Most celebrities tend to hear about the latest and greatest diets before the rest of us do, and by the time we catch on, they’re already onto the next thing. Although some of the diets definitely qualify as fads, others simply employ healthy eating principles we can all adopt.
But at what cost? Sure, there’s the high-priced food delivery services, personal chefs, and thousand-dollar grocery bills, but many celebs follow surprisingly simple – if sometimes strange – diets like the Master Cleanse diet once adopted by Beyonce and the apple cider vinegar diet Megan Fox is said to endorse.
Here’s a look at some of the most popular diets celebrities adopt. Can you afford to eat like a celebrity? Read on to find out.
1. Raw Food Diet
It’s reported that celebrities like Demi Moore, Uma Thurman and even Bill Clinton follow this diet, which forbids cooking foods above 115 degrees Fahrenheit. The theory is that beneficial enzymes are destroyed during the cooking process, so it’s best to eat food as close to its natural state as possible. Raw food dieters eat fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds and other uncooked whole foods.
Data published in the Annals of Nutrition and Metabolism showed that 500 people who followed a raw food diet for nearly four years lost weight, most likely due to reduced calorie consumption. This research suggests that if you follow a raw food diet to the letter, you will most likely lose weight, too.
Opponents of the diet say a 100 percent raw food diet can stress the digestive system. In the same vein, embarking on a raw food diet can also stress your pocketbook. Buying the accessories needed to adhere to the diet – like blenders and dehydrators – can cost several hundreds of dollars. Add that to the price of purchasing organic, high-quality fruits, vegetables and other raw products and, though healthy, this diet can get costly.
2. Master Cleanse Diet
Also widely known as the "lemonade diet" or “maple syrup diet,” the Master Cleanse reportedly once attracted celebrities like Beyonce Knowles and Jared Leto. Promising to detox the body and eliminate junk food cravings, this diet consists of drinking up to 10 glasses of a water, lemon juice, maple syrup, and cayenne pepper mix a day. Dieters then supplement the regimen with a glass of salt water in the morning and a laxative tea at night.
As you’d expect from a diet comprised of nothing but liquids, the Master Cleanse results in rapid weight loss. But not surprisingly, it’s not sustainable as the diet lacks the nutrients our bodies — and brains — need to function. Not to mention, juice cleanses reportedly slow your metabolism, which is the opposite of helping you lose weight.
It can get pricey to drink your food if you buy a Master Cleanse kit, which range in price from $60 to $150. Otherwise, the basic ingredients needed to make the drink — like lemons and maple syrup — are pretty inexpensive.
3. Paleo Diet
Who among us has not tried paleo (short for paleolithic) at one time or another? Now a mainstream diet — reportedly followed by celebrities including Matthew McConaughey and, most recently, NBA star Lebron James — the paleo diet centers around foods our ancestors hunted, fished, or gathered. In that spirit, paleo proponents eat a lot of meat, poultry, fish, eggs, vegetables and fruits. What isn’t allowed? Dairy, grains and sugar.
James visibly slimmed down on the paleo diet, and U.S, News & World Report cited a small study that found 14 participants lost about five pounds after three weeks going paleo. However, many experts claim there’s not enough science to back up the weight loss and health benefits of the diet, with the absence of nutrients from dairy and grains of primary concern.
The paleo diet isn’t cheap, either. Having to buy the grass-fed beef, free-range chicken and organic produce the diet requires can get expensive. According to Robb Wolf, biochemist and bestselling author of "The Paleo Solution," grass-fed beef alone costs $4 a pound, and organic chicken on sale is about $1.39 a pound. If you eat 25 pounds of meat and poultry a week — completely doable on the paleo diet — you’re spending at the very least $80 per week on animal protein alone.
4. 7-Day Color Diet
According to Cosmopolitan Magazine, Christina Aguilera follows this diet that limits food choices to one color a day. You heard that right: a diet based on color. Day one, you eat all white fruits and vegetables. Day two, all red, then the next day green and so on. Each color represents the nutrients your body needs to achieve optimum health. Based on the book of the same name by author and artist Mindy Weisel, the 7-Day Color diet leads to weight loss if you stick to fruits and vegetables for a week, but add in mashed potatoes and pasta, and you’re out of luck.
As for costs, assume you’ll spend about as much on this diet as you already do on groceries, maybe a little more because the diet encourages you to eat five to nine servings of fruits and vegetables a day. Still, according to the USDA, the average adult could meet the recommended allowance of fruit and vegetables for $2 to $2.50 a day. You might even save some cash because you’re not buying expensive meats. The highest price you’ll probably pay is the boredom of only eating one color of food for an entire day.
5. Ancient Grains Diet
Angelina Jolie reportedly follows the ancient grains diet, enjoying meals of nothing but grains and seeds. This diet encourages consumption of “historical” grains grown for thousands of years by ancient civilizations like the Maya and Aztecs. Said to contain more fiber and nutritional value than the genetically modified and refined grains of today, ancient grains include recently popular options such as quinoa, amaranth, chia seeds, spelt, faro and buckwheat. Another plus to this diet is that several ancient grains are gluten-free.
Proponents of ancient grains credit the diet for beauty boosts like glowing skin and shiny, healthy hair. They also say choosing unrefined ancient grains may reduce the risk of Type 2 Diabetes and cardiovascular disease. No one really seems to disagree over the health benefits of ancient grains, as long as they’re incorporated into a balanced diet. Like with any well-rounded eating regimen, if calories are kept in check and exercise added, weight loss usually follows.
Ancient grains can cost more than the more typical rice, corn and wheat staples. Quinoa, for instance, costs between $4.50 and $8 a pound, compared to 70 cents per pound for rice. Purchasing from higher-end specialty markets and health food stores can increase the cost, but more and more mainstream grocery stores are carrying ancient grains at affordable prices.
6. Dukan Diet
When the likes of Jennifer Lopez rave about a diet, people listen. That was reportedly the case with the Dukan diet, nicknamed “the French Atkins.” Created by French physician Pierre Dukan, the diet consists of four phases, with the first instructing its devotees to eat only lean protein and oat bran, plus drink eight glasses of water a day. Subsequent phases add more foods like cheese and bread to the rotation.
Dukan claims followers will lose up to 10 pounds the first week, and then continue losing two to four pounds a week until they hit goal weight. According to U.S. News & Health Report, clinical trials haven’t been conducted on the Dukan diet, but an online survey of 1,525 dieters found an average weight loss of 15.7 pounds after the first two phases.
Both your willpower and wallet will be impacted on the Dukan diet. The Dukan diet book sells for $26, and the ingredients and quantities needed for the diet’s mainstays – animal protein, vegetables and dairy items – can add up to a pretty hefty grocery bill.
7. Zone Diet
Jennifer Aniston famously followed the Zone diet, which focuses on a balanced menu of fat, protein and carbs to stabilize hormones and blood sugar. Zone dieters eat three squares a day and two snacks, with each meal containing 40 percent carbs, 30 percent protein, and 30 percent healthy fat. Developed by biochemist Barry Sears, the Zone diet recommends women consume no more than 1,200 calories a day, and men keep calorie counts to 1,500.
Eat the Zone way and fans say you’ll lose about 1-2 pounds a week, most likely due to the lower daily calorie allotment. Some research suggests the diet brings down cholesterol levels, but very little data backs up the fact that the Zone is an effective weight loss method.
If you choose to go the way of the Zone, the books and food will cost you. Barry Sears’ "Enter The Zone" book is priced at about $23 to $27 and his other books are available starting from $13.99. If you have Zone diet food delivered, you’ll pay upwards of $180 for two weeks of meals including breakfast, lunch, dinner and two snacks.
8. Apple Cider Vinegar Diet
According to E! Online, Megan Fox and Miranda Kerr have been hot on the apple cider vinegar trail for years. The “diet” involves taking a teaspoon or two of apple cider vinegar before meals and adding the tart liquid to meals like salad. Touted as a tonic that cleanses the system and accelerates metabolism, there’s actually very little research that backs up these claims. Although Prevention Magazine referred to a 2009 study where Japanese researchers found that a daily dose of apple cider vinegar resulted in modest weight loss after 12 weeks in 175 people, other experts including Mayo Clinic’s Katherine Zeratsky, say weight loss from the apple vider vinegar diet “isn’t likely.” Many also point out diet risks like lowered potassium levels and eroded tooth enamel.
If you embark on the apple cider vinegar diet, it’s recommended you heavily dilute the liquid by adding 10 parts water to one part vinegar before consuming it. Don't worry about the cost though, a bottle of good apple cider vinegar runs around $10 and lasts for weeks.
9. Mediterranean Diet
Penelope Cruz credits the Mediterranean diet plan for helping her shed post-baby weight. Inspired by studies showing that people living in Mediterranean areas like Greece live longer, the diet models itself after the heart-healthy ways people in that region eat. The diet includes foods such as nuts, fruits and vegetables, olive oil, fish and whole grains.
Boasting major cardiovascular benefits, the Mediterranean diet has been proven to decrease heart disease risk and lower blood pressure. However, the jury’s still out on whether it’s an effective weight loss approach. Instead, the diet’s clear impact on heart health, and its well-balanced meal plans make it a winner. Although certain ingredients you’d need for the diet like quality olive oil and fish can be pricey, the Mediterranean diet won’t break the bank.
10. Alkaline Diet
Former Spice Girl Victoria Beckham swears by the alkaline diet, according to Health Magazine. Centered on the idea that the body must maintain a healthy pH level of about 7.45, the alkaline diet cuts out acid-forming foods such as meat, dairy, caffeine, alcohol and sugar, which cause weight gain and inflammation. To promote alkalinity, dieters are encouraged to eat large amounts of green vegetables, fresh fruits, nuts and seeds. To really take advantage of the plan, 80 percent of food consumed should be alkalizing and 20 percent acid-forming.
Weight loss often results from following the alkaline diet because eating processed foods is restricted and consuming more whole grains, vegetables and fruits is encouraged. The other good news is that the cost isn’t out of reach. You can basically buy the same amount of groceries you usually do, just focus on alkaline-forming foods like fruits and vegetables, almonds and lentils.
11. Baby Food Diet
Rumors credit celebrity fitness trainer Tracy Anderson for creating this diet, with fans reportedly including Lady Gaga and Reese Witherspoon. The baby food diet consists of consuming 14 jars of baby food a day and treating yourself to one small “regular” meal in the evening. Given that baby food ranges from 15 to 100 calories per jar, daily calorie intake for dieters hits around 1,400, plus dinner. At about $1 per jar, you can expect to spend around $14 per day on this diet.
Many experts agree that most baby food is healthy because it doesn’t include added sugar, sodium or preservatives. Also, built-in portion control can contribute to weight loss. But as registered dietitian Jim White put it, “Who wants to eat baby food 14 times a day?” Unless you plan to make mushed food your permanent go-to meal, the Baby Food diet isn’t a long-term weight loss solution.