What is the Snake Diet and How Does it Work? 

October 1, 2021

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The Snake Diet is a dieting method based on periods of prolonged fasting and was developed for sustained weight loss.

There is much debate surrounding the efficacy and safety of this diet, and whether it can actually benefit health.

In this article, we’re going to be taking a look at the Snake Diet in more depth and exploring topics including:

  • What is the Snake Diet?
  • How to start the Snake Diet in 4 steps
  • Foods to eat and avoid on the Snake Diet
  • Does the Snake Diet work for weight loss?
  • Does the Snake Diet offer any health benefits?
  • 5 health risks of the Snake Diet

What Is The Snake Diet?

The Snake Diet is based on the idea that the human body can sustain long periods without food having survived famines over the centuries. It involves fasting for as long as you can stand and sustaining yourself on one meal a few times a week.

It is promoted as a lifestyle and promises rapid weight loss, but is more closely associated with fad diets.

The initial fast that begins the Snake Diet should be 48 hours, or as long as you can stand, and from there you have a feeding window of around 1 - 2 hours. 

You are supposed to continue fasting until you reach your goal weight and then cycle in and out of prolonged 24 - 48 hour fasts.

You may supplement your fast with an electrolyte beverage called Snake Juice as well as an unspecified amount of apple cider vinegar. It is recommended that you consume just 3500 calories weekly.

Snake Juice Recipe

The Snake Juice diet drink is the recommended beverage to consume during long periods of fasting. It can be purchased on Cole Robinson, the founder of the Snake Diet’s website, or it can be made at home.

The recipe is as follows:

  • 8 cups (2 liters) of water
  • ½ teaspoon (2 g) of Himalayan pink salt
  • 1 teaspoon (5 g) of salt-free potassium chloride
  • ½ teaspoon (2 g) of food-grade Epsom salts

Dosage is not stated for the homemade version but only three packets of the commercial version are recommended each day.

How To Start the Snake Diet In 4 Steps

This diet is an extreme form of fasting which means there will be a transition period where the body gets used to the changes.

Below, we have summarized the steps that should be taken to begin.

1. Get Into Ketosis

Ketosis is a metabolic state in which the liver begins breaking down stored body fat and producing fatty acids called ketones which are used for energy instead of blood sugar.

This metabolic state is used to lose weight as the body burns fat and is one of the ways intermittent fasting can promote weight loss.

Ketosis can be achieved by fasting for between 10 - 12 hours or more, or by eating a low-carb high-fat diet, like the keto diet.

The lack of carbohydrates in your body in both of these cases is what shifts the body into this fat-burning state.

Step one of the Snake Diet is to get the body into this state by fasting for 48 hours, or until you cannot stand it any longer.

During this fast, you may supplement with the Snake Juice diet drink or with apple cider vinegar. If you don’t like the taste of ACV, you could try out apple cider vinegar supplements, like our very own DoFasting Apple Cider Vinegar Gummies.

After this initial fast, you have 1 - 2 hours of eating where you should eat high-fat, low-carb foods to maintain this same fat-burning state. For this eating window, you could take inspiration from keto-friendly recipes.

This eating window is then followed by a 72-hour fast intended to detoxify the liver.

2. Fast Until You Reach Your Desired Weight

It is suggested that you continue to cycle in and out of long fasts until you reach your desired weight. The fasts are not time-restricted, the idea is instead that you fast until you can no longer stand it, though fasts should be between 48 - 96 hours.

You should break these fasts up with single meals and consume only apple cider vinegar and drink Snake Juice during the fasts.

As before, you should continue to eat high-fat and low-carb meals to maintain your weight loss through the state of ketosis.

3. Maintain Your Diet

This phase of the diet is considered maintenance. You are encouraged to fast for between 24 - 48 hours and break these fasts up with one meal at a time.

Contrary to the other elements of this diet, at this point, you should begin responding to your body’s natural hunger cues.

This change may be found difficult by those following these extreme eating patterns as the previous stages of the diet involved ignoring hunger cues. 

There is also some evidence to suggest that extreme fasting can have an impact on the hunger hormones; ghrelin and leptin, making this part of the diet even more difficult.

4. Make It Easier With Appetite Suppressants

To make restrictive diets easier, some people turn to appetite suppressants. These supplements usually contain glucomannan and cellulose which both contribute to a feeling of satiety.

Appetite suppressants can help to curb hunger pangs and make fasting easier. The DoFasting Essential Fiber Complex is a great choice for appetite suppressants and contains both glucomannan and cellulose.

You can consume appetite suppressants alongside the Snake Juice diet drink during fasts.

Foods To Eat And Avoid On The Snake Diet

With such small eating windows on this extreme diet, it is absolutely essential that you consume as much nutrient-dense food as possible.

During the fasts, you may only consume the Snake Juice diet drink, which means you need to nourish your body thoroughly when you break to eat.

Eating a diet that is rich in healthy fats and nutrient-dense foods, but low in carbs is the only way you can maintain ketosis, and lose weight, on this diet.

Good foods to consume include avocados, grass-fed beef, land, wild-caught fatty fish, eggs, nuts, and non-starchy vegetables.

You should also avoid foods that are nutrient-poor and calorie-dense, like:

  • Fast food
  • Fried food
  • Sweets
  • Processed meats
  • Sugary drinks
  • Refined carbohydrates
  • Chips
  • Artificial sweeteners

These refined and processed foods cannot offer you any nutrition and amount to empty calories that will not help you sustain such an extreme approach to fasting.

Does The Snake Diet Work For Weight Loss?

The Snake Diet is designed to help you lose weight, however, the kind of weight loss you experience on such a drastic diet is considered rapid weight loss, which can be detrimental to your health.

While fasting you could lose up to 2 lbs per day during the first week, dropping to 0.7 lbs by the third week. This rapid weight loss is not considered healthy, indeed, a healthy amount of weight to lose per week is actually around 1 pound.

The Snake Diet promotes severe calorie restriction and extreme fasting which results in shedding far more pounds than is recommended in a safe weight loss range.

Does The Snake Diet Offer Any Health Benefits?

Losing weight is considered the biggest benefit of this diet, however, the amount of weight you lose could actually negatively affect your health.

Other benefits cited by the proponents of this diet relate solely to the reduction of body weight and body fat, including a reduction in inflammation and a positive effect on type 2 diabetes.

It is also purported that this diet can have an effect on disease control and may be able to cure herpes. 

Unfortunately, none of these supposed benefits are backed by science as this kind of fasting is significantly understudied.

While it relates to intermittent fasting, the Snake Diet itself has not been thoroughly researched and so any benefits that are associated with intermittent fasting, like reduced inflammation and blood sugar regulation, cannot be attributed to this diet yet.

5 Health Risks Of The Snake Diet

The extreme eating habits promoted in this diet can have significant effects on your health. Below we have summarized a few of these.

1. Creates Unhealthy Eating Habits

To begin with, the ideology of ‘fasting until you feel like death’ that is encouraged on this diet and completely ignoring hunger cues can cause you to develop an unhealthy relationship with food.

Because you are challenging yourself to go for long periods of time without food, you may begin to see eating as a reward for starving yourself and begin to develop anxiety around mealtimes.

2. Can Lead To Eating Disorders

As your relationship with food changes, you may begin to develop patterns of disordered eating while following this kind of diet. This can lead to the development of eating disorders.

In addition to this, the founder of the diet has been known to make derogatory comments about people who are overweight and obese, referring to potential followers of the diet as ‘fat pigs.’

This kind of language can have a significant impact on a person’s body image and self-perception, which can further exacerbate eating disorders and disordered eating patterns.

3. May Cause Nutritional Deficiencies

When engaging in healthy eating habits, you are nourishing your body with all of the macros, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that it needs to keep it healthy, but on low-calorie, restrictive diets like this you are unlikely to meet your nutritional needs.

This makes the chances of developing nutritional deficiencies much more likely which can be incredibly bad for your health.

Diets that devalue nutritional variety and do not come with clear nutritional guidelines, like this diet, can lead to serious health complications.

4. Can Cause A Yo-Yo Dieting Effect

The weight loss achieved on this diet is not sustainable. Rapidly losing weight makes you much more likely to put it all back on when you begin eating properly again, leading to weight fluctuation.

Like all fad diets, the Snake Diet can lead to the yo-yo dieting effect where you are constantly losing weight and then regaining it over and over.

5. Requires Prolonged Fasting, Which May Be Dangerous

As discussed, nutritional deficiencies and electrolyte imbalances are very likely in this diet, and the Snake Juice just isn’t enough to replace what is lost during long fasts.

Electrolytes are responsible for proper nerve and muscle function as well as keeping you hydrated, meaning imbalances can be potentially life-threatening, leading to comas, seizures, and even cardiac arrest.

Conclusion

The Snake Diet is an extreme diet that encourages very long fasting periods with very little eating in between. During fasts, you may consume Snake Juice and during eating periods you are required to eat high-fat, low-carb foods, akin to those eaten on the keto diet.

This diet encourages dangerous weight loss and can lead to nutritional deficiencies and electrolyte imbalances and the potential weight loss benefits do not outweigh these risks.

If you want to lose weight, it is best to follow safer methods of dieting and aim to lose a healthy amount of weight each week, which is around 1 -2 pounds.

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