What is the Snake Diet, and is it Safe?
Excuse the pun, but here is the skinny on the Snake Diet:
- Phase One: Fast for 48 hours (eat nothing at all) and drink Snake Juice
- Phase Two: Flexible fasting routine (e.g., fast for another 48 – 72 hours, then eat one low carb meal, repeat)
- Phase Three: Follow your body’s “hunger cues” to continue
At this point you are wondering what “Snake Juice” is made of. No, you don’t have to kill a snake. Here is the recipe:
- Mineral water – 1 liter
- Himalayan Pink Salt (or sea salt) – 1 teaspoon
- Salt substitute (NoSalt Sodium Free Salt) – 2 teaspoons
- Optional: up to 8 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice
- Optional: up to 4 tablespoons or raw apple cider vinegar
- Optional: as much cayenne pepper as you can handle
You also drink 1 liter of clean, fresh water for every liter of Snake Juice you consume.
When you do finally eat between fasting, you maintain a ratio of four portions of low carb vegetables to one portion of meat/fat. So, you eat something like four ounces of broccoli for one ounce of steak. You eat until you are full, and then you begin your next fast. Theoretically, this mimics how snakes eat (i.e., long periods of fasting mixed with eating a substantial prey animal).
What to Expect
Will you lose weight on this diet? Of course you will, silly, you are fasting. If you don’t eat any food, your body is forced to draw upon its reserves (fat) in order to keep you alive. Therefore you will drop a few pounds. Many people experience a headache on this diet, but the pain will go away eventually if you stick with the snake juice routine.
Does this approach “turn the industry on its head” as the Snake Diet proponents claim? Hardly. Intermittent fasting has been around throughout the course of human history. Before there were fast food restaurants and convenience stores, humans routinely experienced periods of scarcity. Human physiology allows for the shifting from dietary glucose from your most recent meal, to burning either muscle glycogen or adipose tissue for fuel. But just because your body can do this, doesn’t necessarily mean it should do this. And certainly not on a routine basis.
Is is Healthy?
The most important question to answer is whether or not this diet is healthy. I will answer that two ways. First, if you weigh over 300 pounds have tried everything else with no success, then following this diet for as long as you can stand it will probably be healthier than staying at your current weight. If, on the other hand, you have 20 or 30 pounds to lose, and are just starting out in the dieting arena, my advice is to skip this fad and go find yourself a healthy, medically approved food and exercise program to follow. This usually involves a loss of one pound per week, not ten.
Yes, prolonged fasting can be dangerous to your health. You are not taking in any nutrients, so your body will respond by slowing down your metabolic processes. You will drop weight as your body sheds water and lean tissue, in addition to fat. Basically, your body is eating itself in order to maintain life. Sure, you will “feel” lighter as you rob yourself of vital nutrients, but it is not sustainable in my opinion.
What is Ketosis?
The Snake Diet website claims that this program will “shift your body to ketosis high fat burning mode,” as if that was a perfectly wonderful thing to do. Ketosis has become a popular strategy with the low-carb diet crowd. Basically, you eat mostly proteins and limit your carbohydrates in order to put your body into ketosis. It’s a normal bodily reaction when you are not getting enough carbohydrates to keep your metabolism running effectively. Your body simply switches over to burning muscle and stored fat instead. This process, in turn, creates ketones. After a while, you stop feeling hungry as your body adapts to scarcity in your environment.
Ketosis can be dangerous, even deadly, when ketones build up in your system. As you are starving yourself, high levels of ketones change the chemical balance of your blood, and you can develop severe dehydration. When the whole process continues unchecked, you will eventually develop ketoacidosis. Your blood will become acidic, and you can slip into a coma or die. For this reason, I personally would never consider this type of radical diet regime, at least without medical supervision.
The founder of the Snake Diet is Cole Robinson. I find the style on his vlogs personally distasteful, as he shouts at the camera and includes “f-bombs” in just about every sentence. Does he think that all this yelling and swearing is motivational, or that if he screams his message loudly enough we will be convinced? If you’ve ever heard a drill sergeant, then you know the style to which I am referring. His claims are unsubstantiated by any real peer-reviewed research, and his personality is grating to say the least. Yet, I’m sure he had made money with his program. My hope is that he hasn’t irreparably damaged anyone’s health in the process.
Would you try the Snake Diet?
© 2018 Carolyn Fields