It’s the eating philosophy hitting the headlines after ‘Breatharian’ couple Akahi Ricardo and Camila Castello claimed they had barely eaten for the last nine years.
However experts have warned against the dangers of following this diet – which sees followers believing they can be sustained by energy from the universe - especially with Camila claiming she only ate five times while pregnant with her son.
“I don’t know if I believe it,” Nutritional Medicine Practitioner Fiona Tuck told Be.
“During pregnancy, that’s when your nutrition requirements go up – particularly for things like iron and magnesium – so there’s no way she would have been able to get enough nutrients.”
The controversial diet has many wondering how Akahi and Camila who have been ‘Breatharians’ for nine years, have two young children, and split their time between California and Ecuador, manage to stay alive.
“Your body can only survive a matter of days without fluid, because 70 to 80 percent of the body is made up of water, so you need to replenish that otherwise you will become extremely dehydrated,” explains Fiona.
“You can survive a lot longer without food [however] it would affect their blood sugar, their brain function. They would be a lot slower in their movements and wouldn’t have energy to go out exercising. Their brain wouldn’t be sharp enough, their memory could start to fail, they could become breathless.”
According to The Guardian, the controversial diet has been linked to fatalities, including the death of 33-year-old Australian woman Lani Morris and German man, Timo Degan, 31.
Its dangers were shown in 2010, when the diet was put to the test in a TV experiment conducted on Brisbane-based ‘Breatharian’ Jasmuheen.
Jasmuheen, real name Ellen Greve, claimed to survive on a diet of tea, sunlight and the occasional chocolate biscuit.
However after four days of being monitored around-the-clock by 60 Minutes while following her non-eating regime, Jasmuheen was declared dangerously dehydrated and lost six kilos, with the experiment terminated by medical professionals for safety reasons.
Jasmuheen claimed her struggling condition came as a result of being kept in an apartment located next to a busy highway, leaving her fighting carbon monoxide poisoning which interfered with how “70 percent of my nutrients come from fresh air.”
Four years later, Jasmuheen addressed the controversial footage, saying it taught her “humility”.
“What was recorded, how they presented it to the world, was not my truth,” she said in a video posted to Youtube. “I was strong, I was healthy, I could have easily passed their test.
“They wanted to show the world that Jasmuheen was deluded, and they probably did a good job with that. It destroyed my reputation in the world, on one level, which gave me the gift of freedom. From there I could say anything I wanted to say, and people accepted it, because they said ‘She’s just deluded, we already know that.’ So that was great freedom.”
For nutrition expert Fiona, who is also a yoga teacher and believes in the healing power of breath, it’s something she would never recommend.
“It’s just so crazy what people believe in,” she told Be.
"I do believe you can energise the body through the breath, but you cannot get the nutrients in your body, and you cannot get the fluid in the body, and they’re what keeps us alive.”
Be hasreached out to Jasmuheen for comment and update.