• Wendy Ballard

What are the top 5 worst celeb diets to avoid this summer?

As dietitians we are faced with an unprecedented number of fad diets that claim the impossible. Here are the top 5 diets endorsed by celebrities that you should avoid and why.

1. Drinking your own pee…….yes you heard me correctly

Or also known as a ‘cleansing, immune boosting, energy driving, nutrient rich drink’ Although drinking fluid is good for you, I would draw the line at drinking your own urine. Your pee is what your kidneys filter your blood to remove; toxins. Your body excretes this waste as urine. Quite how drinking this is meant to be ‘cleansing or immune boosting’ remains to be scientifically proven. Alternatively, consider this; if you have a bladder or urine infection drinking your own wee could put you at risk of further infection.

My verdict, currently there is no scientifically reliable evidence to say that these claims are true. Personally, the evidence would have to from a very high quality study to convince to drink my own wee.

Glass of pee anyone?

2. Blood type diets

So, this diet is all about eating certain foods to match your blood type. Before you embark on this diet you will need to find out what you blood type is. Not everyone knows this and therefore you will have to make an appointment with your GP to find this information out. Not a good use of NHS resources especially when there is no scientific evidence to prove that this diet works.

There are different variations to this diet, here is an example of one such diet:

Blood group A – No dairy products, alongside a vegetarian based diet.

Blood group B - A more varied intake (varied to what exactly? More varied to that in group A?)

Blood group AB – Combination of diets A and B (now I am confused would… this not constitute a normal healthy diet?)

Clearly a vegetarian blood sample

Blood group O - High protein intake, no dairy, no wheat, no alcohol or caffeine (definitely the short straw).

On top of this you are advised to take various supplements and herbal remedies along with exercise.

Having different blood groups does not alter the physiology of the metabolism of fats, protein, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals. The basics of metabolism is the same regardless on your blood type so quite what this is trying to suggest I am unsure. Also, just because you are a certain blood type does not mean that you suddenly cannot digest dairy foods. No diet is reliable or trustworthy if it is advising you to eliminate a whole food groups.

Weight loss ……if any weight loss is achieved it is probably due to the unnecessary restriction of food groups. I would also anticipate that blood group O would probably have a higher weight loss due to the abstinence of alcohol!

Overall, potentially, this diet could leave you with long term problems such as osteoporosis and therefore is not recommended.

3. Alkaline water

This is about drinking water that has a higher pH than tap water as it contains alkalising compounds including calcium, silica, potassium, magnesium and bicarbonate. Some people believe that alkaline water helps our bodies to metabolise nutrients and expel toxins more efficiently than regular tap water producing better health and performance, whilst others believe that an alkaline diet reduces the acidity of your blood which they believe is not good for you.

You don’t have to be a rocket scientist or indeed any scientist to know that water is an important ingredient for us to keep hydrated. Our bodies are mostly made up of water so it makes sense that we need it to survive. Do we need these expensive waters? In one word, no. The celebrities who endorse these really do have more money than sense. Tap water is at the correct pH and is free. The body has varying levels of pH in different systems for example the pH of your stomach is between 2 and 3 which is very acidic. It is like this so that it kills bacteria entering the gut and protects you from infection. Your blood has a different pH and your intestine is different again. There are reasons for this and changing this can result in ill health. Leave it to your body to self -regulate itself. When tested with a pH strip the results are interesting; they come out as a pH of 7.0 or 7.5 at a push. Another marketing ploy I would say.

4. Detox teas and skinny coffees

These drinks are always coming into the detox/slimming phenomenon. Usually promoted by a slim attractive celebrity or wellness blogger with no nutritional qualifications and who claim that if you drink them regularly you will look like them in a ridiculously limited number of weeks. Sorry, to break the bad news… it is going to take more than a tea or a skinny coffee for that to happen. Watch out for these, they are a clever marketing ploy and will not give you the results you’re looking for. One thing that will definitely happen is your wallet will slimmer than you if you go down this route. Many of the drinks contain herbs that are not even evidenced to promoting weight loss.

The reality is there is no magic drink and if there was we would probably not be looking at the fact that the majority of the UK is overweight or obese if it was that easy. These drinks are mainly targeted at the younger generation and this population group are less likely to need to lose weight. Be smart about what you buy. My advice if you don’t want to drink the usual tea and coffee… buy a herbal tea instead. They are cheaper and they will help keep you hydrated.

1. Slimming sachets

I saved the worst till last.

This is how they work. These are promoted by a celebrity model who has apparently turned into a nutritional therapist. This celebrity promotes the products on her website selling a range of products. The main product is packaged for weight loss and costs £100 for 1 month’s supply and apparently is taken by certain members of the royal family.

Once you have handed over your hard earned cash you will receive a box containing glucomannan powder, which is a bulk forming fibre. The idea is that you make this up into a drink and you take it 3 times per day before your meals. Once it is taken it is meant to suppress hunger. There are also detox capsules and digestive enzymes which are taken alongside the drinks. The packaging claims ‘these bio-intense formulations provide your complete daily dose of nutrition’; a worrying claim as each sachet only provides 12 calories. 3 of these is hardly going to meet your calorie requirement for the day.

This deserves sceptism. Anyone or anything selling supplements that promises these miraculous results are out only for their own financial gain at your expense. Problem is, once you have decided that you don’t want to spend a £100 per month on this product and you return to your normal eating patterns what weight you have lost will go back on quicker than you can say weight loss.

The reality is with this diet is that each fibre drink provides less fibre than you could get from a slice of wholemeal bread. Glucomannan is a bulk forming laxative, which means if you don’t need a laxative you are likely to have some unpleasant side effects such as diarrhoea, bloating and wind!! NICE!! On a more serious note, I would not advise anyone with diabetes to trial this product as potentially it could be dangerous, so please do not be fooled with their claim of ‘balancing blood sugars’.

So, there you have it, the worst 5 celeb diets that I have found and that are also commented on by the British Dietetic Association. Where you see a celebrity endorsing a diet, they are selling you a promise that they cannot keep and you will only realise this when you are parted with your hard earned cash. You don’t have to spend money to lose weight, but you do have to expend some hard work, show some determination and have will power. Be healthy by eating healthy foods, watching your portion sizes and doing regular exercise.

Watch out for my next blog... Portion Distortion: Does size matter?

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