The "Snake Diet" is the Craziest New Weight Loss Trend You Should Definitely Ignore
No, it's not a good idea to eat like a snake.
Despite the fact that they are dangerous, creepy predators, snakes are having a bit of a moment in the wellness world. This week, Insider posted a video of a "snake massage" being offered at the Wholeness Center near Valley Cottage, New York, which made everyone's skin crawl (apparently it's a thing in India and Indonesia, the idea being that having snakes crawl over your body will somehow be relaxing).
And now, self-described "fasting coach" Cole Robinson is touting the benefits of the Snake Diet, which literally involves eating like a snake. Because that's the first thing you think of when you see a snake, "Oh, how nice and svelte you are! What are you eating?"
Basically, snakes eat one enormous, fat and protein-packed meal a day, and then don't eat again for another 22 hours.
In a 2016 YouTube video, Robinson describes the benefits of his Snake Diet as follows, "Hey, fatty! I'm gonna explain why there's no other diet out there that is like my snake diet…The main focus of my snake diet is fasting. Fasting is like the holy grail. It speeds up your metabolism."
He goes on to explain that the Snake Diet isn't like the popular ketogenic diet, because that focuses on eating high-fat foods, and that's it's not like intermittent fasting, which offers a "big eating window" in which to binge on carbs. The Snake Diet, he says, is meant to let you "fast as long as possible while still getting all of the calories and macro/micro nutrients your body needs." He goes on to say that in the "best case scenario," you ingest all of your calories for the day in 30 seconds, and then don't eat again until the following day, which sounds like a really great idea if your objective is to throw up and make yourself sick.
To get started, you have to do a special 48-hour fast where you clear out your toxins, rid yourself of sugar addiction, and shift your body into fat-burning mode, by consuming nothing except water and a concoction called Snake Juice, which consists of a liter of water, 2 teaspoons of pink salt, and 2 teaspoons of NoSalt, a salt replacement product. Robinson invented this delicious drink himself, and even if you aren't a medical expert, it's easy to see why it would be extremely bad for you.
"A day's worth of Snake Juice contains a whopping 4,000 mg sodium—nearly double the amount you should be consuming in a day. That could exacerbate health problems like high blood pressure or preexisting kidney issues," St. Louis-based registered dietitian Sarah Pflugradt told Prevention.com.
Pflugrat added that while intermittent fasting, which involves not eating for 12 to 18 hours a day, has some scientific backing as a good method for weight loss, not eating for 22 hours straight is extreme and will likely deprive you of essential nutrients, not to mention leave you feeling cranky and constipated.
Despite warnings from medical experts, some people have been touting the effectiveness of the diet on Instagram, saying it helped them lose as much as 16 pounds in just two weeks.
Any diet that involves drastically cutting down calorie intake will inevitably result in some weight loss, but the whole point of a diet is to adopt eating habits that are healthy and sustainable, which clearly this isn't.
Also, and I can't believe I have to say this, but, um, we are not snakes. We have completely different digestive systems. If you don't believe me, try eating a small animal whole and see how it goes (please don't do that). And for more diets that you shouldn't try, check out the 15 Most Dangerous Diet Fads You Should Avoid at All Costs.
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