The cucumber diet began as a celebrity diet that consisted of eating nothing but cucumber salads. Since cucumbers are very low in calories, following this diet will lead to rapid weight loss even with sour cream or mayonnaise dressing. But the cucumber diet was not meant to be a long-term menu plan and for good reason: It doesn’t give you enough calories to stay energized and it falls too short on nutrients to maintain your health for the long haul.
Cucumber Diet Basics
The celebrity cucumber diet calls for eating a cucumber salad three times daily for one week. The salad is made from three cucumbers and 2 tablespoons of mayonnaise or sour cream seasoned with dill, parsley or basil, according to information on TheDoctorsTV.com. You can find many variations of a so-called cucumber diet. They range from diet plans that call for eating as much cucumber as you can tolerate to low-calorie menus that incorporate a variety of foods but include cucumbers in each meal. Since the celebrity version is a specific plan, the diet’s nutritional value can be evaluated.
Low Calorie Concerns
If you eat three cucumber salads a day, you’ll get 543 calories when the dressing is sour cream, while regular mayonnaise boosts the total daily calories to 969. Eating 1,200 to 1,300 calories daily is considered low, according to Columbia Health. A very low-calorie diet, which supplies no more than 800 calories daily, requires close supervision from a health care professional, advises the Weight Control Information Network. Side effects from a very low-calorie diet include fatigue, constipation, nausea, diarrhea and possibly gallstones. Another downside is that most people consuming so few calories regain the weight once they resume normal eating.
Cucumber Salad Nutrients
When the daily value, or DV, is calculated based on a 2,000-calorie-a-day diet, one cucumber has less than 10 percent of most nutrients. Since this salad uses three cucumbers, it provides 12 percent of the DV for zinc and at least 15 percent of calcium, iron, vitamin B-6 and folate. You’ll also get about 30 percent of the DV for magnesium and potassium and well over 100 percent of your daily vitamin K. The salad supplies 12 percent of the DV for protein and 18 percent of fiber. Full-fat sour cream adds about 5 grams of fat per salad, while mayonnaise delivers 21 grams of fat. One salad is a good source of nutrients, but you may not meet your nutritional needs if you limit your daily diet to three cucumber salads.
Cucumbers Boost Weight Loss
Cucumbers support your weight-loss efforts, or help you maintain a healthy weight, because they're so low in calories, but they offer more than that. Ninety-five percent of a cucumber consists of water, which adds bulk without any calories. This means you can eat plenty, feel full and still stay within your calorie goals. This concept makes it easier to stick with the cucumber diet for a week, but it can also help you drop pounds even if you don't strictly follow the diet. The salad gives you a low-sodium side dish that works well with any entree, which makes the meal more satisfying while boosting the nutrients.