Blog Diets Snake Diet: Definition, Pros, Cons, and How to Do It

Snake Diet: Definition, Pros, Cons, and How to Do It

Snakes are known for their unique eating habits. They eat large meals less frequently, which allows them to survive on minimal sustenance for extended periods. This process, which is fascinating from a biological standpoint, has inspired the controversial Snake Diet.

Scientifically, the concept seems intriguing—you may imagine that by mimicking these reptilian habits, you’ll unlock the secret to rapid weight loss and enhanced health.

However, the truth is, the human body isn’t designed for extreme fasting or feasting as snakes are.

So, before you hop on to this diet bandwagon, it’s best to assess the potential health implications and recognize why it’s considered to be a risky and unsustainable approach.

Here’s what you need to know about the Snake Diet, including its definition, pros, cons, and how it’s practiced, and why it might not be the safest path to your health and fitness goals.

What Is the Snake Diet?

The Snake Diet is an extreme form of diet that combines principles of intermittent fasting and ketogenic eating. It encourages prolonged fasting periods with incredibly minimal eating in between. The diet is designed to imitate the eating patterns of wild animals, specifically snakes, which consume a large meal and then fast for an extended period.

The Snake Diet was popularized by Cole Robinson, a self-proclaimed “Fasting Coach”  who claims to have lost 100 pounds in five months following this diet. He also asserts that the Snake Diet can help people lose weight, detoxify their bodies, and improve their overall health.

Check out our Mediterranean Diet and Intermittent Fasting Guide where we provide a more sustainable approach to dieting and weight loss.

How Many Days Is the Snake Diet?

The Snake Diet doesn’t follow a specific timeframe as it is based on the body’s natural hunger signals. In practice, followers of this diet can extend their fasting periods for several days.

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For example, one variation of the Snake Diet called the “Snake Juice Fast” involves consuming only water and a mixture of electrolytes (referred to as “Snake Juice”) for several days straight. During this time, followers may also choose to eat a small meal or snack once every few days.

In a previous blog on the Carnivore Diet, we discussed how extreme diets such as these can have detrimental effects on our overall health.

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How Does the Snake Diet Work?

The theory behind the Snake Diet is that humans can achieve rapid weight loss and improved health by mimicking the metabolic patterns of snakes. Snakes eat a large meal and then enter a state of prolonged fasting until they’ve digested their food.

Similarly, followers of the Snake Diet are encouraged to fast for extended periods, which allows their bodies to enter a state of ketosis, where the body burns fat for energy instead of carbohydrates. This process is believed to lead to rapid weight loss (4).

Unfortunately, the guidelines for this diet aren’t as clear-cut as they may seem. Cole Robinson, the creator of the Snake Diet, has a history of periodically revising and updating the diet plan, which makes it challenging to follow long-term. It’s also important to note that humans are physiologically quite different from snakes, and what is appropriate or healthy for a snake is not necessarily appropriate or healthy for a human. 

Snake Diet  

That being said, here are some of the guidelines that followers typically adhere to:

Rule #1: Begin with a 48-hour fasting period

The Snake Diet starts with an initial 48-hour fasting period, during which followers consume only “Snake Juice”, a concoction that is designed to keep the body hydrated and replenished with electrolytes without breaking the fast. This initial fasting phase is meant to induce ketosis, which flips the body’s metabolic switch to start burning stored fat for energy.

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Rule #2: Break the fast with a low-carb, high-fat meal

After completing the initial 48-hour fast, dieters break their fast with a meal that aligns with ketogenic principles—low in carbohydrates and high in fats. This meal is intended to be moderate in size, sufficient to satisfy hunger without causing discomfort. Eating in this manner is intended to maintain the state of ketosis initiated during the fasting period.

Rule #3: Enter into flexible fasting cycles

Post the initial fast-breaking meal, the diet adopts a more flexible approach to fasting. Dieters are instructed to listen to their bodies and only eat when genuinely hungry, which could mean extending the fasting period to anything from 24 hours to several days. During these cycles, the focus remains on consuming low-carb, high-fat meals to maintain ketosis.

Rule #4: Utilize “Snake Juice” to support fasting periods

Throughout the fasting periods, followers are encouraged to consume “Snake Juice” regularly. This mixture is composed of water, potassium chloride, sodium chloride (Himalayan pink salt), and magnesium sulfate, and is designed to replenish electrolytes lost during fasting and to prevent dehydration.

Rule #5: Adjust and repeat cycles based on goals and progress

The Snake Diet encourages personalization and adjustment of the fasting cycles based on individual progress and health goals. If a dieter feels that their weight loss is plateauing, they may extend the fasting period. Conversely, if they experience too much stress or other issues, the fasting period can be shortened.

Rule #6: Measure ketone levels

To ensure the body is in a state of ketosis, followers are advised to regularly measure their ketone levels. This can be done through urine, blood, or breath tests, and is used as an indicator of whether or not the body is burning fat for energy.

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Rule #7: Eat no more than one meal per day

The ultimate goal of the Snake Diet is to reach a state where the body only requires one meal per day. According to Cole Robinson, once this point is reached, followers can maintain their weight and health goals with just one large, satisfying meal every day.

Read more: 7-Day Weight Loss Low-Carb Diet: Choose High-Protein, High-Fiber, or Ultra-Low-Carb

What Are the Side Effects of the Snake Diet?

The most dangerous aspect of the Snake Diet is the potential it has to cause nutrient deficiencies and electrolyte imbalances. By restricting food intake for extended periods, essential nutrients may not be consumed in sufficient quantities, which can lead to health problems.

Let’s look at some of the other potential side effects of this diet:

Risk of Nutrient Deficiencies

The primary concern with such an extreme dietary plan is the very high risk of nutrient deficiencies. As the diet involves consuming very minimal food, it is incredibly challenging to ensure that you get all the necessary vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients needed for healthy body functioning. This deficiency can lead to weakened immunity, bone density loss, and impaired wound healing among other health issues (7).

Electrolyte Imbalances

Electrolyte imbalance is another side effect due to the consumption of “Snake Juice” as the primary source of hydration during extended fasts. Despite the drink being designed to replenish electrolytes, the lack of food intake could still result in an imbalance, potentially leading to conditions such as hyponatremia (low sodium levels) or hypokalemia (low potassium levels), both of which can have severe or even life-threatening consequences (3).

Slower Metabolism

The drastic reduction in calorie intake that is associated with the Snake Diet may also cause metabolic slowdowns. While short-term fasting may increase metabolic rates, long-term fasting can have the opposite effect, which can lead to decreased basal metabolic rates (5). This slowdown can make it harder to maintain weight loss and can lead to fatigue, cold sensitivity, and hair loss.

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Risk of Developing Disordered Eating Patterns

Furthermore, the psychological implications of following such a restrictive diet should not be underestimated. Prolonged fasting and severe dietary restrictions can lead to an unhealthy relationship with food, including the development or triggering of eating disorders. The social isolation that is often necessary to maintain the diet’s strict regimen can also impact mental health and well-being.

Health Risks for Those with Existing Health Conditions

For individuals with existing health conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, or metabolic disorders, the Snake Diet could pose serious health risks, including the risk of hypoglycemia (for those dependent on insulin or other types of diabetes medication), cardiac arrhythmias, and other complications that could arise from nutrient deficiencies or electrolyte imbalances (3).


Due to the aggressive nature of the fasting cycles and the diet’s encouragement to reach ketosis, individuals may experience side effects commonly associated with ketosis, such as the “keto flu,” which can include fatigue, headaches, nausea, and irritability. These symptoms, while they may be only temporary for some, can be a deterrent to maintaining the diet long-term and can significantly affect one’s quality of life.

Snake Diet  

Can the Snake Diet Help You Lose Weight?

While on the Snake Diet, you may experience initial weight loss due to caloric restriction and water weight loss. However, there is currently no scientific evidence to support the diet’s effectiveness for long-term weight loss.

What happens when you eat way below your metabolic needs for an extended period?

When you significantly restrict your food intake, your body is forced to use stored fat as energy. In the initial stages of fasting, this can lead to rapid weight loss. However, over time, the body may adapt and decrease metabolism in order to conserve energy (5).

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In addition, with prolonged calorie restriction, you run the risk of losing muscle mass, which can impact your overall health and weight loss efforts in the long term (5). It’s important to consult a healthcare professional before you start any extreme dietary plan as weight loss should not come at the expense of one’s overall health.

Some better-known and evidence-based methods for weight loss include (8):

  • Creating a sustainable calorie deficit – consuming fewer calories than you burn
  • Incorporating regular exercise and physical activity in your routine
  • Eating a well-balanced, nutrient-dense diet that includes all food groups in appropriate portions
  • Making long-term lifestyle changes rather than relying on quick-fix diets or fads, e.g. increasing vegetable intake or reducing the consumption of added sugar 

In a previous blog, we shared a 7-Day Diet Plan that may be helpful for those who are looking to lose weight in a healthy and sustainable way.

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Snake Diet  


  • Are dry fasts healthy?

Dry fasts, where no food or water is consumed, are not recommended by medical professionals. The human body cannot function without proper hydration and nutrient intake, which means that dry fasting is extremely dangerous. A better approach to fasting is to follow a structured plan where hydration and essential nutrients are still consumed.

  • What is considered extreme fasting?

Extreme fasting is any type of fast that restricts food intake for an extended period and significantly reduces calorie intake below what is needed for basic bodily functions. For context, a typical daily recommended calorie intake for adults is approximately 2,000-2,500 calories, according to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans (2). In comparison, extreme fasts, such as the Snake Diet, may limit calorie intake to a few hundred calories or less per day.

Extreme fasting may also involve the restriction of entire food groups or specific nutrients, which can lead to potential health complications. For example, the Snake Diet promotes the consumption of only “Snake Juice” and minimal food for extended periods, which significantly limits nutritional intake and potentially leads to nutrient deficiencies.

  • How many hours is it OK to fast?

Fasting for short periods, such as 16-20 hours, may have potential health benefits and may be suitable for some individuals. During this time, the body can still obtain energy from stored fat without risking significant nutrient deficiencies or metabolic slowdowns. Some long fasts such as the popular OMAD (one meal a day) approach, which involves fasting for 23-24 hours with one large meal consumed each day, may also be sustainable for certain individuals, but it is important to consult a healthcare professional before you start any fasting regimen.

Generally, extended fasting periods of more than 24-48 hours are not recommended unless under close medical supervision and they may have adverse health effects (6).

The Bottom Line

The Snake Diet is an extreme fasting-based diet that encourages long periods of restricted food intake followed by short eating windows. While some people may experience initial weight loss on the diet, there are potential side effects and risks that are associated with prolonged fasting and severe caloric restriction. It’s important to consult a healthcare professional before you start any extreme diet and that you consider more balanced, sustainable approaches to weight loss and overall health.


This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!


  1. Biochemistry, Ketogenesis (2023,
  3. Electrolyte Imbalance (2022,
  4. Effect of time restricted eating on body weight and fasting glucose in participants with obesity: results of a randomized, controlled, virtual clinical trial (2021,
  5. Impact of calorie restriction on energy metabolism in humans (2022,
  6. Physiological and Sensory Responses to Prolonged Fasting in Humans (PRO-FAST) (2023,
  7. Pros & cons of some popular extreme weight-loss diets (2018,
  8. Weight-Loss and Maintenance Strategies (2003,