The watermelon diet may be 2022’s version of the trendy grapefruit diet that made the rounds in the 1970s. Is it just another fad diet that became popular because a celebrity posted about it doing wonders for their health? Brooke Shields promoted the grapefruit diet and it seems that Gabi Butler is the one who sparked public interest in the watermelon diet.
On an episode of Netflix’s Cheer series, Butler’s character tells her mother that she and a teammate are going on the watermelon diet to cleanse their bodies. Basically, it is a watermelon fast, only you don’t actually fast in the traditional sense. According to Butler, she does it every once in a while if she feels like she ate poorly that week. She claims that it helps to improve her physical appearance and overall mental state. But what do the experts have to say about this diet?
What Is The Watermelon Diet?
The watermelon diet is a promoted detox plan that aims to cleanse the body and help with weight loss. People claim that it helps to flush out toxins, improve energy levels, and thwart cravings and infections. The guidelines of the diet state that you can only eat watermelon for five, seven, or 10 days at a time. That is the primary rule, and the secondary rule says that you have to eat one kilogram (2.2 pounds) of watermelon for every 10 kilograms of body weight. That’s a lot of watermelon, but that’s all you can eat.
Not all dietitians are necessarily fans of the watermelon diet, though. Some say that the watermelon diet is more toxic than the toxins you aim to get rid of during that cleanse. The main reason that dietitians aren’t excited about this diet is because there is no science behind it. More than that, they say that the celebrity endorsement of such a diet without knowing the side effects or science is not a positive influence on the general public. Yes, watermelon is a healthy produce item, but there’s no evidence that only eating watermelon is a healthy thing to do.
Does The Watermelon Diet Work For Weight Loss?
Similar to the pineapple diet, cantaloupe diet, or grapefruit diet, the watermelon diet is a slimming plan low in calories. It is a crash diet that limits your food choices, and can ultimately take a toll on your health. Experts say that the watermelon diet may contribute to short-term weight loss, but this is only temporary. The calorie restriction causes rapid weight loss, which ultimately slows down your metabolism. When you incorporate regular food back into your eating regimen, you may have a harder time burning calories and continuing weight loss.
When you lose weight rapidly on the watermelon diet, you actually burn muscle mass instead of fat. That ultimately decreases your body’s long-term strength and ability to burn calories. That means that you can easily gain back whatever you lose on the watermelon diet at your own personal expense.
Is The Watermelon Diet Harmful?
When it comes to fasting or detox diets, it’s always beneficial to do your research. A 2018 study found that crash diets like the watermelon diet may negatively affect cardiovascular function. In the study, people followed a diet that only allowed 600-800 calories per day. The participants experienced a 44% increase in heart fat levels after just one week on that diet. Fasting diets can also cause hair loss, fatigue, energy loss, weaker immune function, and digestive problems, including constipation.
Study after study points to the fact that fad-type diets don’t work in the long run. Once the diet period is over, the majority of people return to old eating habits. This causes them to regain the weight they lost, until they reach a point when it’s finally time to test drive the next diet. Watermelon also doesn’t contain any fat, which is an essential macronutrient like protein. Because watermelon is very low in protein and doesn’t contain fat, people with certain health conditions like diabetes should avoid the watermelon diet. In fact, it’s better to avoid it entirely and focus on eating an array of fresh fruits and vegetables to diversify your nutrient intake.