Sun eating – the “very alarming” practice of looking into the sun in an effort to lose weight – is gaining popularity in Hong Kong. The belief among sun eaters is that by gazing into the sun, your eyes will absorb calorie free energy that the body can use instead of food.
However, eye health professionals have warned that, despite the fact that most of the fad dieters are absorbing their rays at sunrise and sunset, their retinas are at risk of being damaged.
Speaking to Huffington Post, Dr. Helen Webberley, from Oxford Online Pharmacy, described images that show women protecting their skin from being burned, while exposing the extremely sensitive retina to the sun’s rays, risking severe and irreparable damage to their eyesight.
“Sunlight is necessary in controlled amounts on protected skin but it cannot replace food as it does not provide any of the nutrients necessary for day-to-day living.
“While doctors are in favour of self-help and non-medical options for promoting a healthy lifestyle, including taking active measures to maintain a healthy weight, this is a very alarming fad,” said Dr. Webberley.
Speaking to Oriental Daily, one woman said, “We practise sun-gazing as a substitute for eating. Some of us who have finished the therapy now eat less, and others don’t have to eat at all.”
The women start by looking at the sun for up to 10 seconds and add 10 seconds every day until they reach 44 minutes by the ninth month of practice.