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6 celebrity weight loss diets – the expert’s verdict

5 diets celebrities swear by jlo kelly kourtney halle main

Kelly Clarkson swears by one diet in particular. Could her holy-grail eating habits help you too? We spoke to dietitian Clare Thornton-Wood and Aisling Piggott  about current celebrity weight loss diets

#1 The Plant Paradox: no more lectins

What is it?

The Plant Paradox was created by Dr. Steven R. Gundry. It claims that lectins can cause many health problems such as weight gain, leaky gut, inflammation and thyroid issues.

Lectins are proteins that are common in 30% of foods, according to the International Journal of Nutrition and Food Sciences. Lectins are found in legumes, grains, some nuts, squash, zucchini, cucumbers, tomatoes, potatoes, peppers, eggplant, most fruits, dairy from grain-fed cows and more. All of these foods are expected to be eliminated by those on the Plant Paradox diet.

Foods without lectins are meats from grass-fed animals, some nuts, leafy greens, cauliflower, broccoli, brussels sprouts, fish, olive oil, coconut oil and others.

Who does it?

American Idol winner Kelly Clarkson swears by the Plant Paradox Diet. Clarkson was diagnosed with a thyroid condition and an autoimmune disorder. She decided to switch her eating habits for health reasons.

Clarkson eliminating lectins from her diet would hopefully solve her health complications.

How does it work?

Lectins are one of the defense mechanisms plants have to prevent people and animals from eating them.

The proteins can clump together and attach to some cells in your body. They can get in the way of the communication between cells, according to mindbodygreen. When cells lose communication, reactions such as inflammation, nausea, diarrhea, vomiting and others can occur.

Expert’s verdict

‘I think from a dietic perspective, this is a diet that tries to label foods as good as bad’, says dietician Aisling Pigott. ‘There isn’t any evidence that you should be cutting these foods out of your diet or that these foods are harmful. These diets are confusing for people trying to figure out what to eat’.

Pigott says lectins can be harmful in high volumes but are not harmful to the human body in the quantities we eat them in. There are small amounts of lentils in many things, there aren’t any real benefits in following this diet.

No one could actually benefit from this diet, says Pigott. We live in a world where people like things to be clear-cut. People like the idea of being told exactly what they can and cannot do, in this case, eat. Pigott says Clarkson’s results weren’t from this diet, but ultimately from the placebo effect.

#2 Intermittent fasting: how much longer until I can eat?

What is it?

There are different versions of fasting diets. On some, you eat normally some days of the week and drastically reduce your calories on other days, as in the 5:2 diet.  On others, such as that known as Intermittent Fasting, or IF you have fasting windows; periods of time during a typical day in which you stop eating. In the 16:8 version of IF you would stop eating at 8pm and then start again at noon the next day. In the 14:10 version, you might stop  eating at 7pm and start eating again at 9am. Get it?

5 celebrity weight loss diets these stars swear by-halle-berry-jlo-feature
Intermittent fasting involves alternating between eating and fasting
Who does it?

Keeping Up with the Kardashians star Kourtney Kardashian has also jumped on the keto diet train. She uses intermittent fasting as part of her routine.

Fasting puts your cells under a mild stress

Kardashian told The Daily Meal, ‘I wouldn’t eat past 7 p.m. at night and then I would wait to eat breakfast the next day until after my morning workout, which would be around 10:30 a.m. to 11 a.m’.

‘Once a week, she will fast for 24 hours, only eating bone broth, water and green tea,’ shared The Daily Meal.


How does it work?

Fasting puts your cells under a mild stress and scientists think that the process of responding to this stress strengthens cells’ ability to deal with stress and potentially fight off some diseases. It also believed that IF helps regulate blood sugar and appetite hormones and may also simply help you eat fewer calories because your ‘eating window’ is so limited.

Expert Verdict

‘Some research shows that intermittent fasting works – at least in the short term. In some studies, people who followed this diet did lose weight and also had a decrease in some of the markers that show inflammation’, says WebMD.

‘This diet seems to be an extreme form of the ketogenic diet and is likely to have the same side effects,’ said Thornton-Wood. ‘The weight loss is likely to be as a result of extreme calorie restriction, as there are fewer opportunities for eating given the long periods of fasting’.

Thornton-Wood said intermittent fasting may result result in vitamin and mineral deficiencies.

‘As with many extreme diets this does nothing to promote sustained healthier eating habits. A diet based on the ‘Eatwell Guide‘ is more sustainable and will result in gradual weight loss and long term changes in eating habits’, said Thornton-Wood, who was referring to the versions of the diets in which food is drastically reduced on some days.

However, when one of our editors Sharon Waker tried a specific type of 16:8 Intermittent Fasting for a month – she lost four kilograms and still hasn’t put it back on.  Read the story here.

#3 Greenprint Diet: 22 days to veganism

What is it?

Beyoncé’s trainer Marco Borges created the Greenprint Diet, a plant-based diet that can transform a meat eater into a vegan in just 22 days.

Who does it?

Beyoncé and Jay-Z have endorsed this diet and on January 31, Beyonce announced The Greenprint Project Sweepstakes. Feeling lucky? The grand prize is a pair of tickets for the winner and one guest to a Beyoncé and/or Jay-Z concert for up to 30 years. So I go vegan and see Beyonce live every year? Seems worth it to me.

How does it work?

The diet is split into three tiers. The first tier, ‘The gradual shift’, is the first 11 days of the diet and suggests eating one plant-based meal per day. Once you’re done with the first tier, you’re ready for tier 2, ‘The ramp up’. This tier consists of the next 11 days. During the second tier, you eat two plant-based meals per day.

After the first 22 days, you’re ready for tier three, ‘The full on’. It takes 21 days to create a habit. This tier is completely plant-based. By this point in the diet, one is supposed to be able to have plant-based meals for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Borges created 22 laws as part of this diet. All 22 laws are listed in his book, The Greenprint: Plant-Based diet, Best Body, Better World’. The laws include guidelines to think about during the diet such as ‘Nobody ever plans to fail—people just fail to plan’, ‘Love food that loves you back’, and ‘Perfection can be the enemy of progress’.

‘The Greenprint isn’t just about living a longer life, it’s about living a better life’, said Borges.

Expert verdict?

‘In essence this is a way to gradually move towards a vegan diet in the space of a few weeks. A vegan diet, if followed carefully, is sustainable and can be nutritionally balanced’, said Clare Thornton-Wood, Specialist Dietitian and British Dietetic Association media spokesperson.

‘Introducing veganism gradually means the body has time to get used to a different way of eating and potential gastric symptoms associated with a change in diet, in particular an increase in fibre can be minimized’. said Thornton-Wood.

‘The advantage of this diet is that at the end of the period you are left with a sustainable way of eating which is not a ‘quick fix’ and you could even decide to just be vegan for part of the time’, said Thornton Wood.

#4 Ketogenic diet: high protein, low carb

What is it?

The keto diet is all about eating healthy fats, high protein, few carbohydrates and avoiding sugars. Your body will then burn the fats instead of carbs – or so the theory goes – because you are in ketosis, which is the process of the body’s burning fat for fuel. You avoid carbs containing a lot of sugars and starches such as bread, pasta, rice and potatoes and some ketogenic diets limit or even cut out fruit because of its sugar content.

Who does it?

Halle Berry is 52 years old and looking fantastic. She swears by the ketogenic diet. According to the Diet Doctor, Berry uses the keto diet, ‘as a means to stay in top shape and keep her type 1 diabetes in check’.


Berry told Women’s Health Magazine that she fills her diet with healthy fats such as avocado, coconut oil, and butter.

Berry ‘previously insisted she wouldn’t put on a lot of weight for a movie role, because it could jeopardise her health’, according to Hello! magazine.

Following the ketogenic diet can be difficult for vegans and vegetarians since they won’t be consuming meat and/or animal products for protein, according to Thornton-Wood.

Avocados are a healthy fat to eat.
How does it work?

‘This is a high fat, moderate protein, low carbohydrate which can result in weight loss’, said Thornton-Wood, ‘As fats and proteins are digested slowly, it can alleviate the feelings of hunger associated with other diets. The diet cuts out many high calorie foods such as bread, cakes and biscuits and this in itself can be enough to begin to lose weight’.

Expert Verdict

‘Limiting carbohydrates means your body begins to burn fat for energy and this can have side effects’, says Thornton-Wood.

Thornton-Wood says some of those side effects could be bad breath, constipation, nausea and lack of energy. She also said that restricting food groups like carbohydrates is likely to result in vitamin and mineral deficiencies.

#5 Juicing: liquid fruits and veggies

What is it?

A juice fast is a period of time when you only drink juices or sometimes other clear liquids, like water and tea. Mostly though, the juices you consume will be made from fruit and vegetables.

Who does it?

‘A few years ago, I had a juice that changed it all for me—a mix that’s better than any po-boy you’ll ever eat’, said actress Blake Lively in Eric Helm’s book The Juice Generation: 100 Recipes For Fresh Juices And Superfood Smoothies.


Lively’s favorite recipe is featured in Helm’s book. It includes 240ml of kale, 2 leaves swiss chard, half a small beet, 120ml pineapple, 2 medium apples, 1 sprig fresh mint and a half peeled lemon

How does it work?

According to Harvard Health Publishing, ‘Drinking fresh juices you’ve made at home can help you squeeze more fresh fruits and vegetables into your diet and increase your intake of healthy antioxidants, soluble fiber, vitamins and minerals.

‘One extra serving a day of juice may be associated with an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes in women…Excessive intake of juice may cause weight gain and be dangerous for people with diabetes because juice is a concentrated source of calories and sugar’.

Although it is adding healthy things to your diet, juicing requires removing the skin of the fruit or vegetable, which also contains healthy antioxidants, soluble fibre, vitamins and minerals.

By removing the skin, you’re not eating the whole fruit or vegetable.

Expert verdict

‘Following a juice diet is a ‘quick fix’ and not sustainable as a long term way of eating. Juice diets are promoted as a way of detoxing the body but this is not required; the body has its own very intricate mechanisms using the liver and kidneys to achieve this very efficiently without dietary restrictions,’ said Thornton-Wood.

Thornton-Wood says it’s okay to consume juice in your diet, but limit to 150ml per day. When you consume your fruits and veggies via juice, you’re removing the fibre.

Folllowing a juice diet for any more than a few days will result in not meeting your nutritional requirements, the diet will be low in protein, omega 3 and 6 and it may be more difficult to absorb fat soluble vitamins due to a lack of fat in the diet, says Thornton-Wood.

According to Thornton-Wood, juicing results in sugars being absorbed into the bloodstream and this can be dangerous for people who have diabetes. ‘This diet does nothing to change eating habits in the long term and so when stopped the pounds are likely to pile back on,’ she said.

Carrot juice

#6 10 day no sugar, no carb challenge: are you ready?

What is it?

This started with actress and singer Jennifer Lopez, J. Lo, and her boyfriend, Alex Rodriguez, A. Rod challenging each other and themselves to not eat any carbs or any sugars for ten days- that means no fruit either people. They later opened up the challenge to anyone who was up for joining them.

Who does it?

J. Lo and A. Rod challenged themselves to ten days of no carbs and no sugars. The couple said it was not easy but they powered through and finished.

J.Lo posted on Instagram that the challenge was beginning to feel lonely and encouraged her followers to join her for 10 days of no carbs and no sugars.

She is taking a few days off but has hinted on Instagram that she and A. Rod may go for round two.

J.Lo posted on her Instagram story that some of her go-to snacks during the challenge were cucumbers, red peppers, yellow peppers, tuna poke and sugar free jelly.

5 celebrity weight loss diets these stars swear by jlo instagram story in text.png
Image via Instagram story @jlo

Hoda Kotb, co-anchor of the NBC News morning show ‘Today’, is also doing the challenge. Nutritionist Joy Bauer helped Hoda create a meal plan specifically for the challenge.

How does it work?

‘Avoiding carbohydrates to this extent cuts out all fruits and starchy vegetables and will result in vitamin deficiencies. It would be difficult and indeed unwise to follow this for any length of time and as there are no changes to the overall eating pattern, the weight is likely to go straight back on’, said Thornton-Wood.

Expert Verdict

‘This is a very restrictive diet and does nothing to re-educate people on a healthy balanced diet,’ said Thornton-Wood. ‘Such a restrictive diet is likely to result in very low energy levels, we need a certain amount of carbohydrates to provide a sustained release of energy’.

Other Healthista content:

30 day transformation using a low calorie diet

6 Victoria’s Secret models’ diet and workout secrets

The mood food diet – 7 days of recipes to make you happier

10 ways to lose weight without dieting (clue: it starts in your head)

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