Fat Flush Water: What Is It and Does It Work?

A bottle of water, an appla,e and measuring tape with the title "what is Fat Flush Water: and Does It Work?"

Drink Water, Lose Weight

The Fat Flush Water Plan (or diet) is the brainchild of Anne Louise Gittleman Ph.D. The author of a number of diet books, holistic nutritionist Gittleman, is the self-proclaimed “first lady of nutrition”. Back in 2002, the ‘Fat Flush Plan’ book became a best-selling hit.

In the book, Gittleman claims that if you follow her restricted calorie diet and cleansing formula you can expect to cleanse the liver, thus making it easier for the body to clean out toxins and encourage weight loss.

By losing water weight and speeding up your metabolism, the plan is supposed to support the body’s ability to self-heal and get rid of excess waste.

A bottle of water tied with a measuring tape.

The Fat Flush Water Plan is divided into three phases.

Phase 1: The 2 Week Fat Flush

This is the initial stage in which some dramatic results can be seen as a result of a calorie restricted (1100) diet.

The author claims that fat loss will be most noticeable on your hips, thighs, and buttocks.

Phase 2: The Ongoing Fat Flush

After the 2 week phase, calories are increased to a slightly more sustainable 1500 per day. More foods are reintroduced as a the body readjusts whilst continuing to lose weight.

This phase is marketed towards those with stubborn fat and who wish to maintain a moderate cleanse.

Phase 3 : The Lifestyle Eating Plan

This section is essentially the most important part of the program. During this phase, you are given a basic eating program designed to control weight, increase energy and improve well-being.

This stage is designed to be a lifelong plan. It is the maintenance plan that will ensure that the weight stays off. (source)

Watch this video to see Anne Louise explain the ins and outs of the system and why we need to detox and cleanse our livers:

So Where Does Detox Fit into All This?

The plan aims to address the main offenders of weight gain:

Liver functionStressWater RetentionFear of eating fatExcess insulin

Let’s take a look at each of these factors

Liver Function

Our livers are responsible for filtering out toxins and keeping the blood stream clean. The theory is that if we overload it with too many harmful substances and “toxins” we cannot efficiently burn off body fat.

I’ve mentioned that the concept of “toxins” is pure pseudoscience many times on this website. Yes, we can ingest “toxic” substances such as drugs or chemicals but our body is perfectly capable of dealing with these on its own. If it’s not, you will need to go to the hospital rather than turn to a “detox” program.

There is really no connection with liver “toxicity” and weight loss. Your main focus should be reduced intake and increased exercise.

A graphic of the liver.


When we are stressed the body produces excessive cortisol via the adrenal glands, and this can lead to overeating and weight gain.

By reducing the workload of the digestive system as a result of calorie reduction and the inclusion of healthier foods, the adrenals are given a much-needed break. This will help you maintain control of your diet.

When less cortisol is released into the body, it can more efficiently burn off fat. (sources 12)

Water Retention

Most of us do not consume enough water and as a result, the body holds onto stores of water as an emergency back up. This water retention leads to an increased number on the scales.

A woman drinking a glass o water in a forest.

If we consume adequate amounts of water the body begins to release its emergency stores which in turn releases the extra weight you might be carrying. (sources 12)

Fear of Eating Fat

People mistakenly believe that all fat is bad for you. Fat, like most things, is not created equal. There are good fats and bad fats.

Essential fatty acids (EFAs) are exactly that, essential!

Most of us are deficient in EFAs as a result of believing that all fats are bad for us. By educating yourself on the benefits of healthy fats and learning how to include them in your diet, you will find that you are better satiated.

Avocado next to some nuts and avocado oil.

Eat good fats and there will be no more reaching for the sugar-laden treats, the real culprit of weight gain. (source)

Excess Insulin

Sugar, as in refined carbohydrates, trigger insulin levels to skyrocket because they are rapidly converted into glucose. When there is an overabundance of glucose, insulin is unable to convert it.

The result of these peaks and troughs in your blood glucose levels is a series of unpleasant symptoms – hunger, cravings, lack of energy and weight gain.

By avoiding refined carbs like pasta and bread, we can minimize insulin spikes and reduce body fat increases. (sources 12)

The Main Event

The most prominent beverage in the Fat Flush Plan is the Cranberry water mixture.

Because cleansing and detoxing the liver is the most important element of the plan, cranberry is included due to its high antioxidant and polyphenol count. (source)

Cranberry juice is stuffed with enzymes, flavonoids, and organic acids which have a multitude of health benefits.Cranberry is also a diuretic, meaning it increases urine output, making you lose water weight.

It is for this reason that the Cran-Water recipe is the signature recipe in the cleanse.

Here is the recipe for the signature cranberry recipe on Ann Louise’s website:

Mix together 1 oz. 100% pure unsweetened cranberry juice with 7 oz. plain filtered water. To save time during the day, mix a full batch (64 oz.) in the morning – add 1 cup (8 oz.) cranberry juice to a half-gallon container and fill the rest with water. (source)

Fat Flush Diet Overview

The Fat flush diet program is contained within Gittleman’s book of the same name and includes recipes, menu choices, tips for eating out and natural detox suggestions.

One of best features of the book is the advice on how to stick with a healthy lifestyle over the long term by adopting habits such as ensuring quality sleep and drinking plenty of water.

Water splashing on a person's hand.

An inevitable challenge of offering advice or programs through a book is that many people require more than just a book to motivate them. Because we live in a heavily conditioned world where many institutions are set up for poor health habits, a book may not be as effective as say a personal fitness trainer.

With a ‘golden arches’ around every corner, we need all the healthy motivation we can get these days. Having said that, some people respond favorably to books and prefer to work things out at their own pace without the pressure of accountability.

Books can be an excellent resource for people but I feel that for most of us, to lose weight or improve our health habits, we need more than a book to keep us on track in the long run.

The Inevitable Outcome

The question remains, are you going to lose weight because you are drinking a special kind of drink? Or are you going to lose weight because you are eating less?

Obviously replacing a meal with a next to zero calorie drink and adopting a diet that is almost half that of your daily recommended intake is going to result in weight loss. The diuretic effect of cranberry juice will also shed a few extra pounds, albeit temporarily.

It looks like creator Ann Louise Gittleman is trying to sell more on this plan than simply losing weight. Flushing the liver and cleansing out the toxins is the main claim to fame in this program.

The claims are that by detoxing the liver, our bodies are better equipped to remove fat by overall better function.

A plastic cup of water.

I can’t help but feel like the liver would benefit far more from getting real nutrients from real food. It is debatable that we are getting any real amount of nutrients from a drink that is simply infused with fruit.

Our livers and other bodily functions would get a far greater boost from either eating the fruits and vegetables or drinking them in a juice or smoothie. (source) I get the feeling that the talk of liver cleansing is a cleverly designed marketing ploy to sound authoritative and scientific.

The real pull, which is weight loss for most, is achieved by heavily restricting your calories and adopting a healthier diet. Not through some scientific claims about water cleansing.

Yes, you will lose weight if you drink water instead of eating food! And any kind of water will suffice. Certainly, there are many benefits to resting our digestive systems by incorporating fewer calories for a while and consuming more foods that are easier to digest, such as fruits.

A glass of ice and water with a slice of orange.

But I am not convinced about the proclaimed scientific side of the diet. There is much to like, though.

Including more cruciferous vegetables, fiber-rich foods and healthy oils into our diets is a well-proven way to improve your health. (source)

Exercising more and improving the quality of your sleep are also sure fire ways to enhance the quality of your well being. (source)

There are certainly plenty of positive testimonials which support the plan which you can find here.


One of the drawbacks of suddenly restricting your diet to such a calorific degree is that it can take quite some discipline to succeed. The first two stages of the plan require that you cut your calories almost in half whilst also adopting a physical exercise program.

Depending on the intensity of your exercise, this could prove to be counter intuitive and you could be more likely to gorge on extra food to make up for the extra calories burned.

A couple smiling at each other during exercise.

With low-calorie requirements, an exercise program, essentially not being able to eat out, and purchasing the expensive supplements, this program may prove to be too challenging for many people.

The fact that the water has some fruit in it will make little improvement on what tap water can already do for free.

Long Term Plan or Fad Diet?

If you want to lose weight in a safe sustainable way, then the good old fashioned advice of eating an abundance of fruits and veggies, drink lots of water, exercise and rest, will suffice.

A person sitting in a a garden, holding a glass of wine

Indeed, Gittleman’s book and program advocate these things, but it doesn’t take a genius to figure this out.

Is that approach safe and sustainable? I think not. Despite this, Gittleman is pointing people in the right direction by encouraging them to increase their water intake, improve their diet, move their bodies, and rest well.

Unfortunately, like most “diets”, as opposed to lifestyle changes, the results are only temporary. Unless you are able to stick to your new-found healthy habits after the two week calorie restriction period, you will fall back into old habits and pile the weight back on.

Long term healthy habits that are sustainable are achieved through education, trial and error, patience and persistence.

All of that being said, if you are interested in the Fat flush Diet, you can buy the book on Amazon.

Is it the real deal?


References: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20

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