The Celebrity Diagnosis Guide to Diets and Weight Loss 2012

It’s that time again!  Many of us are already planning our New Year’s resolution to lose weight and get back in shape.

Which diet are you tempted to try in 2012?

The Big 3

As if you hadn’t noticed, there’s the annual media storm of celebrity spokespeople touting the diet plan that helped them lose weight. This year’s group include:

Janet Jackson for Nutrisystem

  • Also used by Tracy Morgan, Marie Osmond, Terry Bradshaw, Dan Marino.
  • Nutrisystem is a prepackaged, low calorie diet. Food is shipped to you. You provide fresh produce.
  • Support is through online community chat rooms and counselors and dieticians available by phone or online.

 

Mariah Carey for Jenny Craig

  • Also used by Carrie Fisher, Valerie Bertinelli, Sara Rue.
  • Jenny Craig, like Nutrisystem, has  portion controlled, prepackaged foods which you supplement with fresh produce.
  • Support can come online, or at local Jenny Craig centers.

 

Charles Barkley for Weight Watchers

  • Also used by Jennifer Hudson, Jenny McCarthy, Sarah Ferguson.
  • Diet based on a points system. Points are based on the nutritional characteristics of the food. Healthier choices have lower points values.
  • Although they have a food product line, Smart Ones, use of their products is not required to follow the diet.
  • Support is through weekly local meetings, or online chat rooms.

 

The Dukan Diet

This year’s fad diet is the Dukan Diet, which became popular when it was rumored that Kate and Pippa Middleton (and their mum, Carol) used the diet to prepare for the Royal Wedding.

The Dukan method is a high protein, low fat, low carb diet. It consists of 4 phases.

  • Phase 1, The Attack diet,  starts with protein only.
  • Phase 2, The Cruise diet later alternates days of protein with days of protein and vegetables.
  • Phase 3, called the Consolidation diet, “gradually returns previously forbidden foods and allows for two ‘celebration” meals per week”.
  • The last, Phase 4, is a life-long Stabilization diet of using what you learned in the first 3 phases. There are also 3 “non-negotiable” requirements:
    1. Consume 3 Tablespoons of oat bran per day.
    2. Choose to take the stairs whenever possible.
    3. Have a pure-protein Thursday, i.e. Attack Phase menu.

The British Dietary Association has blasted the Dukan Diet as one of the worst of the year, calling it “ineffective and without scientific basis.” Our own research confirmed that there is no scientific evidence to support Dr. Dukan’s beliefs and recommendations. Le Journal des Femmes Sante surveyed diet followers and found that, despite rapidly losing weight initially, the vast majority regained all the weight they had lost within the next few years.

The Blood Type Diet

This diet,  devised in the mid-1990s by American naturopathic physician Dr. Peter J D’Adamo, is outlined in his book Eat Right 4 Your Type. Celebrity proponents include Miranda Kerr, Demi Moore, Liz Hurley, Courtney Cox and Cheryl Cole.

The premise of this diet is that the kinds of foods you should eat (or avoid) is dependent upon your blood type. Exercise is tailored according to blood type as well.

Dr. D’Adamo divides dieters into 4 groups according to their blood type:

  1. Type O: thrive on a carnivorous diet of lean red meats and benefit from rigorous exercise.
  2. Type A: the first human cultivators, do well to avoid animal proteins and are at their best on a macrobiotic diet. Due to their naturally high-strung dispositions they benefit from relaxing forms of exercise such as yoga and tai chi.
  3. Type B: had a nomadic lifestyle. Due to this they are the most versatile of all blood groups and should adhere to a balanced diet and moderate group exercise.
  4. Type AB: the rarest and youngest blood type, have benefits and intolerances from both A and B blood groups. They should follow a light exercise regime similar to type As.

Is there any merit to this theory? None, whatsoever!
“I know of no plausible rationale behind the diet,” says John Foreyt, PhD, a researcher at the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston.

Katherine Tallmadge, M.A., R.D.,  a spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association, goes on to say:

There’s no scientific proof that eating and exercising according to your blood type will help you lose weight. If you follow the diet and do lose weight, it’s probably because you’re eating fewer calories, not because there’s something magical going on with your blood type and the foods you’re eating.

More recently, Dr. D’Adamo has re-invented his approach and is now basing his recommendations on six “GenoTypes” (Hunter, Gatherer, Explorer, Teacher, Warrior, Nomad) rather than four blood types. As with the Blood Type Diet, there is no scientific rationale behind these beliefs and dietary recommendations.

What Role does Cleanse and Detox Play?

Bowel cleansing and detox has touted by celebrities such as Gwyneth Paltrow, Blair Underwood, Ashton Kutcher and Demi Moore (pre-split, of course).

The program, designed by detox specialist, Dr. Alejandro Junger, consists of two liquid, and one solid meal a day. The solid meal must be without processed foods, dairy and sugar.

Detox (short for detoxification) diets usually consist of a variable period of altered diet. This diet is high in fluids, high in fruits and vegetables, and eliminates alcohol, caffeine, and processed foods. Colonic cleansing (enemas to remove fecal material from the colon) are frequently included as well. Some diets also include special herbs or supplements which are supposed to enhance toxin removal.

“But the science behind the detox theory is deeply flawed”, says Peter Pressman, MD, an internal medicine specialist at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. “The body already has multiple systems in place — including the liver, kidneys, and gastrointestinal tract — that do a perfectly good job of eliminating toxins from the body within hours of consumption.”

Many individuals will have weight loss from these diets (mostly because they are low in calories), but it is usually due to a loss of fluids and some muscle, and not fat loss, and therefore the weight loss is temporary. As international expert on alternative medicine, Dr. Edzard Ernst, has said:

The only part of you that cleansing and detox will make lighter is your wallet.

So where do you go from here?

Don’t believe the marketing hype or blindly accept celebrity endorsements. Do your own research, talk to your doctor, friends, family and social networks before you decide.  Read our story on Food Addiction and Cheesecake-Eating Rats, consider filling out the Yale Food Addiction Survey (there’s a link in our article), and discuss it all with your doctor.

Personally, we believe that achieving and maintaining a healthy weight is about 70% diet and 30% exercise and that the old “calories in, calories out” formula is too simplistic. It’s not only about the total number of calories we eat, it’s more about the types of food, our eating patterns and personal accountability, to ourselves and our friends and loved ones.

In fact, to make it easier to track and change and be accountable for your eating habits, we co-invented PhotoCalorie, a unique smart phone visual diet journal. PhotoCalorie is currently being considered for use in diet research and childhood obesity clinics.  Give it a try and let us know what you think.

 

 

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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