There are all kinds of extreme diets out there, most of which involve some form of fasting (like the recent talk about the Daniel Diet), but this new one that I just read about takes the cake. It’s called the Water Diet or Water Fasting, and you can guess by the name pretty much what it entails – starving yourself of everything but water.
Now, there are some appropriate times when a fast like this would be used. For instance, it may be necessary for the purposes of preparing for a medical procedure. Or maybe you are doing it for religious or spiritual reasons. But outside of those circumstances, I cannot see any reason to recommend doing this for weight loss reasons. As you’ll see below, it is quite dangerous.
What Makes the Water Diet Unsafe?
There are a number of reasons why you will want to steer clear of following this kind of fasting. A few of them are presented below.
You Aren’t Losing the Right Weight
Sure, you can lose weight with a water fast, but is it healthy? Research has indicated that a person can lose up to 2 pounds per day if they follow this diet, which makes sense – you aren’t taking in any calories at all, and anything you metabolize comes off as weight loss. But, it is not healthy weight that you are dropping. Because you aren’t giving your body any fuel, it looks towards burning muscle for energy.
People who follow a water fast lose more muscle compared to those who follow a diet that consists of a normal calorie reduction.
You’ll Be Dehydrated
This sounds a little counterintuitive to adhering to a water diet, but it makes sense when you realize that 20-30% of the water we intake in a normal day actually comes from the food we consume. When you follow a water diet, you don’t typically increase the amount of water you drink from any other normal day. While your drinkable intake stays the same, we are losing out on all of the hydration we gain from the food we usually eat.
Risk of Orthostatic Hypotension
This is one of the most frequent conditions that pop up in followers of the water diet. While you may be familiar with hypertension, which is high blood pressure, hypotension is the opposite – low blood pressure. When you are not getting any calories from food, it can cause a drastic drop in your blood pressure. This is most frequently experienced when standing up too quickly, which may lead to feelings of dizziness or even fainting.
Damage to the Organs
There is no surprise with this risk being listed here. Nutrients that we lack from not eating anything on the water diet can have drastic consequences on our vital organs. The lack of nutrition can exacerbate conditions like diabetes, gout, heartburn, and kidney disease. Even if you are not already afflicted with one of those conditions, this diet alone can damage the kidneys and increase the volume of stomach acid since there is no food to digest.
Follow Healthy Practices Instead
As you can see, while you’ll lose weight on the water diet, it is absolutely a fad that you should stay away from. You can lose weight – but at what cost? Your body needs nutrition to be healthy, and starving yourself is not the way to be in good health.
Instead, I always go back to the tried and true formula for healthy weight loss. You need to eat a healthy diet, making sure you get plenty of fruits, vegetables, carbs, and lean proteins. On top of that, add a consistent exercise routine to burn off calories and maintain musculature. Make sure you are getting enough sleep and drinking enough water.
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