Is your New Year’s resolution to “get healthy”? Welcome to the party.
According to data pulled from Google by digital marketing firm iQuanti, there were 62,776,640 searches around health-related New Year’s resolutions this year, up nearly 14 percent from last year. That’s a lot of people looking to press the reset button.
Celebrities have always been a go-to source for new diet ideas. After all, A-listers have access to arguably the best nutritionists on the planet—what they’re doing must be legit, right?
Not always. The reality is that a lot of celebrity health and diet fads are at best bunk, and at worst, straight-up unhealthy. So as New Year’s resolution season kicks into full gear, we turned to Caesar Djavaherian, M.D and founder of Direct Urgent Care (he’s also a Solv advisor), to get his professional opinion on some of the most popular celebrity diet fads du jour.
Fad: “Clean eating”
Reported devotees: Gwyneth Paltrow, Miranda Kerr, Jessica Alba
What it’s all about: Avoid all processed foods and eliminate refined sugar. You’re supposed to cook from scratch, only eating foods in their natural state. Gluten, grains, and dairy are no-no’s here, and a strictly raw food-diet is often encouraged,
“True, it’s a good idea to avoid foods that are processed. Humans haven’t been exposed to processed foods for very long and the ramifications of making them a large part of the diet are not yet fully understood. However, taking this view to an extreme by avoiding foods such as cheese and whole grains should be closely examined. Many cultures have successfully integrated these foods into their meals for centuries.”
Reported devotees: Kylie Jenner, Nicki Minaj
What it’s all about: Teatoxing (short for “tea-detoxing”) involves regularly drinking certain teas that contain ingredients like dandelion, nettle, and even the laxative, senna. These products claim to help detox the body, improve skin, reduce bloating, and help you lose weight.
“Tea has been around for millennia. So if there was a meaningful detoxifying regimen, people would have stumbled on it long ago. Using one food to cleanse the body is not only unnatural, there is no scientific backing for it.”
Fad: Green juicing
Reported devotees: Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Blake Lively
What it’s all about: Making green juices a diet staple in order to “detox” and manage weight.
“Juices, no matter what the color, contain concentrated calories that are easy to consume without triggering your body to feel full. These diets are only effective if people reduce their intake of refined sugars and other unhealthy foods in tandem.”
Fad: Diet pills
Reported devotee: Kim Kardashian
What it’s all about: Diet pills have been around for decades, and still have many hooked. Some promise to “melt” fat, keeping it from being absorbed by your body. Others claim to suppress your appetite or boost metabolism.
“Avoid these. Marketing, rather than science, has created the majority of diet pills. The ingredients used to bind fats is only marginally effective and can have significant gastrointestinal side effects.”
Fad: Apple cider vinegar
Reported devotee: Megan Fox
What it’s all about: Enthusiasts guzzle apple cider vinegar in an effort to lower blood sugar and help combat weight gain.
“Research supporting the health benefits of apple cider vinegar is thin. It’s been poorly performed with a very small sample size, so in the scientific community, it’s basically meaningless. Also, people with gastritis or who are concerned about tooth enamel integrity should avoid consuming too much apple cider vinegar generally.”
Fad: Avoiding “nightshade” vegetables
Reported devotees: Gisele Bündchen, Tom Brady
What it’s all about: According to the power couple’s personal chef, nightshade vegetables (such as eggplants, tomatoes, and peppers) can cause inflammation and aggravate joint pain and digestive issues.
“People have such different immune systems. I would say try this diet for four weeks and if you have less joint pain and fewer digestive issues, then stick to it.”
Fad: Intermittent Fasting
Reported devotee: Hugh Jackman
What it’s all about: The idea is to fast for 16 hours straight and then in the next 8 hour period, eat loads and loads of calories. It’s supposed to help with weight management.
“I don’t think humans evolved to do this. Overwhelming the liver and pancreas with tons of calories doesn’t sound healthy. Instead, the smaller, more frequent meal approach has been proven to be successful. One nuance is that skipping breakfast has been scientifically evaluated and did show greater weight loss as compared to skipping other meals, even when total calorie intake was the same.”
Fad: “Five Hands Meal Plan”
Reported Devotee: Victoria Beckham
What it’s all about: Instead of eating three larger meals a day, followers of this diet eat five smaller ones, consisting primarily of lean proteins (like small amounts of salmon, yellowfish tuna, and eggs). How small? It all has to fit into the palm of your hand,
“This sounds like a version of the Mediterranean Diet, which is the most-studied and scientifically-supported diet in the world. I say try this for yourself to see if it helps cravings. But stick to the good foods and avoid energy bars.”
Fad: Coconut oil
Reported devotee: Miranda Kerr
What it’s all about: The claim is that small amounts of unrefined coconut oil every day can help combat bloating and speed up digestion.
“Again, people have very different immune systems. If you try this for four weeks and notice fewer digestive issues, then go for it.”
Now, what’s your take? Have you tried one of these diets? Let us know by leaving a comment below!