Healthline Diet Score: 2.0 out of 5
The cucumber diet is a short-term diet that promises quick weight loss.
There are many versions of the diet, but most claim you can lose up to 15 pounds (7 kg) in 7 days.
While cucumbers are healthy, you may wonder how effective this diet really is.
This article reviews the pros and cons of the cucumber diet and whether it’s a sustainable way to lose weight.
What is the cucumber diet?
The cucumber diet is a short-term weight loss diet. Most versions of the diet claim that following it for 7–14 days can lead to a 15-pound (7-kg) weight loss.
In fact, proponents of the diet sometimes use the tagline, “7 days for 7 kilograms.”
The diet consists mainly of cucumbers, along with a few protein-rich foods, such as eggs, chicken, fish, and nuts.
It recommends replacing most foods with cucumbers, meaning even other fruits and vegetables should be kept to a minimum.
Since the diet lacks variety, following it for longer than 14 days is not recommended.
Finally, while many have touted its weight loss effects, no studies support these claims.
Cucumber for Weight Loss
When you’re trying to lose weight, including low-calorie foods like cucumbers in your diet helps you lower your calorie intake to shed pounds. Cucumbers are very low in calories — a cup of sliced cucumber has just 14 calories, which is less than 1 percent of the daily calorie “budget” on a weight loss-friendly 1,500-calorie diet.
Even eating a large portion size won’t make you pack on the pounds. A medium peeled cucumber has just 24 calories, and a large unpeeled cuke still has just 45 calories. Because cucumber is low in calories even with a large portion size, it’s a very low-energy-density food. Filling your diet with such foods is beneficial for weight loss, because they’ll fill you up when you’re following a calorie-controlled diet.
Low in fat and protein
Cucumbers can be a good source of nutrition when coupled with a balanced diet.
However, cucumbers are naturally low in calories, as well as protein and fat, which are two essential macronutrients. A single 10-ounce (300-gram) cucumber only provides 2 grams of protein and 0.3 grams of fat (7Trusted Source).
Protein is important for many functions in your body, such as the production of enzymes and hormones, maintenance of skin structure, and muscle growth (3Trusted Source, 12Trusted Source, 13Trusted Source).
Meanwhile, fat provides a concentrated source of calories, with 9 calories per gram. Furthermore, fats are important for nerve function, brain health, and the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins, such as vitamins A, D, E, and K (14, 15Trusted Source).
The diet suggests pairing cucumbers with protein-rich food sources, such as chicken or eggs, which will provide some protein and fat.
However, research shows that protein should be consumed at every meal to aid muscle maintenance and growth (12Trusted Source).
Foods to eat
This diet requires you to eat cucumbers at every meal and most snacks.
Because the diet is low in protein, it recommends adding a source of protein to each meal.
Below is a list of foods allowed on the cucumber diet:
- Vegetables: cucumbers, tomatoes, spinach, celery, and other vegetables in small amounts
- Protein: chicken, lean beef, fish, eggs, Greek yogurt, cottage cheese, cheddar cheese
- Carbs: brown rice, potatoes, whole-wheat bread
- Fats: olive oil
There are no clear guidelines on beverages, but most versions of the diet recommend a low-calorie drink, such as water or tea.
Foods to avoid
While the diet does not require you to avoid any specific foods, it encourages replacing most food with cucumbers.
Here is a list of typical restrictions of the cucumber diet:
- Fruits: These are usually limited to smoothies or parts of a small meal.
- Cooking techniques: While these aren’t discussed, roasting proteins is preferred, as it’s a lower-calorie cooking method compared with deep-frying.
- High-sugar foods: Sweets like candy, desserts, and soda should be limited.
The bottom line
Following the cucumber diet may result in weight loss if you can stick to it for at least one week.
However, once you resume your normal diet, you will likely regain all the weight you lost.
Furthermore, the diet is lacking in nutrients, extremely restrictive, and ultimately unsustainable.
If you are looking for sustainable, long-term weight loss, you are better off following a balanced, nutrient-dense diet that promotes a variety of food and avoids severe calorie restriction.
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