Celebrity Diets: Fake or Fab?
It’s almost every day we hear about a new celebrity diet; we may think if we follow it we can get the same results. But before you dive into just any celebrity diet, lets take a look at some of the most popular.
Celebrity Diets: Jennifer Lopez
This New Years, J Lo decided to grace us all with a new diet that will solve all of our problems. The diet was coined the “10-day challenge.” As the name suggests, it is a 10-day diet that completely excludes carbohydrates and sugars as a way to ‘reset’ the body.
What’s Wrong With a Reset Diet?
The idea that we need to “reset” our bodies is not supported by research. Our bodies are actually amazing at filtering and processing all of the nutrients we consume through food. Carbohydrates provide the body with fuel and energy – to deprive it completely can cause irritability, lightheadedness, fatigue, and mood swings. In J Lo’s posts on Instagram, she regularly updated how she was feeling during the diet. Her captions were:
“This 10-day challenge is starting to get lonely,”
“Day 4 & feeling….a lil better,” and
“Day 9 and feelin’…like I can’t wait for Day 10.”
Now, that doesn’t sound like someone who feels good to me – that sounds like she was fatigued and ready to be done.
Celebrity Diets: Kelly Clarkson
Kelly Clarkson’s diet, also known as the “Plant Paradox Diet,” rids lectin from the diet. Lectin is a protein that binds carbohydrates. A few big sources of lectin are: beans, legumes, brown rice, quinoa, tomato, eggplant, potatoes, peppers, eggs, and milk
Dr. Gundry, a former cardiologist who now sells dietary supplements, claims this diet can solve the issue of a ‘leaky gut syndrome’. Leaky gut roughly means the gastrointestinal system is incapable of absorbing nutrients properly because the lining has been weakened. In the same way, this creates more opportunity for toxins to make their way in because of the damaged structure.
What’s Wrong With This Diet?
If lectin in our foods truly caused ‘leaky gut’, there would be far, far more people with leaky gut syndrome. All of the foods mentioned above that contain lectins have been found to do highly beneficial things in our bodies because of the vitamins, minerals, fiber, and protein found in them, and they are consumed all the time! Foods like these can protect our hearts against heart disease and help in controlling our weight. Most importantly, there are no human studies showing that lectins are harmful to our bodies. Kelly Clarkson likely lost weight for a variety of reasons that have nothing to do with lectin itself.
Celebrity Diets: Tom Cruise
Tom Cruise follows an untraditional diet of 15 small snacks a day. If you Google ‘Tom Cruise’s Diet’, just about every source adds that he eats very healthily with no processed foods. He is very physically active and constantly stays in shape for the roles in which he performs stunts.
Is Many Small Snacks Realistic?
Tom Cruise seems to focus on providing himself with a consistent source of energy, always coming from quality foods. I don’t see an initial problem with this, except for the fact that we are not all on the list of Hollywood’s Top Paid Actors and can’t demand 15 beautiful snacks of fresh origins every day. So I guess you could say the one key flaw is the lack of realism it has for the ordinary person.
Celebrity Diets: Jennifer Aniston
Jennifer Aniston has been the face of the Zone Diet, developed by Barry Sears. The Zone Diet splits a day’s worth of food into 40% carbohydrates, 30% protein, and 30% fat. She focuses on her carbohydrates coming from beans, legumes, whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. She also focuses on lean proteins such as chicken, fish, turkey, tofu, and lean beef, and heart healthy fats such as avocados, olive oil, and fish oil.
What’s Wrong With The Zone Diet?
The issue I have with the Zone diet is the products that go along with it. For example, a strawberry yogurt-flavored Zone Bar follows the method of the 40/30/30 rule by providing 200 calories: 44% of calories from carbohydrates (not including fiber), 28% of calories from protein, and 27% of calories coming from fat (close enough). Though this may seem like a healthy product, I found 10 sources of sugar (yes, ten) in the ingredients label. This company is smart and knows how to disguise their sources of sugar with fancy words like “glycerin,” “glycerol,” “dextrose,” “cane syrup,” “corn syrup” and “fructose.”
Mimicking the Mediterranean Diet
Aside from the Zone products, I actually really like how Jennifer Aniston prioritizes her nutrients. Instead of saying there is a “Jennifer Aniston diet,” I would say Jennifer Aniston follows a Mediterranean diet. The Mediterranean diet is far and away one of the few diets which has been shown to be beneficial to humans. This diet shows balance, moderation, and emphasis on foods we know are good for us. In addition to a wonderful diet, she also exercises regularly and drinks plenty of water – another huge factor in her current state of fabulous health.
Celebrity Diets Overall
Celebrity diets can parade themselves as being scientifically-supported and are especially attractive when your favorite movie stars use them to lose weight. However, a quick common-sense-check can typically debunk just about any celebrity diet. Is the proposed diet restricting food groups? Is it telling you there are “good” and “bad” foods? Could it be making opposing claims about foods that are encouraged by the government and dietitians as being healthy, stating they are actually not good for the body? Is it promoting a product or is it a product full of added sugar? These are all major red flags and indicate that this diet might not be such a good idea.
Michelle Yates, RD, LMNT, is a clinical dietitian at CHI Health Lakeside Hospital, specializing in the Medical/Surgical unit & the Oncology unit. She doubles as a dance instructor as well as a master’s student for Health Psychology. Her passions are to help others break free from any negative ideas of food they carry, along with opening their eyes to the joys of “everything in moderation”.