The Pineapple diet is a diet created in the 1970s that promised quick weight loss. Created by a Danish psychologist called Sten Hegeler, this diet was originally called the sexy Pineapple diet. The new year, weddings and special occasions usually trigger an urgency for weight loss, and we end up looking for shortcuts or crash diets to help us achieve this goal. This may explain why the diet is back in the news and gaining popularity again.
So, what exactly is the Pineapple diet?
The Pineapple diet entailed eating pineapple for 2 days and normal food for the other 5 days of the week. Over the years, various approaches have been added including having only pineapple for 3-7 days. The idea behind the consumption of only pineapple for a few days a week is to limit the calorie intake to 500 kcals on those days.
Why is it important to shed excess weight?
In addition to the obvious external manifestations of excess weight, it is also linked to several health problems. Excess weight is the leading risk factor for NCDs (non-communicable diseases) and increases the risk of infectious diseases. Maintaining a healthy BMI, Waist/Hip ratio and a good muscle mass is known to benefit overall health.
So, is the Pineapple diet a fad or does it work?
There are many kinds of diets that catch the fancy of weight watchers and their popularity fluctuates over time. I've tried to find a scientific study that can support the theory of the Pineapple diet but haven't had much success. So here is what I have to say.
Pineapple Diet: Why it may work
- Fasting for two days a week, keeping the intake to 500- 600kcal is similar to one method of intermittent fasting and may help control insulin resistance
- Limiting food intake for two days a week and drinking lots of sugar-free fluids is a good way to rest the digestive system as is evidenced by our traditional fasting methodology
- Pineapple is a rich source of Vitamin C and B6, important minerals like copper and manganese. The nutrients keep you nourished, and the fibre also helps keep you satiated. Manganese is associated with the metabolism of fats, carbs and proteins. It plays a critical role in several enzyme functions and bone health and is needed for the production of antioxidants.
- Pineapple contains an enzyme called Bromelain, which helps with protein digestion. It is suggested that this may help in weight loss.
Pineapple Diet: Why it may not work
- Fasting for weight loss some days of the week may not be the ideal path for everyone. Each person has a different metabolic response and there is enough evidence to support the fact that daily negative calorie balance works the best in the majority of the population for weight and overall health achievement.
- Weight lost with the help of crash dieting for a short period usually comes back. This weight cycling is detrimental to health over a period of time.
- The diet may not be sustainable, also it does not guide how normal eating days should be planned.
- Pineapples have a good nutrient profile but, like all other foods, it is limited. Repetition of one food item or food type often limits the intake of other nutrients. Intake of a variety of food is the only way to ensure that all micronutrients are consumed adequately.
- Manganese is an important nutrient but most of its functions need the support of proteins or carbs, without which its usefulness is limited.
- Bromelain is present in the fibrous stem, core and skin of the fruit, which is typically not eaten. So unless you blend the entire fruit, you are not really getting the enzyme. Also, there is no conclusive evidence regarding its ability to reduce fat.
About Rupali DattaRupali Datta is a Clinical Nutritionist and has worked in leading corporate hospitals. She has created and lead teams of professionals to deliver clinical solutions for patients across all medical specialties including critical care. She is a member of the Indian Dietetic Association and Indian Association of Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition.