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THE GUIDE: Strange Celebrity Diets Examined

by Erin Darling 3 September 2010 1,167 views No Comment E-mail Erin Darling

Anytime a celebrity slims down, rumors run rampant about how they lost the weight. You can barely watch the local news, let alone open a magazine, that doesn’t have information on a new diet trend. But with this great influx of information, how are we supposed to know which diets are legitimate and which are simply as strange and gimmicky as they sound? Sari Greaves, RD spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association and Nutrition Director at Step Ahead Weight Loss Center in Bedminster, New Jersey helps shed some light on the subject of some of the popular celebrity diets we’ve seen in the media. Remember, it’s best to consult your doctor before embarking on any diet, inspired by a svelte celebrity, or not.

The Master Cleanse

Also known as the “Lemonade Diet,” The Master Cleanse is a diet that claims to cleanse your body through drinking a homemade lemonade comprised of maple syrup, cayenne pepper and lemon juice mixed with water. If you think that sounds terrible, it actually gets worse. This lemonade is meant to be all you consume for at least 10 days, if you can follow it for that long, supplemented only by brackish water and laxative tea to help stimulate bowel movements. According to Stanley Burroughs, the creator of the diet, The Master Cleanse is meant to rid the body of toxins, increase energy levels and aid in weight loss. Singer and actress Beyonce Knowles famously lost 20 pounds in less than two weeks on this stringent diet to slim down for her role in “Dreamgirls” and model Naomi Campbell said that she also does The Master Cleanse when she last appeared on Oprah.

So does it work? According to Greaves, the answer is yes, if your goal is to see a lower number on the scale. “The diet is only 600 to 1200 calories per day,” she explains. “No one should dip below 1200 calories per day for weight loss without professional supervision, which is one reason why The Master Cleanse may be dangerous. Essentially, this regimen is a fast and puts the body into a state of starvation. During starvation your fat cells are burned for energy, but your body also breaks down muscle to provide enough fuel to vital organs such as the brain and heart.”

This type of starvation slows the dieter’s metabolism, making any weight loss extremely difficult to maintain once you return to a normal eating routine. But that’s not the only downside to The Master Cleanse, according to Greaves. “More importantly, starving your body of vital nutrients for a prolonged period can wreak havoc on your system. Risks include frequent liquid bowel movements, vitamin deficiency, muscle breakdown, weakened immune system, hair loss, pallid complexion and even brain damage. The bottom line is that there are definitely much safer and more sustainable ways to lose weight that do not incur long-term health risks.”

Baby Food Diet


What’s the fastest way to get a new fad diet in the news? Ask the hottest trainer in Los Angeles what she and her A-list clients are doing to stay slim. The latest diet buzz has been surrounding The Baby Food Cleanse, which is a diet based on eating pureed food, whipping your meals to a consistency similar to the contents of a Gerber jar. This is a new type of cleanse that celebrity trainer Tracy Anderson developed for her clients which include Jennifer Aniston and Madonna. Anderson told Hollyscoop that this type of diet is cleansing, yet still allows you to eat, technically.

“It calls for a daily 14 servings of pureed fruits, vegetables, grains and meat. In other words, baby food from your local supermarket followed by a healthy adult dinner,” says Greaves. “The 14 servings throughout the day deliver 1,000 calories and the calories included in the nightly meal depend on your own math.”
So should we all be making a mad dash to the baby food aisle in the grocery store? Not yet, says Greaves. “There’s no study saying whether this diet really works. Possibly because it’s so new that researchers haven’t had time for a thorough examination. It’s also important to point out that The Baby Food Diet doesn’t have any solid guidelines to follow or an exercise component, which is essential for leading an overall healthy lifestyle, not matter what you’re eating.”

Raw Food


Read any celebrity gossip magazine and you’ll see that there are many interpretations of what qualifies as a “raw food” diet, but in most cases, this eating plan encourages followers to stay away from processed foods, and bread. This basically means fruit, vegetables, nuts and seeds. However, true raw foodists don’t let anything pass through their lips that is cooked at a temperature over 116 degrees in order to avoid breaking down important enzymes. “A raw food diet is just what it sounds like- you only eat raw food. As in at least 75 percent of your meals and snacks are not heated above 116 degrees Fahrenheit. This temperature is chosen because the diet’s creators believe that the nutritional value of fruits and vegetables wither away when cooked at high heats,” explains Greaves.

Actress Demi Moore has been said to be a longtime fan of a raw diet. But younger ingenue, Amanda Seyfried, sounded more reluctant to embrace this diet although she also goes raw, telling Esquire that it’s “awful” and that her lunch consisted of “spinach and some seeds.” ”While on a raw diet you can expect to eat vegetarian or most likely vegan. That means no meat, no dairy, no eggs, no animal ingredients and most importantly, no processed foods,” says Greaves.

Does going raw do a body good? Definitely when you eliminate processed foods from your diet, Greaves says. “Research has linked eating processed foods to obesity, diabetes, heart disease and some cancers. Plus, they’re rather high in sugars and empty calories and low in essential vitamins. Almost all meals in a raw food diet are based on the same key ingredients including: fresh fruit and vegetables, sprouts, seeds, nuts, grains, beans, dried fruit, and seaweed. All of these foods are high in essential vitamins and lack trans and saturated fats.”
An added benefit? Eating more fruits and vegetables aid in digestion, reduce risk of heart disease, increase energy levels, result in clearer skin and, weight loss. However, before you jump on the raw food bandwagon, Greaves suggests you do your research and make sure you know how to eat balanced meals while going raw. “Doctors have seen raw foodists experience calcium, iron, zinc and B12 deficiencies. And a recent study published in the Journal of Nutrition found that a raw food diet increased levels of homocysteine - an amino acid in the blood linked to heart disease- due to vitamin B-12 deficiency. Switching to a raw food diet might not be the best choice for children, pregnant or nursing women and people with anemia or at risk for osteoporosis, since research has found that people on the raw food diet often have lower bone mass than those who do not follow a raw diet.”

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