Does the cucumber diet work for weight loss?
There are a lot of popular diets that have been used to achieve fast weight loss. Unfortunately, most of them do not have scientific validity and are not safe (1).
The cucumber diet is a diet based food restriction, because you are only allowed to eat cucumber.
If you have heard of this diet, or you are considering doing it, keep reading, because in this brief article we will address the query “Does the cucumber diet work for weight loss?” We will present relevant information about the health concerns about this diet, and how to incorporate cucumber in a healthy diet.
Does the cucumber diet work for weight loss?
In a strict sense, a cucumber diet will work for weight loss. However, a cucumber only diet is not a healthy way for weight loss, in fact, there is no scientific approval for a cucumber only diet.
A cucumber only diet is very restrictive in energy and nutrients. Remember that a healthy way for weight loss will always include all food groups: fruits, vegetables, meats, dairy products, eggs, and legumes; with exception in those people who cannot consume some of them due to health conditions (1,2).
What is the concept behind the cucumber diet for weight management?
The concept behind a very restrictive diet, like the cucumber diet, is to quickly reach a calorie deficit. Calorie deficit means that you are consuming fewer energy than the one you spend in your daily activities (1).
When you reach a calorie deficit, your body will take energy from your storage like glycogen and fat (1).
What is the nutritional value of cucumbers?
Cucumber has water as its major component, approximately 96 % of all cucumber weight is water. It contains a small amount of carbohydrates (2.8 %) and even lower content of proteins (0.4 %), and fat (0.1 %) (3).
How does the nutritional value of cucumbers help to reach a calorie deficit?
Due to the high concentration of water in cucumber, when you consume this vegetable you are eating mostly water. Thus, you will be eating very low energy and nutrients, but the water could produce some satiety sensation (1,3).
Therefore, if you do all your normal activities, you will be spending energy, and because you are not consuming too much energy with only cucumbers, you will reach a calorie deficit very fast (1).
Are there any potential drawbacks or limitations to the cucumber diet for weight loss?
Eating only cucumbers will have several drawbacks on your health, for example (4,5,6):
- You will not consume protein, a nutrient essential for your immune system and creating muscles, tissues, and organs. Therefore, you will be susceptible to illness, you will lose muscle mass, and your organs could be damaged.
- Cucumbers are not a good source of minerals like iron and calcium; iron is crucial for preventing anemia, and calcium is needed for good bone health.
- Your body will be deprived of vitamins like B group vitamin, vitamin C, and vitamin D; B vitamins are important for a good cognitive development and the correct metabolism of nutrients, and vitamin C and D deficiency could weaken your immune system.
Can the cucumber be combined with other foods or meal plans for better results?
Yes, cucumber is a healthy vegetable with antioxidant molecules such as polyphenols that can prevent cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, and neurological affections (3); but it has to be combined with other foods like lean meats, fruits, legumes, and cereals (2).
Here are some ideas for cucumber recipes! You can try some of them to include cucumber in your diet.
In this brief article we addressed the query “Does the cucumber diet work for weight loss?” We presented relevant information about the health concerns about this diet, and how to incorporate cucumber in a healthy diet.
- Freire R. Scientific evidence of diets for weight loss: Different macronutrient composition, intermittent fasting, and popular diets. Nutrition, 2020;69(110549):110549.
- Cena H, Calder PC. Defining a healthy diet: Evidence for the role of contemporary dietary patterns in health and disease. Nutrients, 2020;12(2):334.
- Sharma V, Sharma L, Sandhu KS. Cucumber (Cucumis sativus L.). In: Antioxidants in Vegetables and Nuts – Properties and Health Benefits. Singapore: Springer Singapore; 2020. p. 333–40
- Olson B, Marks DL, Grossberg AJ. Diverging metabolic programmes and behaviours during states of starvation, protein malnutrition, and cachexia. J Cachexia Sarcopenia Muscle, 2020;11(6):1429–46.
- Godswill AG, Somtochukwu IV, Ikechukwu AO, Kate EC. Health benefits of micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) and their associated deficiency diseases: A systematic review. International Journal of Food Sciences, 2020;3(1):1–32.
- Titcomb TJ, Tanumihardjo SA. Global concerns with B vitamin statuses: Biofortification, fortification, hidden hunger, interactions, and toxicity. Compr Rev Food Sci Food Saf, 2019;18(6):1968–84.