If you've heard of the melon diet, or the melon cleanse as it is also known, you're probably wondering whether or not it is an effective weight loss program. Here's what you need to know about it.
What Is the Melon Diet?
The melon diet is attributed to Harbhajan Singh Khalsa, a yoga practitioner who goes by the name Yogi Bhajan. Different versions of the diet exist on the internet; however, this one, titled the "Sweet Infinity Melon Cleanse," is published by the RA MA Institute for Applied Yogic Science and Technology, which is run by one of Yogi Bhajan's associates.
The melon cleanse is a five-day fast. You're allowed to eat only papaya, watermelon and cantaloupe on the diet. The diet is designed like a palindrome and claims to detoxify and heal your organs. You are allowed to sprinkle salt and pepper on the fruit. Here's what you're supposed to eat on each day:
- Day 1: Only ripe cantaloupe.
- Day 2: Only ripe watermelon.
- Day 3: Papaya until noon, followed by water with honey until 2 p.m., then only water until 3:30 p.m., water with honey once again until 5 p.m. and then papaya until you go to bed.
- Day 4: Only ripe watermelon.
- Day 5: Only ripe cantaloupe.
The diet also has a number of other rules and dos and don'ts that practitioners need to follow. For instance, it has a pre-cleanse period of three to seven days, where you're supposed to eat light and avoid meat, dairy, fast food, caffeine and sugary food and drinks.
The diet also recommends massaging your body with almond oil during the cleanse, in addition to doing light yoga, stretches and breathing exercises.
Read more: The Lemon Juice & Cayenne Pepper Diet
Should You Do It?
All the three fruits in the diet have plenty of nutrition and offer several health benefits. For instance, cantaloupe is a good source of vitamin A, per the USDA. A small study published in the journal Nutrients in August 2016 notes that watermelon is a good source of lycopene and antioxidants; the study found that watermelon could help improve exercise performance and reduce inflammation. Papaya is a surprisingly rich source of calcium.
While all three fruits are undoubtedly healthy and make good additions to your diet, having only watermelon, papaya and cantaloupe in your diet for five days is not a good idea.
One of the key ingredients missing from the melon diet is protein; papaya, watermelon and cantaloupe, the diet's three key ingredients, are not rich sources of protein. According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, your body needs a significant amount of protein on a daily basis for a number of functions, including the growth and repair of your cells.
Penn Medicine explains that crash diets simply don't work; you're likely to regain all the weight you lost — and perhaps even more — once you finish the diet.
Crash dieting can also be harmful to your health, according to a November 2014 study published in the Indian Journal of Medical Research. The authors of the study recommend that people opt for a combination of a balanced, nutritious and healthy diet and regular physical activity instead.
- RA MA Institute for Applied Yogic Science and Technology: “Sweet Infinity Melon Cleanse”
- RA MA Institute for Applied Yogic Science and Technology: “About”
- USDA: “Cantaloupe”
- USDA: “Papaya”
- Nutrients: “Comparison of Watermelon and Carbohydrate Beverage on Exercise-Induced Alterations in Systemic Inflammation, Immune Dysfunction and Plasma Antioxidant Capacity”
- Penn Medicine: “Want to Lose Weight Quickly? Here Are Seven Reasons Why Crash Diets Probably Won’t Work”
- Indian Journal of Medical Research: “Pros and Cons of Some Popular Extreme Weight-Loss Diets”
- U.S. National Library of Medicine: “Protein in Diet”