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Werewolf diet: Is it a fad or a howling success?

Lisa Armstrong is the mother of two grown daughters, a yoga practitioner, an educator and a long-time freelance writer who focuses on health, wellness, and historical topics that affect humanity's personal and collective well-being.

Lose 6 pounds in one day

A diet based on the moon says you can drop pounds quickly, but there are hazards to trying it.
Woman drinking water in night

Madonna, Demi Moore and other celebrities, swear by it, claiming you can lose up to 6 pounds in a single day.

What is it?

The werewolf diet is based on the connection between moon phases and its impact on human behavior.

How does it work?

Since our bodies are 70 percent water, the influence of the moon on our inner tidal surge is behind the theory of how the werewolf diet works. According to the diet, when the moon is in a new phase, there’s a 24-hour gravitational pull that can affect the amount of water you retain, leading to weight loss.

The idea is that the gravitational pull of the moon also pulls on the water in your body. In the case of the werewolf diet, the full moon has the strongest gravitational effect, so dieters are encouraged to start fasting on the night of the full moon.

What do I do?

During the full moon, new moon, or the beginning of any other moon phase, you'll go on a water or a juice fast for the first 24 hours, followed by eating raw or cooked vegetables several times a day.

Fans of the werewolf diet say that lining up your eating habits with the moon's phases allows you to lose more weight — but your timing at the start of a moon cycle is all-important. So, if you decide to begin this diet, you’ll need to get either a Farmer’s Almanac or an app for your smart phone to sync up with the moon.

Is there any science behind the moon affecting our bodies?

Although detox diets like the werewolf diet are popular, they are not scientifically supported. One weight loss expert feels that fasts and cleanses won't achieve the desired effect.

"The main reason why I wouldn't recommend this diet is that it's a fad diet. It's all about deprivation and quick results rather than making long-term changes to your lifestyle. Even if you go on this diet and lose weight quickly, it won't last, since few people will be willing or able to tolerate this sort of regime for long," says Dr. Khandee Ahnaimugan, M.D.

"The effects that this diet has could be achieved simply by depriving yourself, which is in essence what this diet is doing," says Dr. Ahnaimugan.

Another (perhaps more realistic) approach to eating by the cycles of the moon is supported by master herbalist and therapist Tina Finneyfrock. She recommends the new moon as the best time for water, juice or fruit fasts like what is advised on the werewolf diet.

Then go for light proteins and dairy foods during the time between the new and full moon. "This is also a good time to start exercising — or to start any new routine you keep putting off — but it is not a good time to begin a new diet," she says.

During the full moon, "high protein and carbohydrate meals are well digested, as long as you're active," she says. A fun suggestion is to eat moon-colored or lunar-shaped produce at this time, including eggs, onions, melons, grapes, berries and tomatoes.

Later, between the full and the next new moon (or the waning moon), you require less activity, so Finneyfrock says lighter foods are best — soups, fruits, salads, and vegetable proteins in moderation.

While there are various websites promoting the lunar diet, the general instructions are consistent — consume only liquid at the start of each moon phase and continue this detox for 24 hours or up to as much as three days.

Tips for those who dare try

  • Try going without coffee, tea or other caffeinated beverages during these fasts.
  • Try drinking different kinds of herbal teas, like mint tea and lemonade, or a glass of warm water with honey and lemon.
  • To retain the weight loss, it's better to gradually work your way back to eating solid food with a light menu. Eat lots of fruits and vegetables, especially carrots, cabbage, zucchini, celery, lettuce, tomatoes, and cucumbers.

There are some important health aspects to consider before going on the werewolf diet. Experts warn that crash diets, such as the werewolf diet, can upset your blood sugar and disrupt your electrolytes. Therefore, if you have diabetes, heart or kidney disease, digestive conditions or if you are pregnant or nursing, you should not try it.

To manage weight, doctors and nutritionists agree that you should stick to a healthy, balanced diet and regular exercise.

More on fad diets

Pros and cons of top fad diets
Celebs who changed their diet for health
Juice cleanses and popular diets: What's worth it and what's not

Photo credit: Jacqueline Veissid/Photodisc/Getty Images
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