthen resolve. Others report that feelings of hunger distract them from mediation. Find what works best for you. After the Fast After the fast, you must resist the urge to overindulge, especially in the first few days. While you may dream of gorging yourself, your rebooted digestive system simply cannot handle it yet. At this point, rich food would cause you severe discomfort, or possibly serious complications. Instead, break your fast slowly. Start by drinking only juices and detox waters, then broths, and gradually add in solid foods. #waterfast #water #healthyteacher #fasting #newyear

A post shared by stefanie poulin LadyBoss Coach (@fitnessstef) on

To us, this sounds like a ridiculously bad idea, and yet it has hundreds of people posting about it on social media. So rather than trust our own logic alone, we consulted with a dietitian to find out how this could possibly be healthy.

Initially lost for words when we posed the question to her, accredited practising dietician and nutritionist Olivia Bates confirmed this diet is not one bit healthy and is in fact, very dangerous.

“Basically that is going to put your body into starvation mode,” she 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.”

ADVERTISEMENT

Put simply, people die from not eating.

A post shared by @kitty_skinny on

“What will happen in that case is your muscles will start breaking down and you’ll start wasting away and it can almost become toxic to your body because you’ll have all these amino acids around and it will put a really heavy strain on your kidneys and all your organs, and your brain in particular.”

That should be enough for people to know it’s not a good idea to try, but the Nourishing Bubs creator explained that in addition to being dangerous, it’s also incredibly ineffective.

LISTEN: Mia Freedman speaks to Wellmania author Brigid Delaney about what it’s like doing the 101 Day Detox Diet. Post continues after audio. 

“The main issue is that when you starve your body, your body enters starvation-mode and fears that you are going to do it again.”

“So when you do start eating again it 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.”

ADVERTISEMENT

Bates explained the initial weight loss that likely encourages many water fast followers is, ironically, water weight and will be regained almost instantly.

She concluded that following the water diet would make you feel crappy and then set you up to regain any weight that you’ve lost, potentially doing real damage to your body in the process.

Yeah, sounds like something to avoid to us.

So what is the best way to lose weight safely?

Bates said coming out of the Christmas-New Year period, most people will likely need to “reset”, but this doesn’t require any kind of special detox.

“It’s just about having a plan so you’re not eating on-the-go and reaching for things you don’t need, so maybe doing to batch-cooking of veggies and good-quality carbs, like quinoa or barley,” she said.

“Just aim for your five serves of veggies each day, eat some lean protein, reduce your alcohol intake, not snacking so much and going back to being a bit more conscious of what you’re eating and mindfully eating.”

“But don’t do anything extreme. If you try anything extreme you’re more likely to fail. It’s more the small things rather than making huge changes.”

00:00 / ???