Former bodybuilder gave up food for urine — here's why that's not healthy

Kerry Justich

John DePass has been a bodybuilder for the majority of his life — competing at the international level and even taking part in the Mr. Universe competition — and he has practiced and preached the value of a high-fat, low-carb diet in order to lose weight and gain muscle. But now, nearly 30 years into his career as a weight-loss expert and professional coach, the Jamaica-born Canadian is taking a different approach, which he calls the “unfooding process,” and it involves drinking his own urine.

It was just two years ago when DePass, 46, of Burlington, Ontario, started studying the benefits of unfooding. He says he was motivated by conversations that he saw his friends taking part in on social media.

John DePass has been practicing “urine therapy” for two years. (Photo: Courtesy of John DePass)
John DePass has been practicing “urine therapy” for two years. (Photo: Courtesy of John DePass)

“I was inspired by the ideas and myths and interaction that I’ve seen on the internet,” DePass tells Yahoo Lifestyle. “I’ve developed friendships with people who are breatharians — these are people who live on very little food or no food at all. And that has been a motivation, an inspiration for me going forward.”

Further study led him to books dating back to the 1800s about “life extension” and research about experiments on rats going through starvation, resulting in increased energy and cognitive ability. These readings only seemed to verify claims that humans would experience increased longevity as well, he says. And while DePass explains that he was already moving in the direction of eating solely raw foods, and less food all around, the fasting method felt like the natural next step.

John DePass as a bodybuilder in 1996, compared with him in 2018. (Photo: Courtesy of John DePass)
John DePass as a bodybuilder in 1996, compared with him in 2018. (Photo: Courtesy of John DePass)

“Unfooding happens as we return to the natural raw food diet that the human is supposed to eat. Then unfooding kind of happens naturally,” DePass says. “You make that active choice that it’s something you’d like to pursue further, that I’m actually going be pushing myself to try and unfood. And that’s where I am now, where I try to unfood specifically during the week.”

But while he stays away from food during the majority of the week, drinking only raw fruit juices, the 46-year-old has turned to another natural source of nourishment — his own urine.

DePass has been reading about “urine therapy” for about two decades, since he first turned away from his Catholic faith to get in touch with his spirituality. Through the writings of Buddha, he would hear a lot about aged urine in particular, although he didn’t understand its benefits. When people started talking about drinking their own urine or applying it onto themselves topically on social media, however, DePass’s interest was once again piqued.

“That inspired me to try it first, to put it on my skin topically, and then to put it in the fridge, cool it down, hide it from my family — my wife and my children — and then try mixing it with distilled water and drinking it, kind of like a little bit,” DePass says. “And then getting more and more brave as I started to notice right away that it was starting to improve my skin, it was improving my energy, it was giving me clarity.”

Now going on year two of this practice, he says that drinking urine has allowed him to connect to his source energy while also adding vitamins, minerals, amino acids and antibiotics into his diet. DePass is also open with his wife and three children about his dietary choice.

New York City-based dietitian Natalie Rizzo, author of The No-Brainer Nutrition Guide for Every Runner, tells Yahoo Lifestyle that DePass’s diet may not, in truth, be beneficial to his health.

As a matter of fact, a diet that contains just urine and fruit juice is completely devoid of protein and healthy fats, both of which contribute to muscle growth. Not to mention that it’s extremely low in calories — if it even contains any at all — which would drain energy levels,” Rizzo says. “The body would be in a constant state of catabolic breakdown, and I would assume you would continue to keep losing weight until you increased your calorie intake.”

Rizzo says she is an advocate of eating plenty of fruits and vegetables. But without the addition of other nutrients from whole grains, lean proteins, nuts, seeds or legumes, DePass’s diet might not maintain his daily bodily functions.

“With the very low level of protein, it’s likely that the muscles are breaking down, rather than functioning properly,” she says. “To be honest, I would classify fasting for six days each week as dangerous.”

Still, DePass revels in the fact that eating one fruit meal a day, fasting for 23 hours and drinking his urine has made him align with what he feels is his healthiest self.

“Health is something that comes from within, and we are given everything that we need,” he says. “Urine is just one of the medicines that is provided to us. It is the fluid, the water of our body, and that has great value for healing and creating change in anybody’s life.”

Going even further, he explains that both aged and fresh urine don’t taste so bad when you’re not introducing toxicity into your body with other foods.

“Urine preparation is as simple as just catching it in a container, and you could just drink it right away,” he says of fresh urine use, as compared with the aging process, in which he allows it to sit for up to two weeks. “If you’re eating fruits, as the human body is supposed to be eating, if you’re fruiting and fasting like we should be, then the urine is like fresh water.”

Read more from Yahoo Lifestyle:

Chris Pratt is on a Bible-inspired fasting diet
Influencer says she was on a ‘tapas and cocaine’ diet to stay thin — here’s why that’s not healthy
Fans criticize Kim Kardashian for posting ad for weight-loss shakes: ‘What a shame you are promoting this to young girls’

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