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Celebrity diets to avoid in 2014

WebMD UK Health News
Medically Reviewed by Dr Sheena Meredith

25th November 2013 – If you're already thinking your New Year resolution is to lose weight here are some diets to avoid.

Every year the British Dietetic Association (BDA) names the celebrity diets which have generated the most media attention in the last 12 months and which should be bypassed, for the sake of your health.

In the previous 3 years, the Dukan Diet has come out as number one, but this year, a brand new entry, the Breatharian Diet, has taken the top slot.

1. Breatharian diet

Michelle Pfeiffer has reportedly revealed she believes she was involved in a cult that followed the Breatharian Diet. It's similar to Madonna’s alleged Air diet, when you pretend to eat the food on the plate and fill up by gulping air.

Individuals who follow the Breatharian diet believe that they do not need to eat food, or drink any liquids, because they can achieve sustenance from air and/or sunlight alone.

BDA verdict: "You cannot live on fresh air alone. We cannot stress enough that people should NOT even consider following this diet. There is nothing good to say about the Breatharian diet. You would lose weight but this would also be accompanied by dehydration, malnutrition and risk of death!"

2. Biotyping

Another new entry. Boy George reportedly attributed his weight loss to this diet.

The diet aims for ‘site-specific’ body fat reduction by balancing hormones. By choosing only certain foods, adding a training programme and taking supplements the promise is it will ‘spot reduce’ fat.

BDA verdict: "This diet relies too heavily on supplements and pseudo-science with only a selective grain of robust science (that hormones are involved in fat metabolism) and does not even mention visceral fat (internal fatty tissue). Many people will lose weight on this type of approach because it restricts certain foods and calorie intake and involves physical activity."

3. Gluten-free diet

Gwyneth Paltrow allegedly advocates this diet.

It involves cutting out gluten, the protein found in wheat, barley rye and oats.

BDA verdict: "Whilst important for those with coeliac disease or gluten sensitivity, there is no credible published research showing that a gluten-free diet leads to weight loss in other people. Many foods that contain gluten, like breaded products, pastries, cakes and biscuits, are high in calories, so by avoiding them, many lose weight. However, a word of caution, gluten-free does not mean calorie free and it's not true that people on this diet can eat as much as they like of gluten-free substitutes like biscuits, sausages and beer."

4. Alcorexia/Drunkorexia diet

A non-mover, as it was last year's number 4. It is widely thought that many top models follow this ‘diet’.

It involves following a very low calorie diet (VLC) during the day/week and ‘banking’ ‘saved’ calories in order to binge-drink alcohol, which is high in calories, over the weekend.

BDA verdict: "Following a VLC diet alone is madness, as you will most certainly not be getting the calories, vitamins and nutrients your body needs to survive and function. Not only that, but by the end of the week when you're tired and weak, you then subject your body to an onslaught of alcohol. This is a worrying ‘diet’ that could end up causing immense damage to the body."

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