The weirdest diet since the ice cream cleanse has just arrived: A gastroenterologist has created a weight-loss plan called “The Ice Diet” that, spoiler alert, involves eating ice—a ton of it.
The diet’s founder, Brian Weiner, M.D., an assistant professor of medicine at Rutgers University, recently published a free e-book about the diet. According to the book’s premise, eating a large amount of ice forces your body to burn more calories since it’s bringing all of that frozen stuff back to body temperature. On The Ice Diet’s Web site, Weiner claims that eating one liter of ice (about four cups) will burn as many as 160 extra calories. If you do this every day, that could add up to one pound of weight loss per month—without changing any of your eating or exercise habits.
While chomping down on ice may sound like a convenient way to burn calories, it’s probably not a smart idea, says Elisa Zied, M.S., R.D., author of Younger Next Week. Though it’s possible that you could lose some weight, you’ll likely gain it back as soon as you stop your ice habit, says Zied.
There’s another reason to give the diet the cold shoulder: your teeth. Chewing on ice can wear down or crack the enamel and dentin (the stuff inside your teeth), leaving your pearly whites prone to cavities and decay, says Patricia Meredith, an associate professor at the University of Iowa College of Dentistry. Ice can also wreak havoc on fillings and crowns, and its cold temperature can cause fractures in your enamel, says Meredith.
The only upside, says Zied, is that adding a liter of ice to your diet might help you consume more water than you normally do, which may prevent overeating since many people confuse hunger for thirst. Still, you’re much better off trying to lose weight by replacing less-nutritious eats with more produce, protein, and other healthy foods, says Zied. This method won’t just help you lose weight and keep it off—it will also improve your overall health (not to mention save you a trip to the dentist).