Kim Kardashian is going to be drinking a lot of smoothies over the next few days, as she gets ready for the Met Gala on May 7.
Earlier this week on her app, the reality star wrote that she's doing the Sunfare Optimal Cleanse, a 10-day detox that involves a mix of pre-planned meals and shakes. "I have the Met Gala coming up and I've worked so hard working out, but I started eating a lot of sweets and I wanted to just change my food patterns to eat healthier and cut sugar out of my life as much as I can," she explained. "We always have sweets around and it's really hard when there are temptations everywhere."
Sunfare doesn't provide nutritional information about its cleanse on its website. But at first glance, the plan looks ... kind of doable? Dishes like chicken primavera, Italian bean & salmon bowl, and spicy mustard salmon salad appear to include a balanced mix of lean proteins, fiber-rich veggies, and healthy fats.
Once we looked at the full 10-day menu though, we realized: the program includes a lot of liquid-only days. For 3 of the 10 days, dieters consume only herbal tea and Sunfare shakes. Not exactly satisfying.
"Eating solid food that requires chewing, takes longer to eat, and adds more volume to your stomach will likely leave you feeling more full than a shake with the same calories and even the same macros," says Health contributing nutrition editor Cynthia Sass, MPH, RD. "I have seen a lack of fullness from shakes that leads to nibbling on extras, which can result in eating more calories and not seeing results."
Vandana Sheth, RD, spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, tells us that while this cleanse could give you a jumpstart on your weight-loss goals, it is not a balanced way of eating: "You are most likely missing key nutrients, especially fiber," she says.
Consuming only liquids for a few days might make you feel lighter and slimmer, Sass says, but that could be simply because you have less volume in your digestive system. "Think of a balloon that's mostly deflated. Once you start eating solid food again, you'll notice that your stomach won't be as flat," she says. "But that's OK, and normal."
Today Kardashian tweeted that on Day 4, she's already lost five pounds. She is now in the liquid-only phase of the cleanse ("Pray for me please" she wrote) until Day 7, when she'll gradually incorporate more solid foods.
Today is day 4 of the cleanse and I am 5 lbs down. I didn’t see any weight difference until today so that’s motivation I needed today. I am only 5’3 so this makes a big difference and for the next 3 days it’s all liquids. Pray for me please ????
— Kim Kardashian West (@KimKardashian) April 20, 2018
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We're glad to hear Kardashian is feeling good about her progress. But if you're considering a similarly restrictive cleanse, remember that they're not for everyone. Sass points out that while some people are motivated by a simple, repetitive diet that's easy to follow, others end up completely miserable. "If in the past trying a strict or limited-eating plan led to giving up and binge eating, don't go down that road again," she says.
On the other hand, if you're someone who struggles to stick to a planned eating schedule, "a cleanse that requires you to drink shakes at regular times may help you get back in touch with normal hunger and fullness, so you can transition to eating healthy, balanced, well-timed meals," Sass says.
It's also important to note that losing a lot of weight very quickly isn't necessarily a good thing. The CDC recommends aiming to shed about 1 to 2 pounds a week. At that pace, you're more likely to actually keep the pounds off, and not gain them right back once you stop being so restrictive with your calories. That's key because yo-yo dieting can take a real toll on your heart. "I would recommend a more balanced approach to healthy eating and achieving your wellness goals," says Sheth.
And someone with a chronic health condition such as diabetes should avoid a cleanse such as this one, adds Sheth. "This type of diet can seriously affect anyone with blood sugar issues."
Bottom line? "Listen to your body," says Sass. "A cleanse should make you feel lighter, but also energized and nourished." In other words, if any diet is making you weak and irritable, you're probably depriving your body of essential nutrients it needs to function.