Top 5 Celeb Diets to Avoid in 2018

Each year, the British Dietetic Association (BDA) releases its top picks of celebrity diets it says we should ignore in the New Year – the traditional time when weight loss is uppermost in our minds as we try to bounce back from Christmas overload.

This year the BDA warns that among the faddy, the factually incorrect and the downright bizarre, some diets out there are actually dangerous.

So, are you looking for a diet that will lead to a new, healthier, more attractive and energetic you? Then here are the 5 celebrity diets to avoid in 2018.

1. Raw vegan

What’s it all about? This is a plant-based diet that involves no cooking.

Fans of this diet consider food to be raw if it has not been heated over 40 to 48 degrees C. Foods should not be refined, pasteurised, treated with pesticides or processed in any way.

The raw vegan diet has been promoted as a cure for obesity and other disease.

Celebrity endorsements? Gwyneth Paltrow, Megan Fox and Sting.

A carefully planned vegan diet combined with supplements such as vitamin B12 and vitamin D can be healthy, says the BDA. However, it won’t guarantee weight loss. A vegan cake is still a cake, and will probably contain the same calories as any other cake.

Also, while some foods are good to have raw, others, such as carrots, are more nutritious cooked. And anyone following this diet wouldn’t be able to eat some foods, such as potatoes.

Raw food can be time consuming to prepare and will be hard to find when you eat out.

The raw vegan diet will be “raw-ther a challenge”, according to dietitians. It may not damage your health in the short-term but could in the long-term if not balanced.

2. Alkaline

What is it? Enthusiasts believe that eating more alkaline and less acidic foods will help change the pH balance of their blood and reduce health risks. Some wrongly claim it can treat cancer and that ‘acidic’ foods cause osteoporosis.

Which celebrities endorse this approach? Tom Brady, the Duchess of York and – yes, again – Gwyneth Paltrow.

What do BDA experts make of it? Basically, that it is based on a misunderstanding of human physiology.

People should be encouraged to eat more fresh vegetables but there is no correlation between the pH of your food and the pH of your blood.

Experts say there’s a good reason why you wouldn’t want to change the pH of your blood because unless it stays within specific parameters – which the human body is capable of maintaining on its own – you could become ill quickly and die.

What’s the bottom line? It’s “nonsense” and an “alka-lie”, according to the BDA.

3. Katie Price – Nutritional Supplements

Nope, can’t imagine which celebrity this is linked with. Unless it’s TV personality and model, Katie Price.

It is, and the website claims the products help with fitness and can boost energy levels.

What’s the verdict on this one? Dietitians at the BDA say the manufacturers makes unsupported claims about the effects on muscle tone and maintenance using ‘essential’ ingredients including L-carnitine and green tea. They say it appears to include the ingredient ‘Satiereal’ based on saffron which they claim will decrease snacking, cravings and promote weight loss and positive mood.

The BDA’s concerns are that rapid weight loss from meal replacement products are unsustainable. Also, appetite suppressors are not a healthy, advisable or sustainable way of losing weight either, it says.

“Price-y” is the BDA’s bottom line on this one. Nichola Ludlam-Raine, a registered dietitian, says: “Selling supplements, especially protein supplements, is an easy way to make money! Whey protein is a fairly cheap ingredient that companies can make a lot of profit on when sold in fancy packaging.

“Although useful in the right scenarios, protein supplements are often mis-sold as the only answer to weight loss, with misleading claims attached to them.”

4. Pioppi

What’s Pioppi? Not so much ‘what’, but ‘where’. Pioppi is a small, Italian village that’s famous for being home to the Mediterranean diet.

Pioppi has been described as the healthiest village in Italy, with folk regularly living into their 90s.

Like the Mediterranean diet, the Pioppi diet recommends eating lots of vegetables, nuts, legumes, and fish and discourages eating red meat, starchy carbs, and sweetened treats.

But it recommends a higher fat content.

It’s the brainchild of authors Dr Aseem Malhotra and Donal O’Neill and claims to be “a 21-day plan to lose weight and live longer, happier and healthier”.

What’s the celebrity link? The Labour MP, Keith Vaz, who has type 2 diabetes and chairs the all-party parliamentary diabetes group, urged MPs to follow the plan during last summer’s parliamentary recess.

Andy Burnham, the mayor of Manchester, is also a fan.

The BDA says the book’s diet and lifestyle advice is not dissimilar to current UK government guidelines, except the authors “may well be the only people in the history of the planet who have been to Italy and come back with a diet named after an Italian village that excludes pasta, rice and bread – but includes coconuts”.

Experts say it also uses potentially dangerous expressions like ‘clean meat’ and encourages people to starve themselves for 24 hours each week.

“Pioppi-ably not a good idea”, is the experts’ verdict. They say a traditional Mediterranean diet is a healthy choice and it would be kinder on the wallet than the Pioppi diet.

5. Ketogenic

What’s this? The ketogenic diet is a variation of the Atkins diet and the Paleo.

The basic premise is a very low carbohydrate intake amounting to no more than 5% of total calories. This is combined with a relatively high amount of fat and a moderate amount of protein.

Typically, it excludes grains, dairy foods, legumes, soy, most fruit, and starchy veg.

The carbs in the diet come mainly from non-starchy vegetables, nuts and seeds.

Fans say decreasing carbohydrates prompts the body to burn fat for energy, helping shed weight, control hunger and boost health.

The ketogenic-style diet has a large fan base of luvvies, including Kim Kardashian, Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Halle Berry, Gwyneth Paltrow, Mick Jagger, Rihanna, Alec Baldwin, Matthew McConaughey and Tom Jones.

What do the BDA dietitians make of it? They say a carefully planned ketogenic diet is no magic bullet for weight loss. They say the diet works like any other, by cutting calorie intake.

They warn that side-effects include low energy levels, brain fog, increased hunger, sleep problems, nausea, digestive discomfort, bad breath and poor exercise performance.

They say it is never a good idea to restrict one type of food, including carbohydrates, as this can make it harder to achieve a balanced diet.

The BDA is also concerned that some advocates have claimed, wrongly, that it can treat or prevent a number of types of cancers.

What’s the bottom line? It “may suit some but ketone-ly with careful planning for balance, heart and gut health”.

No magic bullet

Speaking about these and other fad diets, Sian Porter, consultant dietitian and spokesperson for the BDA, says: “When we see a celeb – looking fabulous and seemingly having a wonderful life – telling us that they did through the latest fad diet it can be very tempting to believe that it will be the magic bullet to change our lives too.

“The truth is, most celebs have a busy team of professionals and assistants preparing their food, monitoring their exercise, picking their clothes, doing their makeup and making sure they always look their best.

“In reality, if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Always ask for evidence and get your advice from someone properly qualified and regulated with nothing to sell or promote.

“Make small changes you will be able to sustain forever and aim for an eating pattern for life – which should be the one you can stick to in the long term, not just a quick fix you will inevitably give up on. Enjoy a rich variety of foods in appropriate portion sizes – moderation and keeping physically active are key.”

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