Written by: William Miko
Fads can spread like wildfire on social media. Some can be for great causes and create change, while others can result in teenagers eating Tide Pods.
One fad that has caught wind is the ‘water diet’.
The #waterfast has over 19,000 posts on Instagram alone. For some medical professionals and nutritionists, this is something to be concerned about. People online are using terms such as ‘cleansing’ and ‘detox’ for something that simply is not. When you eat nothing and only drink water, you are basically starving yourself of the nutrition you need to keep your body running.
Water-fasting is when you restrict everything besides water into your body for 2-3 days at times, or longer. This has become a popular way to quickly lose weight, but some people who have certain medical conditions may be putting themselves in serious danger. Those with gout, diabetes, chronic kidney disease, eating disorders and heartburn all put themselves at risk when going through a water fast.
Aside from these particular health issues, everyone who water fasts are at risk of dehydration and a sudden drop in blood pressure which can cause fainting. Others have been known to develop eating disorders after attempting to water fast to lose weight. Although different from intermittent fasting, this trendy diet has been impacted by the water diet fad.
Intermittent fasting is a more scientific approach to fasting and can best be described as the effective combination of calories and caloric intake and under-nutrition without malnutrition. Intermittent fasting does not include putting your body through any major extremes to make you lose weight, unlike fad diets such as water-fasting. There is a real difference between fasting in a 16-hour cycle, and starving yourself of nutrients for 2 or 3 days.
If anyone is looking to fast, whether it is the water diet or intermittent fasting, for alertness or to lose weight, they should talk to their doctor before taking any action. Of course, without a proper exercise routine, the diet can only take you so far, so neither should be used as your primary course of action for losing weight. And if you are planning to exercise while water-fasting, you may put yourself at risk for medical problems. It is never worth pushing your body to extreme limits to lose weight. If weight-loss is a concern, it should be addressed with your doctor and a proper diet and exercise regime.
Some challenges are not worth accepting
It is important to be cautious of the social media trends that go viral. Some challenges have been known to put people in extreme danger, even though other trends have caused positive impacts on society.
It is important that people these days think about the consequences of their actions rather than doing something for likes and shares. Social media has caused many people to seek out attention and their five minutes of fame regardless of what it is they are doing for it. When you decide to accept a challenge that is trending on social media, be sure that you are not jeopardizing your health for a few likes or new followers.
Author: William Miko is a writer and researcher in the topics of health, mental health and culture. When not writing you may find William at your local basketball court.