Health experts are warning against a ‘dangerous’ and ‘ridiculous’ new diet trend that promotes giving up water entirely.
The practice known as ‘dry fasting’ has users stop drinking agua and only consume ‘living water,’ such as juice from fresh fruit.
Proponents claim that it cures a multitude of illnesses including sinus infections, skin problems, puffy eyes and digestive issues.
Some wellness influencers even suggest that dry fasting ‘rests’ organs, increases stem-cell production and fights inflammation.
But doctors, nutritionists and dietitians say the diet fad doesn’t do any of those things and that not drinking water could lead to dehydration, urinary tract infections, kidney failure, and – in some instances – death.
Several social media influencers promote dry fasting including Sophie Prana, Alice Copilet and Alise Miksta.
‘I had extreme swelling in my face and joints, as well as puffiness. I was so swollen, I looked sick,’ Prana, a 35-year-old nutrition coach and yoga teacher who lives in Bali, told Caters New Agency.
‘A friend who had tried dry fasting suggested it and I thought I’d give it a try. Pretty much straight away the puffiness started to get better’.
Prana and others claim drinking either tap or bottled water ‘overworks’ the kidneys and flushes nutrients from the body. Health experts say such claims are false.
‘This is one of the most ridiculous diet trends I have seen so far,’ dietitian Nichola Ludlam-Raine told DailyMail.com. ‘Telling people not to drink water is highly irresponsible,’ she added.
While there are few studies about the benefits of practices like dry fasting, there are several about complications that can arise from not drinking enough water.
Water makes up about 60 percent of the human body and is needed to aid digestion, flush toxins and produce essential bodily fluids, like saliva.
The main complication from not drinking enough water is dehydration, which can cause side-effects such as headaches, fatigue and dry skin – and could cause fainting.
It can also cause bad breath because water facilitates saliva production, which rinses away bacteria that can damage the teeth and gums.
More seriously, a lack of water could lead to kidney problems.
Water flushes out waste and acids in the body. Dehydration leads to a build-up of these toxins in the body, which can clog the kidneys.
Dehydration can also lead to kidney stones and urinary tract infections, both of which can cause kidney damage, according to the National Kidney Foundation.
‘The best way to prevent urinary tract infections it to urinate frequently by drinking water and not drinking enough water could also cause the kidneys to work extra hard,’ nutritionist Tammy Lakatos-Shame told DailyMail.com.
In fact, many doctors and nutritionists believe people aren’t drinking enough water.
A 2013 study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that 43 percent of Americans drink less than four eight-ounce cups of water a day.
Ludlam-Raine says she advises her clients to drink at least six cups of fluid a day, and encourages water as the best option.
‘We are privileged to live in a country with easily accessible drinking water, and I can’t believe that social media influencers are encouraging others not to drink it’, she said.