Whether they want to score a film role, slim down for a red-carpet bash or lose baby weight, celebrities will try just about any "revolutionary" new diet strategy to slim down. Here, we give the lowdown on five diets Hollywood types have been going ga-ga over.
Diet: 5-Factor Diet
The gist: Devised by celebrity trainer Harley Pasternak, the five-week plan involves eating five meals daily, using five ingredients per meal (including protein, good fat, healthy carbs, fibre, and a sugar-free beverage). Dieters must also complete 25-minute workouts, five times weekly, but one "cheat day" per week (when you can eat whatever you want) is allowed.
Who's allegedly been on it: Jessica Simpson, Alicia Keyes, Kanye West, Eva Mendez.
Sustainability: "Fad diets encourage short-term changes in eating behaviour rather than changes that can be sustained long-term," says dietician Melanie Marino. "As a result, weight lost is often regained." The emphasis on exercise is a plus for this diet, but "there's no evidence to show 'cheating' is the key to helping people stick to diets or lose weight," says Marino. "Also, realistically trying to cook and eat five meals daily would be challenging and unsustainable for most."
Diet: The Maple Syrup Diet (also known as the Master Cleanse or Lemon Detox)
The gist: Created by US naturopath Stanley Burroughs, this hardcore weight-loss strategy involves drinking a mixture of water, maple syrup, lemon juice and cayenne pepper for around 10 days no food allowed.
Who's allegedly been on it: Beyonce Knowles, Ashanti.
Sustainability: After losing nine kilograms over a fortnight on this diet, Beyonce said, "It was tough; everyone was eating and I was dying. After that I ate waffles, fried chicken, cheeseburgers, French fries," and regained five kilograms. If that's not enough to put you off, "this diet is nutritionally inadequate, which presents a variety of side effects," says Marino (cue headaches and fatigue). "Also, when little food is eaten, the body breaks down muscle not fat to meet energy needs, and starvation causes the body's metabolism to slow down. You're basically dieting yourself fatter!"
Diet: Dr Joshi's Holistic Detox Diet
The gist: In this 21-day detox designed to flush out toxins, dieters must avoid a strict list of foods including red meat, dairy, most fruit, wheat, gluten and yeast, alcohol, nuts, potatoes, spreads, coffee and non-herbal tea, sugar, chocolate and sweets, and artificially produced flavourings, such as ketchup. What's left? Drinking two litres of water daily, and chewing food eight to 12 times before swallowing. The result: a "reprogrammed" palate, so you no longer crave "bad" foods.
Who's allegedly been on it: Gwyneth Paltrow, Cate Blanchett and Kate Moss.
Sustainability: Dr Joshi warns dieters may experience headaches, stomach pains, nausea and fatigue during the first 48 hours, which is the first sign this diet is unbalanced and tricky to sustain. "By eliminating entire food groups, people miss out on important nutrients," says Marino. And don't expect to be invited to any dinner parties you'll be a caterer's worst nightmare.
Diet: The Hampton's Diet
The gist: A hybrid of two diets, (Atkins and Mediterranean) The Hampton's Diet requires dieters to swap processed foods and carbs for vegetables, fish, omega-3 fatty acids, lean meats, nuts, whole grains, low-sugar fruits, and consume fats in monounsaturated form (such as macadamia nut oil). The book introduces specialised food pyramids to help dieters make wise meal choices, and author/physician Dr Fred Pescatore says followers can look forward to losing over six kilograms in a fortnight.
Who's allegedly been on it: Sarah Jessica Parker, Renee Zellweger.
Sustainability: "Carbohydrate restriction is linked to an array of adverse health affects, including fatigue, dizziness, headaches, and even depression," says Marino. "Sticking to whole foods and avoiding excess sugar and transfat is beneficial, but the key to losing weight (at a healthy rate of 0.5-1kj per week) is reducing your kilojoule intake, not cutting carbs or embracing macadamia oil."
Diet: The 3-Hour Diet
The gist: Created by US health expert (and former fatty) Jorge Cruise, 3-hour Dieters must eat you guessed it every three hours (six meals daily). Cruise recommends dieters "visualise" their meals to include a Rubik's-cube sized portion of carbs at breakfast, lunch and dinner, and a deck of playing cards-sized portion of protein, a water bottle cap-sized portion of fat and a stack of three DVD's-sized portion of fruit and vegetables at each meal. It's claimed eating three-hourly stabilises our blood sugar, which controls our appetite (preventing overeating).
Who's allegedly been on it: Jessica Biel, Angelina Jolie, Lucy Liu and Jennifer Lopez.
Sustainability: "While portion control is important, the jury is out as to whether eating frequently throughout the day aids weight loss," says Marino. And if you find it difficult to keep track of taking a contraceptive pill, imaging having to remember to eat every three hours!
The ultimatum: If there was one diet that truly worked we'd all be on it. "It's important that people recognise fad diets such as these, and steer clear," says Marino. "Efforts to lose weight should incorporate healthy lifestyle changes (think: eating less, exercising more) that can be sustained for the long haul."