Hollywood is notorious for generating some seriously jaw-dropping diet habits. And the thing that makes them so tempting: Most of the time, they work. But would you try these A-list routines—or are they way too extreme? We asked the experts for their take on what’s safe, and what you should stay away from.
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The Watercress Soup Diet
Who does it: Elizabeth Hurley. The 50-year-old star is said to have lost 10 pounds in seven days while on it.
What you eat: Designed by UK nutritionist Sarah Schenker, the name doesn’t totally describe this one. Yes, you will be eating watercress soup, a sort of watery mix of chicken broth, milk, onions and potatoes, but that’s more of the cornerstone (if you follow it correctly, you are only eating it for lunch). It’s not the only thing that’s allowed on the menu, as healthy breakfasts (think high-fiber cereals and fruit smoothies) and filling dinners (steak salads and sweet potatoes) are encouraged. Schenker’s weight-loss plan calls for six weeks of following the diet, and she claims it will help you lose the maximum amount of weight during that time period that is still a safe and healthy amount.
The bottom line: We asked the creator for this one, and she readily admits that she made it with the thinking that it be used as more of a meal replacement. “Watercress soup is extremely healthy, as it is packed full of vitamins and minerals and other nutrients our bodies need,” Schenker says. “Although it is very low in calories, it is filling, which is why it is ideal in helping people kick-start their weight-loss. I recommend you use it like a meal-replacer milkshake, where you eat it once or twice a day, along with a balanced low-calorie meal for a few weeks to get you started. But after this time, it’s important to start to include more wholesome foods into your diet to make sure you are getting the right balance of protein, healthy fats, carbohydrates and fiber needed for long-term good health.”
The 7-Day Color Diet
Who does it: Supposedly, this is the diet that helped Christina Aguilera shed her baby weight.
What you eat: It’s pretty simple in theory, as long as you can keep your colors and days of the week straight: Eat seven-plus servings of fruits and vegetables a day, focusing on one color per day (for example, eat only orange-colored foods Monday and switch to just green foods for Tuesday). As a general rule, half of what you eat can be cooked (the other half should be raw), and it’s OK to flavor with spices and herbs and supplement with lean proteins, healthy fats, fiber and whole grains if they still fall under the color spectrum for that day (for example, you can have both pineapple and an egg yolk on your “yellow day.”)
The bottom line: “There are clearly positives and negatives that go with this one,” says celebrity nutritionist Paula Simpson. “You’re eating fiber, antioxidant-rich and unprocessed foods, but sticking to certain colors like this can be really monotonous and difficult to follow over the long-term.” Adds celebrity nutritionist Cynthia Pasquella, “It just doesn’t make good nutritional or psychological sense that if you eat red strawberries on Tuesday that you wouldn’t be able to enjoy them again until next Tuesday rolls around. I would recommend incorporating a rainbow of colors every day instead.”
Apple Cider Vinegar Diet
Who does it: This one has a ton of celeb names swirling around it, like Heidi Klum, Miranda Kerr and Megan Fox.
What you eat: It’s more what you drink (apple cider vinegar, typically taken with water before a meal), and it’s not so much a diet as it is a hunger-suppressor. Some studies suggest that, because apple cider vinegar contains acids and enzymes, it can help lower blood sugar levels, which in turn, lowers the insulin levels that are tied to weight loss.
The bottom line: Some bad beauty-related things can happen on this diet. “Followed long-term, this diet can damage your tooth enamel and possibly burn your throat,” nutritionist Tina Ruggiero says. But, Pasquella says it’s not totally detrimental as long as you look at it less like a diet and more as just a digestive helper. “Drinking a spoonful before a meal detoxifies the liver and helps with digestion, which are both good factors to consider with weight-loss.”
The Banana Diet
Who does it: She’s more of a celebrity on the social media circuit, but Freelee the Banana Girl can be credited with generating the buzz around this one. Her dramatic before-and-after weight-loss images that she shares with her followers are seriously impressive, and what she eats (mainly, the sheer amount of bananas she consumes) is downright shocking.
What you eat: Bananas—and a lot of them. Most followers consume upward of 30 bananas in just ONE day for 30 days straight. “Some versions allow for other fruits and vegetables, but either way, this many bananas isn’t healthy; it’s a diet that’s incredibly high in sugar and devoid of important nutrients your body needs,” explains Ruggiero. “And, as you can imagine, your stomach will most likely not feel so great.”
The bottom line: This diet will most likely have you going bananas. “Bananas pack some amazing health benefits, but they don’t provide all of the necessary ones you need daily to thrive,” says Pasquella. “Not only that, but the health dangers from the high amount of sugar that you are consuming by following the recommended 30 bananas a day far outweigh any benefits you would be getting by just including some bananas into your balanced daily routine and meal plans. This diet is far too restricting to work long-term and could be severely damaging to the body.”
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