The watermelon diet may be the 2022 version of the grapefruit diet that was all the rage in the 1970s. Many fad diets can thank one celebrity for their popularity: the grapefruit diet, reportedly It was Brooke Shields. And for the watermelon diet, it’s Gabi Butler, who explained it to her mom in an episode of the hit Netflix series Happiness that she and a teammate were following the watermelon diet as a cleanse for a few days.
Asked about diet by Katie Krause on Extra in January, Butler said: “It’s basically a watermelon fast. You are not actually fasting, because you have something in your stomach.” He added, “I’ll do it from time to time when I feel like I’ve been eating very poorly, not only because of my physical appearance but also because of my mental state… It’s not something that’s unhealthy. It’s actually really good at removing all that toxic stuff. What the watermelon does is basically clean everything because it’s mostly water.”
But do dieticians agree with Butler? Here’s an in-depth look at the diet, along with what they had to say.
What is watermelon? Diet?
Different versions of the watermelon diet have been making their way onto the internet. In essence, the diet consists of eating nothing but watermelon for a set period of time. Common variations run from three to seven days, and after that you add some or all of the foods you normally eat, with or without watermelon. Since watermelon is a low-calorie food (a cup of diced watermelon has about 46 calories, according to the USDA), this diet is very low in calories. It is considered a cleansing or detox diet.
YouTubers who try it boast of losing a lot of weight—13 pounds in seven days, for example—and say they stop craving junk food, clear up their skin, have more mental clarity and energy, and feel lighter and less swollen.
But the dieticians we spoke with are not fanatics. “[Gabi Butler’s] The watermelon diet tips are more toxic than the toxins you’re trying to get rid of with this cleanse,” says Bonnie Taub-Dix, RDN, creator of BetterThanDieting.com and author of Read it before you eat it: from label to table. “It’s a shame that she doesn’t understand the importance of her as a role model.” Unfortunately, people like Butler who are in the public eye can influence fans to try fad diets like this one.
“I’m a big fan of watermelon and fruit in general, but this diet doesn’t help,” says Samantha Cassetty, RD, a co-author from New York City. sugar crash. “Watermelon turns out to be a very healthy food, but there is no evidence that eating it exclusively is healthy. In fact, it’s the opposite”.
Both Cassetty and Taub-Dix are skeptical of cleanups in general. “There is no scientific validity to doing a cleanup,” says Cassetty. “The idea that you could eliminate toxins simply by eating watermelon is totally false.”
Taub-Dix points out that you don’t need a restrictive diet to cleanse your body—your liver and kidneys do it for you.