It is no secret that celebrities can influence fashion and beauty trends, but their influence extends to diets, too. The moment a Hollywood A-lister utters anything about their eating habits, people rush to Google—and try that style of eating themselves. Alas, not all celebrity diets are recommended or healthful. See the five best and five worst weight loss plans of the rich and famous.
Divergent star Shailene Woodley has sung the praises of bentonite clay and its alleged “detoxifying” properties. The bentonite clay fad has now reached a point where some cold-pressed juice companies are adding it to drinks. Awful taste aside, remember that our bodies already detox via the lungs, kidneys, and liver. There are no benefits to eating clay—and some clay-based detox drinks may contain arsenic and lead.
Beyoncé used the Master Cleanse fast to slim down for the film Dreamgirls, but it’s a harsh way to lose weight. You subsist on a beverage made of warm water, lemon juice, cayenne pepper, and maple syrup for three to 10 days. Weight loss is simply due to caloric restriction, not any magical properties in the brew, which offers little nutrition. In fact, Gwyneth Paltrow says she suffered hallucinations when she tried Master Cleanse.
This diet, created by trainer-to-the-stars Tracy Anderson, has reportedly been tried by the likes of Jennifer Aniston and Lady Gaga. The gist of the 7-day eating plan? Eat jarred baby food for breakfast and lunch, followed by a low-calorie dinner. Anderson cites this as a way to “eliminate toxins”—a red flag because the body naturally expels toxins. This is nothing more than a short-term crash diet that is very low in calories and nutrients.
Endorsed by Nicole Polizzi (AKA “Snookie” of MTV’s “Jersey Shore”) this low-calorie and minimally nutritious plan requires you to eat six 90-calorie cookies and a small dinner every day. Not much in the way of building a healthy relationship with food here.
This high-protein, very-low-carb diet created by French doctor Pierre Dukan became popular after it was reported that British royal Kate Middleton was a fan. It’s really Atkins repackaged, though. You start off by limiting yourself to meats, eggs, and nonfat dairy. You’ll lose water weight, yes, but you miss out on fiber-rich foods like beans, legumes, and whole grains.
Penelope Cruz is a fan of this heart-healthy style of eating that prioritizes fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes, and heart-healthy fats like nuts and olive oil. The Mediterranean diet is not a strict regimen that thrives on deprivation. Savoring fresh, whole foods is one of its guiding principles.
VB6, the term popularized by food luminary Mark Bittman, encourages eating only vegan foods and meals until 6 p.m. This translates to a higher intake of fiber-rich, plant-based foods throughout the day. (Think walnut-topped oatmeal for breakfast rather than eggs and bacon.) Considering that the average American consumes only half of the daily recommended intake of fiber, that’s a win!
Pop icon Katy Perry is said to follow this eating plan by celebrity trainer Harley Pasternak. Each meal must contain one food from each of five groups: protein like egg whites, fish, and tofu; complex carbohydrates like sweet potatoes, beans, and quinoa; fiber from vegetables; healthy fats such as nuts; and unsweetened beverages.
Alicia Silverstone, Jared Leto, Jason Mraz, and Russell Simmons have adopted whole food, plant-based diets. These differ slightly from vegan diets in that they prioritize minimally processed foods like beans, nuts, seeds, whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. Processed items like vegan donuts are eschewed except as occasional treats.
Jennifer Hudson is undoubtedly the program’s most famous alumni. Weight Watchers assigns points to foods. Healthier, whole foods consume fewer of your daily points, while processed and high-calorie foods eat up more of your points. The program also offers weekly support groups and weigh-ins, which many people find encouraging and helpful.
See also: 18 Keys to Healthy Weight Loss.