Eat like a baby. Cook like a caveman. Snack on one color of the rainbow each day of the week.
These habits belong to some of the viral diets that celebrities from Beyoncé to Taylor Swift have sworn by.
Oddly enough, some of these eating plans contain nuggets of wisdom that could help you lose weight. Still, the bigger danger with any diet is that it sets us up for unhealthy habits we can’t maintain, says Andy Bellatti, a registered dietitian and the cofounder of Dietitians for Professional Integrity.
“I know many people who’ve gone on some kind of crash diet for a week and lose a bunch of weight and a few months later they’re back to square one.”
With that in mind, here’s the dirt on the strangest viral diets along with some science-backed wisdom about what actually works if you want to lose weight and keep it off.
The Alkaline Diet
The hype: Actresses including Jennifer Aniston, Kirsten Dunst, and Gwyneth Paltrow, have all reportedly done the pH or “Alkaline” diet, which advocates swapping so-called acid-forming foods like meat, fish, dairy, and grains with alkaline ones like fruits, nuts, beans, and vegetables.
The truth: The diet is based on the misleading idea that you can change your blood pH with food. While the pH of the stomach is acidic, the blood is slightly alkaline, something the food you eat can’t change. Still, one positive part of the diet is that it advocates eating more fruits and veggies, something most dietitians agree we should all be doing.
The Master Cleanse
The hype: Beyoncé reportedly used the Master Cleanse to slim down before the movie “Dreamgirls.” The cleanse involves drinking a lemon juice-based mixture to allegedly clean out the system and speed weight loss.
The Paleo Diet
The hype: Singer Tim McGraw sticks to a paleo diet, a meal plan free of dairy, legumes, refined sugar, alcohol, and grains.
The truth: The US News and World Report ranks the paleo diet 36 out of 38 diets, saying that it can be tough to follow and is somewhat “nutritionally incomplete.”