What is the Snake Diet | How Does the Snake Diet Work | Is the Snake Diet Safe | Drawbacks of Snake Diet
We learn about various fitness and diet trends through online sources. Social media has increasingly become the go-to source of information for most people looking for new ways or diet trends. One of the recent fitness trends that hit the ground was the snake diet. If you have heard about the snake diet and have felt confused about why a diet is named after an animal, you are not alone.
The snake diet has been touted by fitness influencers who claim that this extreme form of dieting can help you lose a large amount of weight in a short amount of time.
Obviously, people are intrigued by this extreme diet that supposedly can help shed weight quickly. However, the snake diet remains controversial as nutritionists and doctors have voiced concerns about the impact this form of extreme dieting can leave on someone’s health.
This article will guide you through the enigma of this diet and shed light on the pros and cons of the snake diet. We will also discuss how safe snake diet is and whether it’s backed by science or not.
Let’s get started!
What is the Snake Diet?
It’s pretty standard for diet trends to come and go from the ever-evolving world of fitness. The snake diet is a controversial diet plan founded by fitness influencer Cole Robinson who claimed that people could lose weight by eating the same way a snake does. Snakes usually eat one big fat meal jammed with protein, and they don’t eat again for the next 22 hours.
Cole Robison is a self-proclaimed fasting coach who described the benefits of the snake diet in a 2016 youtube video. According to him, extreme fasting can speed up the metabolism to help you lose weight quickly.
The snake diet isn’t supposed to be like the ketogenic diet that includes people eating high-fat food, nor is it like intermittent fasting that allows people to fill up on carbs during their eating window.
The snake diet is based on the idea of letting you fast for as long as you possibly can and still getting the necessary nutrients and calories your body needs. According to Cole Robinson, the best thing you can do is eat all the calories you need in thirty seconds and then fast for the rest of the day.
Cole may have created the snake diet, but he doesn’t seem to have any qualifications in medicine or nutrition. This drastic weight loss regimen has raised many eyebrows amongst the world of doctors and nutritionists.
How Does the Snake Diet Work?
Step 1 to reach ketosis: 48h+ fast and snake juice
The snake diet starts with an intense fast of 48 hours or more. You can not take any food or drink except the “snake juice.” The snake juice is intended to replenish your electrolytes and has been created by Cole Robinson himself.
Health experts have expressed their doubts about the impact of snake juice on one’s health since a day’s worth of snake juice contains nearly 4,000 mg of sodium, roughly double the recommended daily salt intake. Snake juice is basically an electrolyte beverage sold in packets or can also be made at home. It contains the following ingredients:
- 2 grams of Himalayan Pink Salt
- 2 grams of food-grade Epsom salt
- 5 grams of salt-free potassium chloride
- 2 liters of water
People on the snake diet are recommended to solely have the snake juice during fasting hours. However, you should remember that snake juice hasn’t been researched for safety. People following the fast can drink up to three packets of snake juice. Prior to the initial 48 hours fast, you can eat food in the small window of 1-2 hours, then start fasting again.
Step 2 to lose weight: 72h fasts broken up by single meals
The next step or phase 2 of the snake diet involves a 72 hour fast. You are supposed to cycle through long fasts that can be broken by single meals. The basic idea of the snake diet is fasting for as long as possible and consuming food only when you can’t tolerate it any longer.
People are also recommended to test their urine through keto strips since the snake diet is designed to initiate the process of ketosis in your body. During ketosis, your body depends on fat ketones as its primary source of fuel instead of burning glucose that comes from carbohydrates.
You can continue this cycle until you reach your desired weight. Nutritionists have called this kind of fasting an extreme form of dieting that isn’t sustainable or healthy for your body. The snake diet is founded on the belief that a person’s body can sustain itself on just one meal a couple of times a week during periods of fasting.
Step 3 for weight maintenance: 72h fasts broken up by single meals
The last phase of this diet involves listening to your body and following your body’s natural hunger signals. It still involves 24–48-hour fast cycles, broken up by a few meals. The only meal you are supposed to have to break your fast should be high in fat and low in carbs since carbohydrates have fewer calories.
You can fill your plates with non-starchy veggies and perhaps a side of meat, along with eating healthy fats such as avocado or olive oil. Robinson also advises drinking a tonic of apple cider vinegar and lemon juice along with the snake juice. The snake diet recommends fasting for a longer duration of time if you are unable to lose weight.
Is the Snake Diet Safe?
Losing weight is definitely a difficult task, but keeping the weight off is considered more of a challenge. Experts advise losing weight sustainably and slowly to keep those extra pounds off for more extended periods of time. The snake diet is definitely not sustainable in the long run, and it doesn’t encourage you to develop healthy eating habits.
Nutritionists worry that the snake diet may lead to further health complications such as developing nutritional deficiencies, fatigue, loss of muscle mass, and poor mental health.
Since you are eating minimal food during the snake diet, the idea of exercising goes out of the window. You are not eating before or after a workout which leaves you with minimal energy, and you may feel dizzy. Simple tasks such as walking a few miles can leave you exhausted without enough energy stores to back you up.
Drawbacks of Snake Diet
Starving for such long durations deprives your body of vital nutrients that play an essential role in influencing your immune system and overall health. The creator of this diet believes in a myth that obese people have ample nutrition because of their fat store and they can survive only in saltwater. But each individual risks being malnourished when they miss out on having essential nutrients daily that are not found in fat reserves.
The snake diet pushes the idea of ketosis. But even with ketosis, it is vital not to push the envelope too far since an extreme form of ketosis can lead to the risk of developing ketoacidosis. In this, excessive ketone build-up in the body may result in your blood becoming acidic. Severe ketoacidosis can lead to bad breath, constipation, muscle cramps, bone density loss, coma, or death.
Snake diet is an extreme form of dieting that may result in loss of lean body mass along with body fat. When you fast for a long duration, the body depletes its carbohydrate reserves. This leads to the body breaking down lean tissue, including muscle mass and other organ cells. So, even if you can achieve rapid weight loss, it can harm your body and overall health due to weak muscles.
People with pre-existing medical conditions such as diabetes, kidney issues, or heart diseases have an increased risk of facing medical issues while on the snake diet. No clinical research has been done on the safety and effectiveness of the snake diet. Extreme weight loss methods rarely lead to sustainable results.
According to reports, more than half of the weight lost is regained within two years itself. Weight loss that lasts for longer durations requires a healthy lifestyle that can be maintained in the long run.
The Bottom line
People who have tried the snake diet have posted positive reviews on social media claiming that it helped reduce weight and get clearer skin. However, the snake diet is not recommended by healthcare professionals who want people to lose weight successfully and safely.
Humans are not snakes and have entirely different digestive systems and nutrient requirements. The snake diet can leave you feeling constipated and cranky, and also increase the risk of developing severe medical issues. There are several other well-researched and scientifically backed ways of losing weight effectively and sustainably. The snake diet is neither of those, and more research needs to be done on the safety of this new fad diet.
Do you want to try a more sustainable and research-based fasting diet? Start intermittent fasting, take up a 21-day fasting challenge and get a detailed guide on how to follow intermittent fasting, fasting meal plans, daily tips, and reminders. Achieve your weight loss goals with intermittent fasting.