From Kim Kardashian’s meal replacement shakes to JLo’s no sugar diet: Experts reveal the WORST celebrity nutritional fads they have heard
- Celebrities are notorious for promoting quick-fix diets on social media
- Under fire recently due to their ‘responsibility’ in the limelight
- Experts in nutrition, psychology and sport reveal the dangers of the fads
Shakes, detox teas and low carb diets – celebrities have tried them all.
But more often than not, they also have a personal trainer, chef and team of health professionals at their command.
A-listers have often come under fire for their lack of responsibility when it comes to posting their regimes on social media platforms.
Their followers – often young and impressionable – are vulnerable to ill health as a consequence.
In a piece for MailOnline, eight experts weigh on some of the biggest ‘fads’ from high-profile celebrities, and how to get the same ‘magic’ results with the use of proper nutrition.
Khloe Kardashian is a common culprit for promoting diets alongside her sisters
1. Meal replacement shakes – Khloe Kardashian
Posts from the Kardashian family can rack up millions of likes.
Shakes, under hundreds of different brands, are low calorie drinks, often to replace meals, with the promise of a ‘flatter stomach’.
Khloe Kardashian posed on Instagram with a shaker while in gym kit in November 2018 and said, ‘I feel tight, toned & fab [sic]’.
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Rob Hobson, registered nutritionist based in London and Healthspan head of nutrition
The problem: These shakes are essentially protein-based and fluffed up with ingredients supposed to promote weight loss.
This type of diet can lack fibre and while many shakes include ingredients such as inulin, these may cause bloating.
You will lose weight on meals equalling little more than 300 calories, but the process is neither fun nor sustainable and the likelihood of keeping the weight off once you start eating normally again is slim.
This approach also does little to teach you about the basic principles of healthy eating, the psychology of eating, or your metabolism.
Khloe Kardashian told followers she felt ‘tight and toned’ with the use of shakes
The alternative: If you plan to follow this low calorie option, it would mean choosing meals with a high water content such as nutritious soups, stews, casseroles and broth or tomato based curries.
Include plenty of veggies, beans, pulses and a little lean protein in your dishes to ramp up the nutritional content and go easy on the oil to keep the calories down.
2. Veganism – Beyoncé and Jay Z
The couple first tried veganism in 2013, and have since encouraged more plant-based meals in the diet for ‘profound impact on our health and environment’.
They partnered with Beyoncé’s trainer Marco Borges to create the 22 Days Nutrition vegan food plan, which delivers meals to people in the US.
Beyoncé and Jay Z have encouraged the ‘profound’ vegan diet before
Dr Emma Derbyshire, a London-based nutritionist and advisor to the Health & Food Supplements Information Service, an information platform for health professionals
The problem: Vulnerable groups such as young girls are being driven into the trend of veganism. It is now becoming more of a fashion choice rather than a carefully made decision.
Vegan diets need to be carefully planned to get the array of nutrients needed.
They can be nutrient dense with good levels of lots of key trace minerals such as magnesium, potassium and calcium.
However, vegans can sometimes miss out on vital vitamins, especially vitamin B12, iron and essential fatty acid.
Bearing this in mind, taking a daily multi-vitamin and omega supplement is also recommended.
The alternative: Flexitarianism. This diet has some ‘meat-free’ days so tends to be higher in plant-based foods yet includes lean red meat, oily fish and dairy produce so iron, vitamin 12 and omega-3 intakes are likely to be higher.
3. Keto diet – Kourtney Kardashian
Kourtney Kardashian told People in February last year that she had a ‘really positive experience’ using the ketogenic diet, despite suffering headaches and low energy for a couple of weeks.
The diet limits carbs in the diet to less than 50g, causing the body to switch from using glucose to fat as its main source of energy.
Kourtney Kardashian is a fan of the low-carb diet, but admits it gave her headaches
The problem: Carbs are very limited in this diet and almost all grains, pulses, breads, rice and pasta are cut out to account for the carbs found in fruits and vegetables.
Contrary to popular belief this is not a high protein diet as excess protein is converted to glucose in the absence of carbohydrate. So, this means loading up on fat.
The diet has been shown to be beneficial to people with type 2 diabetes as it helps improve insulin resistance.
However, this diet is not for the faint hearted, as what is commonly referred to a ‘carb-flu’ can cause fatigue, smelly breath, headaches and general weakness.
Fibre intake is also low, which isn’t great for your digestion or diversity of bacteria in the gut, which can result in constipation.
The alternative: The Fast 800 Diet – this is a diet based on Dr Michael Mosley’s best-selling books: ‘The Fast Diet’, ‘Fast Exercise’ and ‘The Blood Sugar Diet’.
The Fast 800 was developed by a group of doctors, nutritionists and lifestyle specialists, which aims to help patients lose weight and improve their health with a novel rapid weight loss programme.
But followers of this diet should also be bridging the nutritional gaps with supplements.
4. Detox teas – Cardi B, Khloe Kardashian and Marnie Simpson
Detox teas are often marketed as way to burn fat, eliminate cravings or reset the digestive system.
The advice varies by brand, with different teatox programmes advising day-time and night-time drinks for one to four weeks.
On Black Friday in November 2018, Cardi B told her followers on Instagram, ‘If you spend you $$$ on ANYTHING it better be Teami’ – a ‘natural detox’ tea blend.
Cardi B once told her followers on Instagram to spend their money on a tea detox product
Dr Aria Campbell-Danesh, clinical psychologist and behaviour change expert in London
The problem: The body has its own natural detoxification system – the kidneys and liver – that works continuously.
These teas often contain laxatives such as senna, a natural product made from the leaves and fruit of the senna plant that can treat constipation.
However, NHS guidelines state that senna should not be used for more than a week. Common side effects also include stomach cramps and diarrhoea.
The damaging psychological aspects of detox teas and supplements are largely overlooked.
The implicit message is that you need an external, quick fix because you’re incapable of achieving your health goals by making long-term changes to your life.
This can have a detrimental impact on self-esteem and self-confidence in the long run.
The solution: The safe nutritional way to support your body’s detoxification system is to eat a range of fibre-rich whole grains (such as oats, brown rice, quinoa and wholegrain couscous), fruits, vegetables, and to drink enough water.
Sustainable weight loss is about gradually improving the quality of the foods that you eat, little-by-little, day-by-day.
Studies into the psychology of habits show that the simpler the action, the quicker it becomes second nature.
5. The ‘detox’ diet – Jennifer Lopez
In January, Jennifer Lopez said that on day four of her ten day ‘no carb no sugar’ diet – in which she encouraged her 86million Instagram followers to join her on – she was feeling ‘a lil better’.
The post gave a little insight into the extreme lengths celebrities take to achieve instant results.
JLo told her 86million Instagram followers in January she was on a new regime
Hala El-Shafie, registered dietitian and consultant nutritionist based in London
The problem: It’s important to note that anyone can lose weight – the Holy Grail is keeping that weight off.
With crash diets, what you’re actually seeing, in this initial stage, is simply a drop from their water and glycogen stores and possibly some muscle mass also.
This isn’t actually fat loss. Statistics tell us that in over 97 per cent of cases where weight loss occurs like this, so will weight regain.
Depriving yourself from certain foods makes you more likely to fixate on them and then subsequently over eat.
You should avoid ‘deprivation’ as this is the fastest route to overeating.
Food is food, but when categorising it as ‘good’ and ‘bad’ and rewarding ourselves with foods as ‘treats’ sets us up for a challenging cycle to break.
JLo showed off her toned abs in an Instagram picture saying she was on a no carb or sugar diet
The solution: When it comes to losing weight, sustainability is what’s key and not going on a diet, particularly extreme ones.
The main recipe for a healthy body is a healthy mindset – one that doesn’t obsess about every single thing you eat.
Ensure you always have something to eat when on the go such as nutritious snacks.
A banana or handful of almonds, for example, contain nutrients such as plant protein, fibre and healthy fats to keep you going throughout the day.
Snacking can help to avoid blood sugar dips which will reduce the risk of over eating when food cravings can often be at their highest.
6. Celery juice – Miranda Kerr and Kylie Jenner
A quick search on Instagram for #celeryjuice brings up over 84,000 results, with celebrities such as Miranda Kerr and Kim Kardashian claiming to drink the bright green drink – which undoubtedly looks ‘healthy’.
Kylie Kardashian posted an Instagram story this February claiming all the reasons she drank 16oz every morning, such as it ‘contains high amounts of vitamin C and K… calms nerves, relieves migraines and promotes weight loss’.
In August 2018, Miranda Kerr told Coveteur: ‘I always start my day with fresh, cold-pressed celery juice. I make it at home.’
Miranda Kerr is a fan of celery juice, which is promoted for its ‘healing’ benefits
Kristy Coleman, a registered nutritional therapist based in London
The problem: Anthony Williams, the ‘medical medium’ claims to be the originator of the global celery juice movement.
According to Williams, drinking 16oz of celery juice daily on an empty stomach has healing benefits for those with autoimmune conditions ranging from Hashimotos thyroiditits, rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes to eczema and psoriasis. In addition, he also claims it is a ‘detox’ drink.
Sure, you may feel better because you are adding an extra portion of vegetables to your diet, with celery providing a source of vitamin K, and increasing your water intake.
But the research is inconclusive about how much you would need to consume and the purported health benefits.
No amount of celery can control the complicated factors that may play a part in such autoimmune conditions, such as genetics, immune system and lifestyle.
As for the detox claims, providing you have a functioning liver, gut and kidneys – you are detoxing all the time.
While it is true that juices can form part of a balanced diet, when you juice celery, you actually lose the insoluble fibre part, which is important for gut health.
Kylie Jenner shared this image of her celery juice on her Instagram story in February
The solution: If you like celery, go ahead and eat it in its natural form as part of a balanced diet.
There are no quick diet fixes that ‘cure’ autoimmune conditions or make you detox. Instead, aim to focus on whole foods in favour of processed foods and look to increase the number and diversity of plant-based foods, especially brightly coloured vegetables and fruit you eat.
7. Lollipop appetite suppressants – Kim Kardashian
Kim Kardashian promoted lollipops on Instagram in May 2018 as a way to lose weight. She said, ‘They’re literally unreal’, while telling her followers to buy them quickly.
The lollies are to be taken between meals to ‘tide you over’ to the next meal, with ingredients in the claim to be satiating.
Critics hit back at the companies use of celebrities to endorse eating minimal food when hunger hits.
Kim Kardashian is a frequent culprit for posting about meal replacement shakes
Rhiannon Lambert, Harley Street nutritionist and author of Re-Nourish
The problem: They contain Satiereal (saffron extract) which the manufacturer Flat Tummy Co suggests is a ‘clinically proven safe active ingredient extracted from natural plants’ and ‘if you snack on them when you’re feeling hungry, it’ll suppress your appetite for a few hours’.
Other than supposed magical saffron extract (with zero credible scientific research for suppressing appetite), the first two ingredients are cane sugar and brown rice syrup – so it’s basically just an expensive lollipop full of sugar.
What’s worse is that the company have previously (this isn’t the first time they’ve been in trouble) stated they are ‘not aware of the relevant regulation, and did not hold scientific data to support their claims’.
There’s even a disclaimer on the website which confirms none of their products are approved by the US food regulatory body.
They edge very close to disordered eating territory. Eating disorders are mental illnesses with complex causes, so it’s unlikely that lollipops would be the sole reason for someone developing one.
But, we know that appetite suppressants are used by people with restrictive eating habits. They now have the seed implanted that being hungry is somehow wrong – it’s not.
Diets fail because they do not work sustainably over time. They give rise to perfectionism and promote unrealistic expectations.
Dieting supports the illusion that weight loss leads to happiness and health. Honestly, for most people, weight loss just tends to lead to more worry about weight re-gain.
We have lost sight of weight loss for health. So instead of undertaking some gruelling juice cleanse, diet or instagram trend, simply incorporate more healthy but delicious meals into your lifestyle.
That way you’ll help develop a healthy relationship with food, nourish your body and likely drop a few pounds along the way.
Kim Kardashian has promoted lollipops on Instagram which claim to suppress the appetite
8. Skipping breakfast – Gwyneth Paltrow
Gwyneth Paltrow is famous for her diet endavours. On occasion, she has revealed exactly what a healthy diet entails for her.
In June 2017, she told Net-a-Porter’s the Edit that she often skips breakfast, but indulges in the evening.
She said: ‘My first meal of the day is normally lunch; I keep it light on carbs so my energy levels don’t peak and valley through the day.
‘At home, I loosen the reins: a glass of wine, maybe a baguette dripping in cheese, some fries.’
In June 2017, Gwyneth Paltrow said that she often skips breakfast, but indulges in the evening
Kim Pearson, qualified nutritionist and weight loss specialist based in London
The problem: The idea that we have to have breakfast first thing in the morning has been disproved.
But I wouldn’t recommend it [skipping breakfast] for people everyone.
It may lead to people compensating later on in the day, as they snack throughout the afternoon on bad food and then have dinner and then rummage cupboards after as they are not satisfied.
As a clinician I’m always wary of signs of disordered eating behaviours. There is always the potential for people who struggle with disordered eating to look for further ways to restrict what they eat. That’s where I would be wary.
The solution: It really depends on the individual as sometimes restricted eating periods, such as eating only between 11am to 7pm, works for people and they naturally not feel hungry until lunch time.
I have a client whose last meal of they day is 5pm because she goes to bed early, so essentially she has shifted her meals to ‘miss’ dinner.
Intermittent fasting does have proven health benefits, including supporting weight loss. If you’re restricting the period of time people to eat, naturally people will eat less.
However, that person may eat very unhealthily within the time period. I would recommend all the nutritional bases are covered within the eating time period – that’s enough calories, protein, healthy fats and essential nutrients.
If someone is exercising quite intensely, you want to make sure their eating is supportive of that and they have sustained energy levels.
I would reiterate to record whether it works for you. You need to be mindful of how you feel if you make a major change and perhaps keep a diary.
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