Matthew Morrison sweet on potatoes as secret to ripped abs?

Matthew Morrison, more commonly known to fans as glee club teacher Will Schuester on the megahit Glee, was featured as the cover article for Detail magazine. In it, he describes how he prepares for a photo shoot with a 3-day diet of only sweet potatoes:

“My trainer said eat nothing apart from sweet potato and very little water.The potato acts as a sponge and your body literally shrinks and gets ripped and tight. Afterwards I ordered two pizzas and pasta!”

This seems to be the quote that has been plastered all over the internet- 3 days of sweet potatoes… and poof! You’re ripped! However, if you actually look at the article you will find what else is in Morrison’s diet and fitness routine:

  • Cardio- five days a week: cycling about 100 miles and running about 25 miles/week. During downtime on the set he works with a video workout called “:08 min. Abs.”
  • One muscle a day: Does weight training on a different part of his body each day for about 20 minutes and he does resistance training four times a week.
  • He’s a paddleboard enthusiast- getting out on his board as often as he can.
  • He follows a strict diet, and limits even traditionally healthy snacks, such as nuts. He also has eliminated eating fruit after dark.

This doesn’t doesn’t even include the fact that he and his fellow Glee actors work 15 hour days, some portion of which is spent dancing!

But let’s get back to the sweet potato. Hasn’t it been called one of the most nutritious vegetables? Yes, there are definitely some good things about sweet potatoes. They are moderate in calories, fat-free, full of fiber (as much as a bowl of oatmeal), and low in sodium. An average medium sized potato has about 130 calories. They also contain carotenoids such as carotene, which give them their orange color. Carotenoids are believed to have antioxidant properties and may also help stabilize blood sugar levels and lower insulin resistance. They are also a good source of Vitamin A, which is important for color vision and plays an important role as a hormone-like growth factor for epithelial and other kinds of cells.

But, getting back to Morrison. Even if he ate 10 sweet potatoes a day, that would only give him 1300 calories a day, much less than what is required to sustain his muscular six foot tall frame. If you limit fluid intake while on this semi-starvation diet, it is no wonder that there is a short term weight loss. Most of it is water weight, which comes right back when he resumes his regular diet after a photo shoot.

Mr. Morrison obviously puts a lot of effort into maintaining a healthy diet and exercise routine. It seems to me that the media should spend more time talking about that part of the equation versus spotlighting the quick fix at the end. Do you agree?

This article sponsored by:

Picture your Diet

Michele R. Berman, M.D. was Clinical Director of The Pediatric Center, a private practice on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. from 1988-2000, and was named Outstanding Washington Physician by Washingtonian Magazine in 1999. She was a medical internet pioneer having established one of the first medical practice websites in 1997. Dr. Berman also authored a monthly column for Washington Parent Magazine.

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