Jars of baby food, dehydrated ingredients and masses of maple syrup. What happened to good old-fashioned healthy eating? Sian Griffiths sizes up ten of the weirdest celebrity diet fads…
I myself have never been one for dieting. I like food too much. Instead, I’m a firm believer that a balanced diet combined with exercise is the way forward, but I know that not everyone has the same philosophy as me. For some strange reason, some people prefer to follow mad fad diets – and celebrities are amongst the worst offenders.
When I think about crazy diets, a quote from The Devil Wears Prada comes to mind: ‘It’s for Paris, I’m on this new diet. Well, I don’t eat anything and when I feel like I’m about to faint I eat a cube of cheese.’ That’s no way to live! When it comes to celebrities, staying slim seems to be part and parcel of the job, but surely there have got to be an easier ways to stay in shape than the bizarre methods that follow…
Baby Food Diet: Reese Witherspoon
If you haven’t heard of the baby food diet, you’re not missing out. Adult food is much, much better. Basically, you eat 14 jars of mush a day… and not much else. Depending how much weight you want to lose, or if you’re going gaga, there’s the option to add in one meal of lean protein and vegetables – how generous. There’s no specified exercise plan to go with it (and besides, surely you wouldn’t have the energy to do any), so it’s hard to see the weight staying off – unless, of course, you want to eat baby food forever.
500 Calories-Per-Day Diet: Anne Hathaway
This is a crash diet if there ever was one – even the name of it makes me feel like I’m going to pass out. For her role of Fantine, a frail and dying factory worker-come-lady of the night, in Les Miserables, Anne Hathaway was required to lose 16lbs in less than three weeks, and desperate times call for desperate measures. Apparently, she ate nothing more than a couple of apples and some form of protein (mostly shakes) a day, and she was also assigned a personal trainer. Rapid results ensued. Right, I’m hungry – pass the biscuits, please.
7-Day Colour Diet: Christina Aguilera
For a more colourful approach to dieting, here’s a method championed by Christina Aguilera. The premise is simple: each day is keyed to a different colour, kicking off with white on Monday and followed by red, green, orange, purple, yellow and ‘rainbow-coloured’ foods on Sunday. The diet primarily consists of fruit and vegetables, and starchy foods are to be avoided, but surely finding enough purple-coloured food is a challenge in itself? I’m guessing Parma Violets aren’t allowed…
Fruitarian Diet: Steve Jobs
Famous fruitarian Steve Jobs lived largely off raw fruit. I love fruit, but surely it must get old, fast. The diet of a fruitarian is made up of 75 per cent fruit, and some allow themselves the occasional portion of nuts and seeds, too. As for grains and meat, they’re very much off the menu. The upside is that fruit is high in fibre and low in calories, and there’s no cooking required either, but the ugly downside is that you won’t get all the nutrients you need to function properly and it’ll slow down your metabolism. Whilst getting into the character of the Apple co-founder for the film JOBS, Ashton Kutcher’s emulation of the fruitarian diet landed him in hospital. Not good.
The Alkaline Diet: Victoria Beckham
Claiming to improve memory, enhance energy levels and prevent muscle pain amongst other things, the Honestly Healthy Alkaline Programme promises great things. This diet involves consuming mainly alkaline foods (around 80 per cent) in order to keep you body’s pH between 7.35 and 7.45. Apparently, they’re easier for the digestive system to break down as they allow vitamins and minerals to be more easily absorbed. It sounds good in theory at least, but who has time to think about the pH level of what they’re eating? Not me.
Maple Syrup Diet: Beyoncé
We all love Beyoncé and her bootylicious-ness, but she has been known to undertake the odd crash diet. One of the most gruelling is the Maple Syrup Diet (otherwise known as the ‘Master Cleanse’ or the ‘Lemonade Diet’), whereby you drink a mix of maple syrup, cayenne pepper and lemon juice to ‘cleanse’ the body during the day, plus lukewarm sea salt water in the morning and laxative tea at night. No actual food passes your lips. She did manage to shed 20lbs in a few weeks in preparation for her role in Dreamgirls, but this sounds like a trigger for yo-yoing to me. Maple syrup is for pouring over pancakes, waffles and other delicious things.
Dehydration: Hugh Jackman
In a nutshell, Hugh Jackman’s dehydration diet meant swigging four gallons of water every day for a week and then no liquid at all for 24 hours after; unsurprisingly, he himself described it as ‘pretty brutal’. This was the method he used to get ripped for his role of Wolverine, although I’m pretty sure the three-hour-a-day workout with Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson helped, too..
Hard-Boiled Egg Diet: Nicole Kidman
Whilst trying to slim down for Cold Mountain in 2013, Nicole Kidman survived on eggs. Yes, just eggs – one for lunch, one for breakfast and two for dinner. If the Australian was especially hungry, she’d allow herself three (greedy thing). There are other, less extreme and more varied versions of this diet, but this all sounds like a lot of protein and cholesterol and not much else.
All-Liquid Diet: Matthew McConaughey
Matthew McConaughey shrunk significantly for his role as a Texas cowboy in Dallas Buyers Club after following an all-liquid diet, the bulk of which is most likely to have consisted of protein shakes. Under medical supervision, he lost over 40lbs in all, but it didn’t come without health consequences – his organs and muscles shrank too. While Matthew paced himself, his on-screen companion Jared Leto took even more drastic steps: he just stopped eating about three weeks befor shooting started.
The Air Diet: Madonna
Perhaps this diet is the silliest of them all. It’s so silly, in fact, that I thought it was a joke when I first heard about it. The idea behind the so-called Air Diet, promoted by Madonna among other stars, is to prepare some food, fill up a plate, pop it on your fork and hold it up to your mouth. You can’t eat it though, obviously, you just have to trick your body into thinking it’s going to eat something. My question: what happens to the food? Perhaps you need a hungry friend by your side at all times. Lucky dieters are allowed to exist on water and salt soup – yum – which quenches your thirst and is ‘full of minerals’. Is the world going mad?