What Is The Ice Hack Diet & Why Is It So Popular? Here's What We Know

You've probably come across the newest diet trend on TikTok. The #icehack diet has taken over the internet and currently numbers more than 122 million views. The videos begin with a close-up of a glass filled with ice cubes and the narrator arguing that this simple 7-second hack has helped people lose weight. While they claim that anything relating to this fantastic diet has been conspicuously removed from the internet, they do provide a link at the end of the video to help you harness the power of the ice hack diet. Of course, TikTok diet advice may not always be worth following. So, what exactly is this innovative diet, and is it really legit?

People who follow this diet resort to drinking cold water or eating ice before a meal, believing that while the body tries to warm up itself and restore temperature balance, it loses calories. Of course, the ice hack diet does not stop there. It requires diligent adherence to an intermittent fasting program, caloric restriction, and exercise.

For everyone who has viewed the (in)famous TikTok videos, the whole idea of the ice hack diet is an extravagant online attempt to sell the Alpilean dietary supplement — capsules that contain ingredients derived from the Himalayan Alps. Since the Alpilean supplements are key for this diet, it is also known as the Alpine Ice Hack diet. Is there any shred of scientific validation for this diet's alleged efficacy?

The Scientific Background

According to the official website of the Alpilean Supplement, "Ice Hack works by revitalizing the rate of metabolism by increasing the internal core body temperature, which helps to break down fat and other nutrients properly by the body. The temperature required by the body to break down these products is 37 degrees Celsius, and Ice Hack helps to maintain this temperature."

Alpilean's manufacturers have reached the conclusion that persistent belly fat is the result of a decrease in our body's internal temperature in recent years, according to Infomednews. Scientific evidence for this conclusion can be found in a 2019 study published in the International Journal of Obesity. After a comprehensive analysis of more than 170 years' worth of scientific data, the researchers concluded that reduced internal body temperature is a common factor among overweight individuals. When body temperature drops, metabolism decelerates, with each one-degree drop corresponding to a 13% metabolic slowdown.

The Alpilean supplement works by targeting our body's internal organs' temperature, increasing it to the optimal level of 37 degrees Celsius (or 98.6 Fahrenheit). This is thought to help our enzymes break down calories and burn persistent belly fat. According to the official Alpilean website, the supplements accelerate metabolic activity, induce the weight loss process, improve joint health, boost immunity, and support healthy blood sugar and cholesterol levels.

The Experts Weigh In

Co-author of the Stanford study, Julie Parsonnet, had some insights to share while speaking to U.S. News and World Report. While it's true that our body's internal temperature seems to have decreased, many other factors come into play as well, including unhealthier diet habits and less active lifestyles

"Our immune systems — which also consume calories and would raise temperature — were likely much more active in the past than they are today," Parsonnet told the source. "Even the bacteria that live in our bodies are different, and they also produce heat. Over time, we've gotten taller, fatter, cooler and healthier. How these all relate to one another is unclear." 

In this case, correlation simply does not mean causation, but what about the active ingredients in the Alpiline capsules? Do they help reduce weight, by targeting our temperature? To date, no evidence has been provided to back up their proprietary claims. "Individually, these supplements have minimal evidence in animal studies showing improvements in body temperature regulation but not in humans," registered dietitian Colleen Tewksbury told the publication. "Each of these supplements [is] not considered high-risk, but some can have interactions with medications. So, as with any new supplement, it is always a good idea to discuss with your doctor before starting."