Weight Loss, Dieting & Obesity
© Copyright 2004 - 2011 , Trevor Johnson.
Silly Fad Diets :
The Watermelon Diet comes in and out of vogue regularly. That itself should be a warning - watermelons are highly seasonal, so there are only a couple of months of the year that fresh watermelons are even available. When they are, the hype surrounding this silly fad diet returns too.
Whilst there is no single "official" watermelon diet plan, the generally touted concept is that, to lose weight, you should eat nothing but watermelons for a few days, or a week, or a couple of weeks. The theory is that they are nutritious, filling and low in calories.
I cannot deny that watermelons are low in calories compared to most regular solid foods. Watermelons can be filling due to the fiber content that 'bulks up' very considerably with the water content of watermelons. Likewise, watermelons do contain many nutrients, albeit mostly in small measure.
Consider that watermelons are 92% water. A further 7% is sugars. 1% is fiber. As that already adds up to 100%, only minute rounding errors in those measures allow any room for mere trace levels of the oft-touted nutrients also found in watermelons, of which Vitamins A, B group, C and potassium are the most notable.
Basically, if you are consuming nothing but watermelon for days on end, you are really on a slightly modified water fast - the main modification being that the sugar level is almost akin to that of soda drinks, so you are, in effect, on a lolly water fast. How long do you really believe you can maintain a diet like that?
Does the watermelon diet plan really sound healthy to you?
Of course, as with all silly fad diets, the objective of the watermelon diet is for a "quick fix", seeking rapid weight loss. The inescapable conclusion is that any resulting weight loss cannot possibly be maintained and the diet "yo-you effect" is inevitable the moment you return to your normal eating patterns. This is for two reasons:
Firstly, watermelon has only trace levels of protein. For practical purposes, a watermelon diet has close enough to no protein. This means that you'll suffer muscle wastage as part of your weight loss (rather than the more desirable body fat loss). Muscle tissue is what burns your calories, draws on calories for fuel to operate, so any reduction in muscle tissue due to lack of protein also means a slowing down of your metabolism. That means even easier weight gain than before you started on the watermelon diet.
Secondly, short term silly fad diets such as the watermelon diet do absolutely nothing about addressing the cause of your original weight gain. No permanent lifestyle or dietary changes happen, so a return to your old habits and behaviours will quickly bring back the very same 'fruits' of those habits and behaviours.
Does The Watermelon Diet Plan have any redeeming features whatsoever?
Yes, it does - but not for genuine weight loss. If you have bowel or digestive problems, a couple of days on the watermelon diet will do a nice job of flushing out your intestines. The soft, bulky, water filled fiber acts like a pipe cleaner to gently scrub the walls of your intestines and remove compacted feces, relieve constipation, and assist with similar digestive complaints.
Additionally, watermelons are noted as one of nature's best sources of Lycopene (more commonly associated with tomatoes, but even stronger in watermelons). Lycopene is a phytonutrient in the carotenoid group and a powerful antioxidant. Lycopene is believed to be a useful preventative for several types of cancer, particularly prostate cancer.
Overall, watermelon is not a "bad" food. It is healthy, in moderation. Including some watermelon in a balanced weight loss diet is fine, particularly in season. (Be sure to get a seeded variety and eat the seeds. The overall nutrient content of the watermelon seeds is, gram for gram, greater than the nutrient content of the watermelon itself.) Do not, though, make watermelon the bulk of your diet. Whatever short term weight loss results you may achieve on the silly fad watermelon diet will quickly be reversed the moment you return to normal eating.
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