Can the 'Ice Diet' really help lose weight?

Dieting giving you the cold shoulder? Well, Dr. Brian Weiner would like you to warm up to The Ice...

Dieting giving you the cold shoulder? Well, Dr. Brian Weiner would like you to warm up to The Ice Diet. It takes energy to melt ice when ingested and this actually burns calories, so he proposes using this as a genuine weight loss tool.(Fotolia)

Joanne Richard, Special to QMI Agency
 

, Last Updated: 3:37 PM ET

 

Dieting giving you the cold shoulder? Well, Dr. Brian Weiner would like you to warm up to The Ice Diet. It takes energy to melt ice when ingested and this actually burns calories, so he proposes using this as a genuine weight loss tool.

Weiner is not suggesting an all ice cube diet, but rather slurping up a litre of shaved or crushed ice, flavoured with artificial sweetener, daily. Think homemade slushees. Combined with exercise and healthy food choices, ice actually put the freeze on Weiner’s weight gain and helped him drop 50 lbs.

It’s a negative calorie food, the only one out there – “basically, the more you eat, the more you lose,” says Weiner, founder of The Ice Diet (theicediet.com). Eating ice increases the basal metabolic rate: “When ingesting clinically significant amounts of ice, the body must burn energy to warm the ice to body temperature. The ingestion of ice would also provide some level of satiety.”

Ingesting one litre of ice would burn about 160 calories, equivalent to the amount of energy burned in running one mile, says Weiner, a practicing gastroenterologist in New Jersey. “You lose weight while actually consuming food,” says Weiner, who advocates this method as an adjunct to a healthy diet. For example, at dinner replace that positive-calorie dessert with a negative-calorie ice treat.

Weiner adds that if you burn an extra 160 calories a day, “it takes about 3,500 calories to lose one pound of fat, so if you were to eat a litre of ice per day for a month, that would be a pound a month. Add that to your healthy diet and exercise, and you’d be 10-12 pounds lighter by the end of the year – that’s really something!”

His theory gets an icy reception from Rehan Jalali, L.A.-based celebrity nutritionist. “Unless your name is Mr. Freeze, I don’t think the Ice Diet is a viable weight loss solution for any sensible person. It’s very premise is flawed; for example, the process of energy expenditure and calorie burning is very complex.”

According to Jalali, whose clients include Ben Affleck, Sly Stallone, Forest Whitaker, Debra Messing and Halle Berry, simply eating more ice will not result in significant fat loss. “I have not seen any published studies to remotely even suggest that ice consumption can help with weight loss.”

 

Jalali, of thesixpackdietplan.com, says to lose just one pound of body fat, “you would need to eat over 30 kilograms of ice – which is obviously ludicrous for the average person. So as you can see, it sounds appealing from a marketing point of view but the science certainly doesn’t back it up at all.”

He believes the opposite might actually work, “that eating ‘hot’ foods can enhance thermogenesis and calorie burning. For example, cayenne pepper has been shown in research to stimulate metabolism, support fat loss, and increase calorie expenditure. The same can be said about green tea extract, caffeine, and oolong tea.

“Consuming any of these can help with fat loss as shown in real research, not stone cold hype! You can’t look myopically at calorie burning. You need to take a comprehensive daily/weekly view of energy expenditure.”

Jalali adds that that training in the cold and inducing shivering thermogenesis can be beneficial to stimulating Brown adipose tissue, the friendly fat that helps you get leaner. “There is some chatter out there on using very cold showers to induce this same response but more research certainly needs to be done on that.”

Dana McCauley, a food trends expert at platsduchef.com, adds that “the Ice Diet isn’t really a ‘diet’ but a tip to burn just a few more calories... It doesn’t sound like there is any harm in this idea but it is not going to help an obese person to become a healthy weight if s/he doesn’t also modify their diet and exercise behaviour.”

 

 


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