The world is obsessed with diets. Everyone tries to lose weight. Hundreds of low-fat diets have been invented. But for some reason the number of obese people in the world does not decrease. Why Is that? The so called ‘watermelon diet’ (not officially recognized) that allegedly gives incredibly fast results is not an exception and, in the long term, can cause severe health problems. Is it worth it? Many experienced nutritionists are totally against rigid and extreme diets, as none of them take into account a person’s individual characteristics, age, sex, rhythm of life and level of stress.
Essence of watermelon diet
The essence of the watermelon diet is to decrease daily caloric intake and eat only a watermelon for 10-15 days. To calculate how much watermelon is allowed to eat during the day, multiply every 10 kg of weight by 1 kg of a watermelon. That means, if a person weighs 70 kg, he can eat 7 kg of watermelon per day. No tea or coffee allowed. Sounds deceitfully simple, but in fact there a lot of hidden hazards for health.
Deceptive weight loss
Watermelon is a great summer treat that contains 92% of water, vitamins A, B6 and C, potassium, antioxidants and amino acids. But it’s almost fat and protein-free (only 0,1 g and 0,6 g per 100 g respectively), and without fats the body can not absorb important vitamins and without proteins the body is not able to restore muscles, tendons and bones. In this extreme situation our smart body finds a way out – it begins to use its own muscle mass and literally ‘eats’ minerals from hair, nails, teeth, skin and bones due to a catastrophic lack of useful substances in a watermelon. So a person gets a deceptive impression of getting slimmer, but fat deposits are not burnt – that’s dehydration and reduced muscle mass.
At the initial stage of a watermelon diet the organism tries to get the usual set of useful nutrients, but in a few days the metabolism slows down. Moreover, as a watermelon is mostly water, the feeling of hunger and weakness is inevitable.
When metabolism has decreased, the organism starts to support only basic vital functions and there is not enough energy for sport and household activities. The body’s resources have certain limits, and soon you might become absent-minded, inattentive and bad-tempered. The body is under stress.
Watermelon also has choleretic properties, so in case of cholestasis or gallstones, the watermelon diet can provoke aggravation. It’s worth checking with a doctor as in case with any extreme diet. The same story with liver and kidneys – 1 or 2-days smooth watermelon detox can ‘clean’ them and refresh the organism, but a longer diet (10-15 days) can exacerbate health disorders.
People with too much potassium in the blood (hyperkalemia) should not eat much watermelon (150 g maximum), as it can result in irregular heart rate and muscle weakness. According to the American Cancer Society, if to consume more than 30 mg of lycopene every day, it can provoke diarrhea, bloating and vomiting.
Nitrates in watermelons
Nowadays it’s a very common story when watermelons are pumped with nitrates to grow bigger and faster that has both a remote and an instant poisoning effect. People with respectively good health accumulate nitrates in the body that eventually cause weakness, decreased immunity, irritability and insomnia. But children, pregnant women and patients with gastrointestinal disorders have almost immediate symptoms of intoxication (nausea, vomiting, dizziness, pain in muscles, severe headache). It is hardly impossible to distinguish the “poisonous” watermelon from a clean one without laboratory analysis unless you buy it in an organic shop or use a special nitrate-measuring device.
Watermelon diet is appropriate only as a tasty detox for a few days, if taken for longer period it can be really harmful for health. Much wiser is to follow a well-balanced diet that has all necessary fats, proteins, carbs, vitamins and nutrients, but just reduce its caloric value by 15-20% and do regular workouts. Only under such condition you can get slimmer and healthier. Love your body, be smart and soon you’ll have amazing and long-term results.