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Home arrow Nutrition arrow Intermittent Fasting arrow The Snake Diet: ​​What Is It, and How Does It Work?

The Snake Diet: ​​What Is It, and How Does It Work?

HR_author_photo_Edibel
Written by Edibel Quintero, RD
Dr. Donika Vata
Fact checked by Donika Vata, MD
Last update: June 8, 2023
7 min read 630 Views 0 Comments
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Can the Snake Diet support weight loss and better overall health? Or is it just another fad diet?

Snake diet

Losing weight can be challenging, particularly if you’ve hit a weight loss plateau. It is common during this time to seek out quick fixes or extreme methods to try to kick-start your weight loss once more.

If you’ve been looking for a way to start losing weight again, you may have heard of the Snake Diet. Advertised as a way to lose weight and improve your health, you might be interested in learning more about it.

This eating pattern is purported to be a form of intermittent fasting but is incredibly restrictive and requires days of fasting at a time. Below you will find more detail about the Snake Diet, including why it’s called the Snake Diet, what the benefits are thought to be, and what risks come with this fad diet.

What Is the Snake Diet?

The Snake Diet is an extreme diet that involves fasting for at least 48 hours, or as long as possible, while supplementing with an electrolyte beverage called Snake Juice. Though it is called the Snake Diet, it is considered a lifestyle by its followers.

Cole Robinson is the creator of the Snake Diet. He claims to be a fasting coach, but he does not appear to have any qualifications in medicine, nutrition, or biology.

The Snake Diet works by encouraging users to endure periods of prolonged fasting, broken by 1–2 hours of eating. Once you reach your goal weight, you are then allowed to cycle through fasts of 24–48 hours, broken up by one meal in between each fast.

Why is it called the Snake Diet?

The Snake Diet is named as such as it is inspired by the feeding patterns of wild animals, like snakes. It is founded on the principle that humans used to survive long periods of famine.

How to Follow the Snake Diet?

The Snake Diet is much more than a regular intermittent fasting method. It essentially only allows you to drink Snake Juice for very long periods, forcing you to survive on one meal every two days.

Snake Juice can be bought from the creator of the diet’s website, or you can make it yourself. The recipe is as follows:

  • 8 cups of water
  • ½ tsp of Himalayan pink salt
  • 1 tsp of salt-free potassium chloride
  • ½ tsp of food-grade Epsom salts

The Snake Diet is often updated with new guidelines, as the creator of the diet regularly releases updated videos on his YouTube channel. 

It is suggested that new dieters don’t need more than 3,500 calories per week. However, it needs to be pointed out that this is far below any caloric guidance level and would result in losing weight very quickly and in an unhealthy way.

Due to long periods without food, your body burns fat in the metabolic state of ketosis. It is recommended that you measure ketones in your blood with a urine strip to ensure you’re in this state.

Below are the phases of the Snake Diet broken down into three phases.

Phase 1

Phase 1 is the first fast for anyone just starting the diet. You need to reach ketosis during this fast, so it must last at least 48 hours. This fast can be supplemented with both an apple cider vinegar drink and Snake Juice.

Once you’ve completed a fast of at least 48 hours, you may eat for 1–2 hours. There are very few guidelines for what you should eat during this phase, but once it’s over, you’re onto the next fast of 72 hours.

Robinson, the creator of the diet, claims this second fast will detoxify your liver, but there is very little evidence that any kind of detox diet can actually improve detoxification. In fact, the body has its own system of detoxing that includes the liver and the kidneys, and rarely do diets impact this system.

Phase 2

The second phase of the Snake Diet involves cycling through longer fasts of between 48 and 96 hours. These long fasts are only broken up by single meals, and you are essentially told to fast until you can no longer go on.

It is important to note that fasting for such long periods can pose severe health risks, including dehydration, hypotension, and rapid weight loss.

Phase 2 is continued until you have reached your weight loss goal.

Phase 3

This phase is considered a maintenance phase, so you’re no longer aiming to lose weight. You will usually fast for between 24 and 48 hours and are told to listen to hunger cues.

As the entire aim of this weight loss method is to go against healthy eating habits and ignore hunger cues, a switch to listening to hunger cues could be difficult for people.

Additionally, prolonged fasting can have a tremendous impact on your hormones, particularly hunger hormones like leptin and ghrelin. As these hormones are involved in feelings of satiety, fullness, and hunger, these hormonal changes will likely compromise your hunger cues.

Can the Snake Diet Help You Lose Weight?

Yes, because the Snake Diet encourages incredibly restrictive calorie limits and long periods of fasting, you will naturally lose weight. The human body relies on energy stores, burning both fat and lean muscle mass during long periods without food.

While the Snake Diet does help you to lose weight, it encourages unhealthy eating habits and rapid weight loss. It is likely that you will lose up to 2 pounds per day in the first week, resulting in a weight loss of 14 pounds per week. Healthy weight loss is considered to be 1–2 pounds per week.

In contradiction to a number of intermittent fasting routines, and other diets like the keto diet, the Snake Diet does not set out anything concrete on what you should eat in your very short eating window. There is no focus on nourishment, and the only recommended intake is Snake Juice.

While long periods without food will support losing weight, they can also lead to nutrient deficiency and a disordered relationship with food.

Does the Snake Diet Have Any Benefits?

Aside from weight loss, the creator and followers of the Snake Diet claim that this eating method has many benefits. These are listed below.

  • “Cure” for type 2 diabetes (It is important to note that diabetes is not considered “curable,” and while lifestyle changes can make the condition more manageable, diet is not considered a “cure” for it.)
  • May improve blood sugar regulation
  • Improved mood and better focus
  • Boosting energy levels
  • May lower cholesterol levels

While these benefits have been reported by followers of the Snake Diet, there is no research to back up any of these claims. In addition, the creator of the diet has no qualifications that are known to relate to medicine, biology, or nutrition.

Risks of the Snake Diet

While the benefits of the Snake Diet are tenuous, there are many risks that can be evidenced a little bit better. These are as follows.

#1 Too restrictive

Firstly, the Snake Diet is incredibly restrictive. With just a one-hour eating window every 48 hours, many people will struggle with this eating pattern.

Additionally, the Snake Diet, like many fad diets, promotes an eating method that does not value variation. This means that while you may reach your desired weight, your body won’t get all the nutrition it needs to function correctly.

#2 Unsustainable

Another risk of the Snake Diet is that it is completely unsustainable. Weight loss and weight maintenance require lifelong changes.

Extreme diets, like the Snake Diet, work by restricting you for short periods of time and lead to a bigger chance of weight regain once you begin eating normally again.

The best way to lose weight is to change the way you approach eating and exercising. You should eat healthier, whole foods, exercise regularly and change your mindset about food.

#3 Promotes an unhealthy relationship with food

This diet is not suitable for people who have had or currently have an eating disorder because it promotes an unhealthy relationship with food. It encourages you to ignore hunger cues in pursuit of extreme fasting.

#4 Increased risk of gallstones

Extreme fasting is known to lead to a decrease in gallbladder movement. This causes an overconcentration of cholesterol in the bile, leading to gallstones.

Gallstones can lead to back pain, nausea and vomiting, and intense pain in the abdomen. It can also increase the risk of complications like inflammation of the gallbladder, a blockage in the pancreatic duct, and gallbladder cancer.

A Word From an MD

The Snake Diet is an incredibly restrictive eating pattern. It requires long periods without any solid food and can be particularly dangerous for people with certain conditions, like type 1 diabetes, eating disorders, and those who are pregnant or breastfeeding.

As an extreme diet, it is not recommended for sustainable weight loss. Instead, you should consider trying other intermittent fasting methods. Intermittent fasting is a popular weight loss method and comes in many styles. You’re sure to find a style that suits your goals and lifestyle.

Remember that you should always consult your doctor before trying out a new diet to ensure it is safe for you to do so. While most forms of intermittent fasting are safe, some people may not be advised to try them out.

Losing weight can be difficult, but the best weight loss methods take time and involve lifestyle changes rather than restrictive rules like those on the Snake Diet.

FAQ

Does the Snake Diet actually work?

The diet does promote weight loss, but it is considered very unhealthy weight loss. It does not come with any other proven benefits, and, as such, it is not considered an effective method of healthy and sustainable weight loss.

Is the Snake Diet safe?

The Snake Diet encourages very long fasting periods with very few calories per week. For this reason, it can be considered an unsafe diet that puts you at risk of rapid weight loss and nutritional deficiencies.

What is snake juice?

Snake juice is a mix of water, Himalayan pink salt, potassium chloride, and Epsom salts. It can be made at home or bought from the creator of the diet’s website.

Conclusion

The Snake Diet is an extremely restrictive form of fasting. You are required to forgo food for 48 hours or more while only consuming Snake Juice. You can break fasting periods with a 1–2-hour eating window.

The Snake Diet is restrictive, unsustainable, and is considered an unsafe method of weight loss. Healthy weight loss requires lifestyle changes that focus on eating healthier foods, exercising regularly, and changing your mindset.

If you would like to try intermittent fasting, why not try methods like the 14:10 method or 16:8 pattern–both of which have been researched and are considered healthier methods of weight reduction?

Written by Edibel Quintero, RD
Edibel Quintero is a medical doctor who graduated in 2013 from the University of Zulia and has been working in her profession since then. She specializes in obesity and nutrition, physical rehabilitation, sports massage and post-operative rehabilitation. Edibel’s goal is to help people live healthier lives by educating them about food, exercise, mental wellness and other lifestyle choices that can improve their quality of life.
The article was fact checked by Donika Vata, MD
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HR_author_photo_Edibel
Written by Edibel Quintero, RD
Dr. Donika Vata
Fact checked by Donika Vata, MD
Last update: June 8, 2023
7 min read 630 Views 0 Comments
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