Is the “Internal Shower” drink on TikTok healthy or not?

Oh TikTok, the creativity and innovation you bring to the world is impressive, but the influx of weight loss hacks on the app is less than desirable. The latest is the “internal douche” drink, which is basically a homemade liquid laxative and has garnered over 90 million views on TikTok.

The ingredients for the internal shower consist of mixing two tablespoons of chia seeds and freshly squeezed lemon juice in a cup of water. One TikTok user who reviewed the drink described the texture as “alien slime” and another compared the consistency to a “glass of semen.” Delicious.

Nutritionist Luke Hanna posted his reaction to the latest trend, saying, “Why is everyone obsessed with making them shit their own pants? Because that’s all this ‘internal shower’ is doing.” It’s just fiber, he said, and we should be eating it every day through vegetables, beans and nuts.

However, people in the comments swear that it has worked for them, claiming weight loss, acne clearance, and inflammation reduction. But if the drink is used as a laxative for rapid weight loss, it can lead to disordered eating, a spectrum of eating behaviors that can negatively impact your life (as opposed to disordered eating, which falls under a strict list of symptoms). in DSM-5).

POPSUGAR spoke with Toby Amidor, MS, RD, CDN, FAND, award-winning nutrition expert and author of “Diabetes Create Your Plate Meal Prep Cookbook,” to get his thoughts on the trend and whether it’s contributing to an unhealthy diet culture. Find out more about the internal douche drink below.

What is the internal douche drink?

The drink is basically a do-it-yourself laxative to help with constipation, but it’s been touted on social media as a way to get a “flatter tummy,” thanks to the main ingredient, chia seeds (which are loaded with fiber). .

TikTok videos featuring the drink have credited Daryl Gioffre, board-certified chiropractor and author of “Get Off Your Acid,” who discussed douching in a recent episode of “The Skinny Confidential Him & Her” podcast. Originally mentioned on the podcast as a “constipation relief shot,” the trend took its name from his instructions: “You drink that on an empty stomach and it’s like an internal shower.” He now shares “summer twists” about the “powerful intestinal cleanser” on his Instagram.

The recipe is simple: Mix a cup of water, two tablespoons of chia seeds, and a freshly squeezed lemon, then let it sit for 15 minutes to allow the chia seeds to expand. Once the seeds have frozen, it is ready to drink. It is healthy? The verdict is still out. Similar to laxative abuse (more on that below), using it as a “cleanse” can fall into eating disorder territory.

Can you have too much fiber?

Fiber helps the digestive tract function, and a diet rich in fiber may reduce the risk of heart disease and diabetes, according to the Mayo Clinic. However, if you consume large amounts of fiber too quickly, it can lead to gastrointestinal discomfort such as bloating, stomach pain, and gas. Like anything else, you want to consume fiber in moderation. The Mayo Clinic recommends introducing more fiber to your food over a period of weeks so that the natural bacteria in your digestive system adjust to the change. “You can absolutely increase the fiber in your diet, but do it slowly over time and wash it down with more fluids,” says Amidor.

How can you naturally add fiber to your diet?

Fiber is an essential nutrient that we should all try to add to our daily diet. The recommended amount of fiber is 25 to 38 grams per day. But instead of loading up on your fiber in advance by gulping down chia seeds before breakfast (which honestly sounds like a choking hazard), try spreading the fiber out. “You can spread out your fiber intake throughout the day, which can also help keep you feeling full longer,” says Amidor.

“There are so many high-fiber food options out there that really this ‘internal shower’ is silly. If you’re feeling constipated, you may not be getting the recommended daily amount of fiber (most people get less than half!) filling foods throughout the day can help alleviate the problem.”

Vegetables like beets, carrots, and avocados are high in fiber and combined with fruit can make a delicious smoothie (especially if you prefer to get your fiber in liquid form). Beans and nuts also add fiber in addition to a variety of nutrients and vitamins.

What are the risks associated with using douching as a laxative?

In general, laxatives are an easy over-the-counter solution to get your bowels moving again. Unlike most supplements, the FDA has a list of approved medications if you suffer from constipation. But the risk of using laxatives arises when they are not used for their intended purpose.

According to Cornell Health, some mistakenly believe that fiber-based laxatives will help with weight loss when in fact the drugs remove water and waste from the intestines, not calories, and ironically can cause more bloating, not less. Relying on laxatives to lose weight could result in a physical or psychological dependency. Additionally, long-term dependence can cause symptoms of electrolyte disturbances, dehydration and mineral deficiencies, and severe cases of laxative abuse can permanently damage the digestive system and colon, according to the Rosewood Center for Eating Disorders.

If you’re trying to use the douche method for weight loss, Amidor says you should examine the reason you’re using laxatives in the first place. Is it to help move things around in the bathroom or to try to expel food faster in an effort to appear slimmer? “You really should give some thought to why you want to lose weight and why you’re not happy with the way you look,” Amidor says. “That can help understand some deeper issues that may be prevalent.”

It is the intention that makes the difference whether or not the behavior falls within eating disorders. If weight loss is a constant thought on your mind, you may want to talk to a registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN) or certified therapist who can get to the root of the problem.

If you or someone you know is struggling with an eating disorder, the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) has resources available, including a 24/7 helpline at (800) 931-2237. For a 24-hour crisis line, text “NEDA” to 741741 or use their one-click-to-chat help message system.

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