It’s not January unless everyone you know is on some kind of health kick, and the crazier the better - or so it seems. People are on cavemen diets and lemon detoxes, and extreme diets like the fruitarian diet, which is not actually that good for your health…

Seriously, if I even see one more apple I am going to lose it. Photo:

Just ask Ashton Kutcher who revealed he was hospitalised after turning fruitarian for his latest role playing Steve Jobs for the upcoming biopic. Kutcher said he fell seriously ill after a stint mimicking Jobs’ strict dietary regime of fruit, nuts and seeds.

“...The fruitarian diet can lead to, like, severe issues,” Kutcher told USA Today. “I went to the hospital like two days before we started shooting the movie. I was like doubled over in pain. My pancreas levels were completely out of whack. It was really terrifying … considering everything.”

Unorthodox eating habits are not uncommon in Hollywood.  According to The Guardian, Christian Bale lived off coffee and one apple a day for his movie, The Machinist. Anne Hathaway admitted to being on a starvation diet for Les Miserables, but refused to give the details in case someone else followed it simply to lose weight.

Hmmm, that sure does sound tempting Anne.

But how do we explain the determination and psychology of people who eat like this, (or don’t eat, as it happens) as part of a long term health strategy?

The daily diet of New York interior designer, Kelly Wearstler that did the rounds on Twitter last week is a great example of this.  After waking for her seven day a week 5:30am boot camp class, Ms Wearstler claimed to drink a couple of glasses of green water, laced with something called plankton,  followed by a macchiato on the way to work and nothing but vegetable juice till dinner time.

Just reading that is bound to make a person hungry.

The quick fix attraction of these extreme dietary regimes is understandable, especially for those of us feeling guilty after December’s hedonism. And then there’s our modern obsession with needing to get everything we want, exactly when we want it.

But our bodies don’t necessarily work that way. As nutritionist Susie Burrell said extreme dieting can often double our chances of failing because we can’t stick to the changes.

“The biggest issue is that they are non-sustainable and in the case of the most extreme eg lemon detox, actually inadequate in key nutrients and promote a starvation approach to weight loss in which metabolism is challenged long term,” she said.

“When it comes down to it, we only have three key nutrient groups to play with - carbs, protein and fat and all diets are a mix of these three nutrients, generally dropping carbs and increasing protein to different degrees. The more aggressive they are at manipulating these nutrients, the more pronounced weight loss, but also the more restrictive and less sustainable they tend to be.”

Now there’s some food for thought.

Comments on this post close at 8pm AEST

Most commented


Show oldest | newest first

    • Al says:

      12:38pm | 29/01/13

      That caption “Seriously, if I even see one more banana I am going to lose it.” could have been much funnier if it read “Seriously, if I even see one more apple I am going to lose it.”

    • Lucy Kippist

      Lucy Kippist says:

      12:49pm | 29/01/13

      Agreed - and changed!

    • St. Michael says:

      12:51pm | 29/01/13

      One might note that Bale, in dropping down to a suicidally low weight for The Machinist, did so because he was playing a character who was going through a complete mental breakdown.  The weight loss was played as a physical representation of the fact the character wasn’t right in the head.

    • Rose says:

      01:16pm | 29/01/13

      Similarly, Anne Hathaway’s character in Les Mis was meant to be emaciated. I congratulate her for not revealing the details of how she did it, there are plenty of people out there foolish enough to give it a go.

    • Jess says:

      01:42pm | 29/01/13

      Anne Hathaway did reveal how she did it in one of the gossip magazines. It involved oats/ porriage - she said it was horrible and she hated it

    • Tubesteak says:

      02:41pm | 29/01/13

      True. Also he ate a tin of tuna and an apple every day to lose the weight.

      Is it too early yet for “seefood diet” jokes?

    • MK says:

      01:45pm | 29/01/13

      Short term starvation IS a natural way our bodies are supposed to work,
      I find it amusing how people label starvation as some horrible thing,
      People act as if you skip a meal or two and you body eats itself and you die of starvation.

      Lemon detox is just a short term startvtion diet, That it is a starvation diet is the best thing about it, the lemon and overpriced syrup are not the key part of the diet.

      Heres the thing, Any weight loss or Any weight gain IS NOT SUSTAINABLE by definition.
      If you continue to loose or gain weight…...
      Which nutritionist can honeslty claim that a a REAL person can stick to a constatnt diet, whith such an infinitesimly small calorie deficit, people will very very very slowly lose weight over mnths and mangically balance to stop losing weight at their “ideal” weight.
      And these magical people will never ever ever cheat or eat junk.

      Its simple, to account for occasional overeating,
      you need to occasionally undereat,
      Any eating system/diet that doesnt account for this will have a 100% “Failure” rate

    • St. Michael says:

      01:53pm | 29/01/13

      I think your caloric calculus is even more wiggy than the nutritionists you’re criticising.

    • T says:

      01:52pm | 29/01/13

      I have a diet I stick to regularly it does me wonders!

      It’s called “I eat whatever the hell I want to”


    • Gordon says:

      05:59pm | 29/01/13

      Me too. The trick is to not want the f’n giant cokes and other shite that people try to sell you.

    • PlateChanger says:

      02:09pm | 29/01/13

      The best (and easiest to stick to) diet tip I’ve ever heard came from my mother, and it was a simple one.  Change your dinner plate.  Instead of serving yourself on a large dinner plate, use an entree plate.  You’ll serve yourself smaller helpings and because you’re still seeing a full plate (rather than a small portion on a huge plate), you don’t feel like you’re missing out.

    • Amy says:

      02:16pm | 29/01/13

      I gave up sugar (ie table sugar, sucrose, stuff with “high fructose corn syrup” on the label and so on) almost four months ago. It was remarkably easy to maintain and I’ve lost around 4-5 kilos, which showed no sign of creeping back on, even over the indulgent Christmas period. It is totally a fad diet, but it works for me. If you find the right crazy (or not-so-crazy) diet that works for you, you’ll have no trouble sticking to it, and your body will stabilise at a healthy weight.

    • Tim the Toolman says:

      03:16pm | 29/01/13

      Given that dumping mountains of cheap, refined sugar into everything, combined with easily available refined grains is a fairly modern thing, I’d say that the standard “diet” most people eat is the fad, and what you’re doing is something more normal.

    • Bolz says:

      02:27pm | 29/01/13

      I really enjoyed reading this while stuffing my pie hole!

    • Jess says:

      02:58pm | 29/01/13

      I hope it was with pies

    • ollie says:

      02:47pm | 29/01/13

      Is a couple of bottles of rose and a pack of cigarettes for dinner count as a diet? If not, you should join in… its AWESOME!

    • Terribla says:

      04:05pm | 29/01/13

      I wouldn’t diet but I would detox . . . with sand!


Facebook Recommendations

Read all about it

Punch live

Up to the minute Twitter chatter

Recent posts

The latest and greatest

The Punch is moving house

The Punch is moving house

Good morning Punchers. After four years of excellent fun and great conversation, this is the final post…

Will Pope Francis have the vision to tackle this?

Will Pope Francis have the vision to tackle this?

I have had some close calls, one that involved what looked to me like an AK47 pointed my way, followed…

Advocating risk management is not “victim blaming”

Advocating risk management is not “victim blaming”

In a world in which there are still people who subscribe to the vile notion that certain victims of sexual…

Nosebleed Section

choice ringside rantings

From: Hasbro, go straight to gaol, do not pass go

Tim says:

They should update other things in the game too. Instead of a get out of jail free card, they should have a Dodgy Lawyer card that not only gets you out of jail straight away but also gives you a fat payout in compensation for daring to arrest you in the first place. Instead of getting a hotel when you… [read more]

From: A guide to summer festivals especially if you wouldn’t go

Kel says:

If you want a festival for older people or for families alike, get amongst the respectable punters at Bluesfest. A truly amazing festival experience to be had of ALL AGES. And all the young "festivalgoers" usually write themselves off on the first night, only to never hear from them again the rest of… [read more]

Gentle jabs to the ribs

Superman needs saving

Superman needs saving

Can somebody please save Superman? He seems to be going through a bit of a crisis. Eighteen months ago,… Read more



Read all about it

Sign up to the free newsletter