If you're a fan of the hit Netflix series Cheer, then you may be wondering what on earth the watermelon diet is, after seeing cheerleader Gabi Butler discuss going on it (along with teammate Brooke Morosca) in order to 'cleanse' her body.
Speaking about it further to Extra, Gabi also later said, "You're not actually fasting, but you're getting something in your stomach, so you're not just not having anything. It actually is very good for you and removing all that toxic stuff."
She then remarked, "What watermelon does is basically clear everything because it is mostly water" and shared that she adopts the watermelon diet "every once in a while when I feel like I've just been eating really bad".
Obviously any diet that only involves eating one food for an extended period of time is going to get alarm bells ringing, so we chatted to nutritionist Signe Svanfeldt, from leading global nutrition-tracking app Lifesum, to get the full facts about the watermelon diet, also known as going on a watermelon cleanse.
What is a watermelon cleanse?
"There are different ways to do it, but some eat watermelon alone for x amount of days, and then start to introduce more foods to your diet," explains Svanfeldt, making it clear from the get-go that this is not something she would advise to a client or deem healthy.
"Eating an unbalanced diet, filled with only one food item, is not a healthy and balanced way to nourish your body," she adds. "We need a variety of foods, in line with our energy requirements and macronutrient needs in order for our bodies to function properly."
Then there's the fact that watermelon is mainly made up of water, and has a low energy content, so hitting your energy needs with the fruit alone would be challenging. "A too large energy deficiency can lead to negative consequences such as nutrient deficiencies, fatigue, muscle loss, hormonal issues and hair loss, just to name a few."
How long should you do a watermelon cleanse for?
"Preferably not at all," says Svanfeldt. Noted!
What are benefits and downsides of the watermelon diet?
The main downside is that you only get one single food item, and the energy and nutrients within it, says Svanfeldt. "The idea with this diet is to 'cleanse' your body, but eating one single food item will not clean your body from toxins - we have amazing natural cleansing organs in our body that deal with that: our kidneys and the liver.
"There is no evidence that some sort of diet, especially not one that only contains one single food item, would have a cleansing effect on our bodies. Watermelon can, of course, be part of a healthy, balanced diet (it's rich in water, fibre, vitamins and minerals, making it a perfect food to include in a warm climate in order to get some extra fluids in your body), but eating watermelon, or any one food item, alone is not a healthy diet."
Svanfeldt also suggests that instead of just eating the fruit solo, you could try making a fruit salad with watermelon, "Serve it with Greek yogurt and sprinkle some nuts on top and you have a nutritious, balanced breakfast or snack!"
Image Credits: Pinterest