Lose six pounds in 24 hours - that's the big claim. But The Werewolf Diet calls on its followers to harness the power of the moon to shift weight in the same way as the tides of the sea. Yeah… right. Here's why the experts say The Werewolf Diet is a load of old hooey.
Intermittent dieting is the latest dieting craze to rock Hollywood, with celebrity advocates of The Werewolf Diet apparently including Madonna and Demi Moore. Under the strict rules of the diet, you are expected to fast (water and liquid only) for 24 hours during full and new moon phases. The understanding is that the moon has the same influence on your body as the ocean, flushing out water and toxins leading to significant short-term weight loss. But what about the evidence, long-term effects, practicality and plausibility?
We spoke to the experts to see what they think about The Werewolf Diet:
‘This diet is a wolf in sheep’s clothing – you can dress it up in fancy lunar terms, but at its heart, it’s just a deprivation diet. The vast majority of people will not be able or willing to maintain this sort of regime for very long. The desire for short-term weight loss is understandable, but it isn’t healthy because it just means yo-yoing between losing and gaining weight. It’s much better to focus on changing your eating in a way that you’re happy to live with for the long-term.’ Dr Khandee Ahnaimugan of the Dr K Programme
‘Like many diets followed by high profile celebrities the Werewolf diet claims to offer dramatic weight loss in a very short period of time. The fluid levels in our body fluctuate with hormonal changes during the menstrual cycle – so this is unlikely to coincide with phases of the moon for many women. Rapid weight loss is mainly water not fat – so anything you lose one day will be back in the next day or so.’ Angie Jefferson, Registered Consultant Dietitian
‘If a diet, like the Werewolf Diet, has a start and finish time (i.e. in line with the full moon and new moon phases) it will fail. It is just a little interlude from the nutritional behaviours that made you put on the pounds in the first place. Losing a pound of fat requires a 3,500 calorie deficit. So to really lose six pounds in a day as the moon diet describes requires a deficit of 21,000 calories, which is humanly impossible to do in a day.’ Helen Bond, State Registered Dietitian and spokesperson for the British Dietetic Association
‘There is no evidence that syncing your diet to the cycles of the moon will have any affect on health or weight loss. Obviously if you are fasting, you are likely to lose weight because you are restricting food. If you are limiting your intake to juices or any other one type of food, you are going to be missing out on important nutrients. Remember that a healthy, balanced diet is so called because it is healthy and balanced, and diets like this are neither.’ Jo Travers, of The London Nutritionist
‘A diet that is described as a detox or the latest craze smacks of “faddiness”. A diet where you eat only fruit and veg juices is unlikely to do you any harm if you are in good overall health, apart from the fact that you’ll have very low blood sugar and will feel light-headed. However, your body has a very effective detoxifying mechanism of its own so it’s effectively unnecessary. Plus, on a restricted eating plan, you are likely to lose weight primarily because it’s lower in calories than your normal diet, rather than anything to do with the moon. Any weight that you lose is therefore likely to be short-lived.’ Azima Givindji, Award-winning Dietitian & Media Nutritionist
‘This looks like another one of those kooky fads that we will all be laughing about in a year’s time. Rapid weight loss is never good for the body, and as soon as you get bored with moon-watching the weight is sure to pile back on. Most importantly, although starving yourself will inevitably cause weight loss, it will seriously interfere with your ability to think straight. Best lock yourself away during those critical moon phases…’ Jane Hughes, Vegetarian Food Writer
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‘There is only so long that any person can sustain a diet like this. You may lose weight but at the end of the day, is this really any way to live? Food is fuel for your body. A car cannot run at its full potential if it is driving on gas fumes, and its the same with the human body. People eat junk food and expect to feel great when in reality is, all it takes is a few tweaks, not a total overhaul. Your body simply does not run that way.’ Kate McTaggart, Weight Loss Expert at The Lifestyle Concierge
So The Werewold Diet sounds rubbish, check out these 12 easy rules busy women can follow to have a balanced diet.