Shuffle aside, perineum-sunners. The new influencer-driven fad is giving up water - and it might be even less safe than pickling your pucker.
A new wave of wellness influencers are taking to Instagram to extol the virtues of "dry fasting", or giving up drinking water for extended periods or permanently. They claim that humans can adequately hydrate themselves through the food they consume.
One woman, Austrian Sophie Prana, who has over 18,000 followers, published a post in which she broke down herreasons for giving up water, something she claims to have done for over a year.
Registered nutritionist Nikki Hart said to suggest people stop drinking water was "irresponsible" and "clickbait".
She said plastic bottles produced "softeners" that got into the water and were toxic; tap water was "full of chemicals, bacterias and other toxins (even though your government might tell you differently)"; the fluid found in fruits and vegetables was "living water" that "fuel(s) and hydrate(s) on cellular level"; and drinking too much water put undue pressure on the kidneys.
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But Auckland-based registered nutritionist Nikki Hart pronounced the practice "highly irresponsible".
"It would not be endorsed by NewZealand registered dieticians or nutritionists, full stop," she said.
She disputed all of Prana's points except the first, although Hart's reasons for reducing consumption of water from plastic bottles was more about sustainability and the environment than toxicity.
The idea that tap water was dangerous to drink was a "ridiculous concept".
"Our water in New Zealand is beautiful," said Hart. "We're really lucky that we have access to such high-graded water for drinking that comes straight from our taps."
Even people who travelled or lived in countries were where tap water was not clean needed to drink boiled or treated water.
"If you experience diarrhoea or vomiting you actually need more hydration to recover so to drink less would be absolutely detrimental to your wellbeing."
Hart scoffed at the idea of putting pressure on your kidneys, saying people were more likely to do renal damage by drinking too little than too much.
"Your kidneys need to be flushed," she explained. "Basically they are giant filters so having good access to water so they can do sois absolutely important."
And all that aside, Hart said there was no scientific merit to the idea that we could adequately hydrate ourselves through food consumption alone.
As a rule of thumb, we should drink one ml of water for every calorie we consume.
"You wouldn't get the sheer volume that you actually need for all the water that you're expending in your natural metabolic processes every day," she said.
"Basically humans are leaky bags of water on legs. We take in water and we expel water. You don't even have to exercise, you're losing water all the time so you constantly have to replace it.
"It's good for you to eat fruit and vegetables, but to think that you can access all your water through fruit and vegetables is an absolute fallacy."
It concerned Hartthat the practice may attract people who wanted to appear thinner.
"Let's be honest, if you're dehydrated it's going to look like you've lost weight on a scale," she said. "Actively looking dehydrated (is) just warped."
For non-medically trained influencers to promote such a practice was "highly irresponsible", she said. It could lead to side-effects ranging from headaches to constipation, muscle cramps, dizziness, and dangerous level of confusion.
While as a rule of thumb professionals advised we drink 1ml of water per one calorieof food consumed - so 2L of water per day for a 2000 caloriedietary intake - Hart advised monitoring urine to assess levels of hydration.
Hart was concerned some may see dropping water as a route to dropping weight.
"It should be pale and plentiful by the middle of the afternoon and if it's still really bright yellow, and you haven't taken a soluble vitamin,then it means that you're dehydrated and you need to drink more water."
She also advised not taking medical tips from influencers.
"I'm worried that people are out to make a buck or to sell a product or to sell a service and it's not actually for wellness. I think we have to be very careful where we get our information from. It's clickbait, for want of a better term."
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