Celebrity Diets – Are they any good for you?

We all love a new diet craze but it’s time to look at the pros and cons

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Words by Natasha Deegan
November 16th, 2016

Paleo, macrobiotic, veganism, it seems as though a new diet is being hailed the next best thing every week but what are the benefits of them, and most importantly, are they attainable? Are they healthy?

Most people don’t know where to begin and look to their favourite celebrities for ideas, however, diets are not a one-size-fits all! So let’s take a look at the celebrity favoured diets and see if they benefit you in the long run or if they are just a quick fix, with not so pleasant after tastes.

Atkin’s


Invented by cardiologist, Robert C. Atkins, the book has sold over 10 million copies and is followed by the likes of Jennifer Aniston and Kim Kardashian West who resorted to the diet in order to shed the extra weight she had gained during pregnancy. This diet emphasises eating lean protein (chicken, turkey, fish) and low starch vegetables (potatoes, corn, peas, butternut squash) while avoiding simple carbohydrates (flour, sugar etc). The premise is that by significantly reducing your carb intake your blood sugar levels are more balanced and you will start to use stored fat such as that found around the stomach for energy.

PROS : Noticeable weight loss while eating ‘yummy’ foods.

CONS : Depending on fat intake sources, cholesterol levels can be high. Common side effects from the body entering a ketogenic state during this diet are smelly breath, constipation and dizziness.

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Macrobiotic


A diet of Japanese origin, 75k book copies sold and followed by Madonna, Scarlett Johansson and, formerly, Gwyneth Paltrow. Primarily vegetarian with the occasional fish, this diet has a strong focus on organic, natural foods. The meal plan is comprised of wholegrains, brown rice, beans, legumes and miso soup. Mindful eating plays a huge part in this diet, taking small bites and spending time consciously chewing the food.

PROS: Macro follows the basic fundamentals of all diets – no sugar or processed food, more vegetables and no toxins. It aims to achieve a Ying/Yang balance with food and your body.

CONS: Nutritional balance can be difficult to attain. Participants must pay attention to their B vitamin levels and iron to avoid lethargy and a compromised immune system.

Paleo


Invented by an American scientist, Dr. Loren Condain, with a book that has sold 100k copies to date, this diet is followed by stars such as Uma Thurman, Megan Fox, Miley Cyrus and Jack Osbourne who switched up his diet after being diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. Focusing on food from the Paleolithic era (pre-farming), the diet is composed of meat, fish, fruit, veg, eggs, nuts, seeds and healthy oils. You must cut out grains, legumes, dairy, sugar and all processed food.

PROS: No calorie counting, gluten-free, no high GI foods and noticeable weight loss.

CONS: This diet can lead to people having low calcium levels (responsible for strong teeth and bones, hormone release and regulating heartbeat) which can lead to osteoporosis. All day fasting with a heavy meal at the end of the day can lead to insulin spikes resulting in higher risk of diabetes.

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22 Day Food Revolution


Anybody see Beyoncé on her world tour this year? Queen B puts her to die for figure down to this diet (something she and other half Jay-Z are financially involved in on a business level). Invented by vegan physiologist, Marco Borges, the idea behind the 22 Day Food Revolution is that it takes 21 days to break a habit. This diet consists of eating only whole plant foods – vegetables, fruits, grains, legumes, nuts and seeds. It also follows Pareto’s 80/20 Principle. That is 80% carbs, 10% fat and 10% protein.

PROS: As with all the above diets, ditching junk food, sugar, alcohol, upping vegetable and fruit intake and lashing the water out of it like there’s no tomorrow can change your life! However, there is no dairy or meat in this particular diet so participants should watch their vitamin B levels.

CONS: With such a high carb intake you won’t feel hungry but you will have insulin spikes which can lead to bad food cravings. Any unused carbs not used through exercise will be stored as fat. When reading the book the recipes are unbalanced, unclear and repetitive also.

So, in a nutshell, whether it’s vegetarian, vegan, all meat and no carbs or simply fasting, basic principles remain the same – cut out the C.R.A.P. drink plenty of water!

C: Carbohydrates (Reduce simple carbs, increase complex carbs)

R: Refined Food

A: Artificial Food

P: Processed Food

And before venturing on a new diet, always consult a G.P. or qualified nutritionist.