If the latest fad diet is worth its salt, you may be able to lose weight by eating nothing but one of America's favorite foods: ice cream. Yes, it sounds crazy, but some people are actually recommending eating nothing but the frozen treat to help you shed pounds.
How to Do the Ice Cream Cleanse
Perhaps not surprisingly, the ice-cream diet was co-created by an entrepreneur who runs an ice-cream shop in Venice, Calif. Her name is Kippy Miller, and she formulated the "cleanse" along with a yogi named Guru Jagat, who owns a Kundalini yoga studio next door to Kippy's store.
The diet consists of five pints of ice cream each day. Not just any variety will do, however. You may only use Kippy's own brand of raw coconut ice cream, which is dairy-free and sweetened with local organic honey.
The plan is also very specific about which flavors you should eat. The first meal of the day is coconut cream, followed by orange cream, dark chocolate and Himalayan fire salt, Master Cleanse (Kippy makes a Master Cleanse ice cream, containing lemon and cayenne just like the drink in the famous lemonade diet), and finally (for dessert?) "superfood" ice cream.
Does it Actually Work?
As out-there as it seems, anecdotal evidence suggests that the coconut ice-cream diet may actually work. Gizmodo reporter Brent Rose tested it out for four days--the recommended duration--and lost six pounds. His girlfriend did the cleanse with him, and lost five pounds. Unfortunately, however, the weight all returned over the weekend, as soon as they both started eating regular food again. Rose even gained an extra pound.
The reporter and his girlfriend also experienced some side effects on the ice-cream diet. They felt sick to their stomachs, had trouble sleeping and experienced some unpleasant bowel issues. They also developed bad breath and craved healthier food.
Should You Do It?
If you're considering attempting this diet yourself, be warned: the lack of nutrients may take a toll on your health. Your body needs a broad assortment of foods, including grains, proteins and vegetables, and won't function properly on ice cream alone.
There's also the issue of fat. Rose calculated his daily fat intake to be 280 percent of the recommended daily allowance, and his saturated fat intake to be 820 percent of the RDA. Although saturated fat from fresh coconut isn't shown to have the same artery-clogging effects of saturated fats from meat and dairy, these numbers indicate a serious dietary imbalance.
Nutrition aside, any weight loss on severely restrictive diets like this one is virtually meaningless, because the weight comes right back as soon as you stop. It's also impossible to lose six pounds of fat in just four days, even while fasting. That's because losing a single fat-pound requires a 3,500-calorie deficit. Odds are, the ice-cream diet leads to a whole lot of water loss, just like most other fad diets.
The ice-cream diet may seem novel, but attempting it would be a foolish endeavor. If you want to lose weight, stick to the tried-and-true method of reducing calorie consumption and getting more exercise. You'll burn fat, feel better and have a cleaner bill of health.
Nina Kate is a certified fitness nutrition specialist through the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM). She also studied journalism at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), and has contributed to numerous major publications as a freelance writer. Nina thrives on sharing nutrition and fitness knowledge to help readers lead healthy, active lives. Visit her wellness blog at BodyFlourish.com.