Wellness influencers claim 'dry fasting' is key to health, professionals don't agree

Wellness 'influencers' have hopped on another potentially dangerous trend.
Wellness 'influencers' have hopped on another potentially dangerous trend. Photo credit: Sophie Prana / Instagram; Getty

Butt-sunning, porridge lattes, steamed vaginas and now, dehydration - the latest proclaimed path to wellness, according to Instagram's unqualified, hashtag-loving health "specialists".

As per the advice from some lifestyle "influencers", fasting from water is the key to a balanced body and an inner glow reminiscent of Josh Brolin's sun-kissed perineum.

Of course, medical professionals disagree.

Self-proclaimed "fruit-based colonic therapist" Sophie Prana recommends "dry-fasting" from drinking water for "at least 9-10 hours per day". Her 18,000 followers were also advised to replace tap water with "coconut water, birch water, fresh juices and high-water fruits".

"You're drinking this day in, day out, you're actually killing your body with this empty, dead water because [the] media and propaganda and doctors tell us 'drink, and drink, and drink, and drink'," Prana said in a recent YouTube video.

In an Instagram post from October Prana also declared that dry-fasting will "increase the filtration ability of your kidneys" and "break down your body fat into endogen water", suggesting that drinking water puts excessive strain on the kidneys. 

Rising "influencer" Alice Copilet also told her 7400 followers that dry-fasting and a high-fruit diet will reverse skin conditions and improve confidence.

Copilet's argument is that eczema, acne and autoimmune conditions such as certain allergies and psoriasis are caused by "weak kidneys and adrenals, a stagnant lymphatic system and thyroid weakness" stemming from "systemic acidosis". Her advice is to abstain from water to re-balance the endocrine system.

A medically-reviewed article for Healthline states the dangers of fasting from water and prolonged dehydration include urinary and kidney problems, low blood pressure, electrolyte imbalances, fainting, fatigue, memory issues and poor concentration.

In an article on website Health.com, contributing nutrition editor Cynthia Sass, RD, explained that only "20 percent of our fluids typically come from food", leaving "eight to 12 cups" based on the Institute of Medicine's guidelines - not including additional consumption due to exercise.

Cary Kreutzer, an associate professor at the University of Southern California's schools of gerontology and medicine, compared water-fasting your kidneys to letting your car's engine run out of oil. 

"You can basically burn out some parts of the car that you're going to have to get replaced," she told the LA Times. "You don’t want those replacement parts to include your vital organs."

America's National Kidney Foundation also says adequate hydration is essential for healthy kidneys - quite the opposite to Prana's suggestion to "give your kidneys a break".

Experts typically advise drinking 1ml of water per one calorie of food consumed, but as long as your urine is clear or pale yellow, you should be adequately hydrated.

In other words, foraying into the world of dry-fasting probably won't give you the results you're looking for. Let's all learn from Josh Brolin's botched butt-sunning attempt and leave the questionable wellness fads alone.