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What is the water diet?

Updated February 21, 2019

The Water Diet, sometimes known as the Cold Water Diet, is one of the latest fads that appeal to dieters who want to melt away their fat. Compared to fasting "cleanse" diets and those that restrict caloric intake, such as the Rice Diet, the Water Diet doesn't limit food consumption, nor does it require exercise. The appeal of the Water Diet is that dieters can purportedly eat what they want--and still lose weight.

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Water Diet Creation

The exact origin of the Water Diet is unknown. Some Internet resources trace the diet to an article written and published in 1997 by the Institute for Psychoactive Research in Durham, North Carolina, while Douglas Silver Porter, purportedly a "doctor and a scientist," also lays claim to inventing the Water Diet.

"Science" Behind the Water Diet

The theory behind the Water Diet is that when cold water is ingested, the body burns extra calories to heat the water up to a body temperature of 37 degrees C (98.6 degrees F.). The colder the water, the harder the bodywork to warm up the water. Therefore, even more calories would be burnt if a dieter drinks very cold water. Additionally, drinking water in between or with meals gives dieters a sense of fullness, making them less likely to want to eat. Because the kidneys must work to process water, it is also said that the Water Diet results in toxins being flushed from the body.

How the Diet Works

On the Water Diet, the dieter drinks 1800 ml (64 oz.) of cool or cold water in eight servings over the course of the day, with or without meals, in addition to the dieter's normal fluid intake. The water can be tap water, bottled water or any other kind of water that is safe to drink. The available resources on the Water Diet discourages chewing on ice cubes to make up for water intake. The Water Diet does not alter the types of foods the dieter eats, nor does it limit portion size. Exercise is not a component of the Water Diet.

Pros and Cons of the Water Diet

The advantages of the Water Diet is that it's free--anyone with access to drinking water can try it. The disadvantages is that dieters will find themselves fleeing to the bathroom frequently. While some experts support the notion that drinking water before a meal can help a dieter cut calories, the Water Diet does not address the very necessary components of dieting, such as limiting overall daily calorie intake and incorporating exercise into the dieter's daily routine. As reviewers of the Water Diet point out, the Water Diet is not really a diet--it simply encourages people to drink the amount of water that they should be drinking in the first place.

Effectiveness of the Water Diet

While there has been no scientific research conducted on the efficacy of the Water Diet, two Arizona men in 2008 claimed to lose weight while using the "Before, During and After" strategy, which is markedly similar to the Water Diet. Jeff Schmidt lost 22 kg (50 lbs) in one year, taking him from a size 40 to a size 34. Blake Silvia claimed to lose 4.5 kg (10 lbs.) a month for a total weight loss of 32 kg (70 lbs.). without dieting. The two men drank one glass of water before meals, one during and one after eating.

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About the Author

Lisa Sefcik

Lisa Sefcik has been writing professionally since 1987. Her subject matter includes pet care, travel, consumer reviews, classical music and entertainment. She's worked as a policy analyst, news reporter and freelance writer/columnist for Cox Publications and numerous national print publications. Sefcik holds a paralegal certification as well as degrees in journalism and piano performance from the University of Texas at Austin.

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