We’re all fascinated by celebrities. We study their every move: what they wear, what their skin care routine is, what they eat.
As dietitians, we know that nutrition can be overwhelming and it’s easy to look to celebs for diet advice. After all, they look fabulous, and if it works for them, shouldn’t it work for us? (Aside from the fact that they have a trainer, dietician, and probably an unlimited food budget, we mean.)
Unfortunately, celebrities can fall victim to diet culture just like the rest of us, and they usually aren’t the best source for nutrition advice. Not to mention, they’re working in an image-focused industry that prioritizes looks over health. So maybe, just maybe, we shouldn’t take their diet advice after all. Need proof? Here are some trending celeb diets that may do more harm than good.
Adele’s Sirtfoods Diet
First question: what are sirtuins? Silent information regulators, or SIRTs, are enzymes that regulate pathways in the body that may boost metabolism and reduce inflammation. The creators of the Sirtfood Diet claim that certain foods like blueberries, kale, and dark chocolate contain antioxidants that increase SIRT activity, thus helping you burn fat more effectively. Apparently, you can lose seven pounds in seven days by following the Sirtfood diet.
Sound too good to be true? It is…
There is some evidence that SIRTs may benefit your metabolism, but the research on SIRTs is actually stronger when it comes to aging and longevity. More importantly, there is no research that specific foods activate the SIRT enzymes per se. Yes, some antioxidants in food stimulate SIRT activity, but it would take an exorbitant amount of those foods to make this happen—much more than you can reasonably eat in a day.
Another kicker: the first phase of the Sirtfoods diet requires a pretty extreme calorie restriction: 1,000 calories a day for three days, mostly coming from juices. No thanks.
RD verdict: Even if SIRTs help burn fat, we probably can’t enhance their activity by eating normal portions of so-called “sirtfoods”. Any weight loss you see on this diet is probably from limiting your calories and eating nutrient-dense foods. While the Sirtfoods diet is rich in healthy foods we love, it’s basically a calorie restricted Mediterranean diet repackaged and sold with another name. Good thing the Mediterranean diet already exists, doesn’t rely on intense calorie restriction, and has proven benefits.
The Kardashians’ Flat Tummy Tea
The creators of Flat Tummy Tea claim that it “aids in the detoxifying and digestion process”. This word “detox” is used a lot in diet culture, but what does it really mean?
Your kidneys, liver, and digestive systems metabolize and help eliminate harmful substances from your body, also known as detoxification. While some herbs may help to support these processes, your organs are pretty effective at doing them on their own, so you really don’t need a tea to do what your organs were built to do.
Another important caveat: one of the main ingredients in this tea is senna leaf, a potent laxative that can actually alter your gastrointestinal motility and potentially do irreversible damage if used in the long term. Eek! That’s not detox—that’s diarrhea. Pass.
RD verdict: The best way to get a flat tummy, if that’s one of your goals, is by eating a whole foods diet, limiting alcohol, controlling your blood sugar with regular, balanced meals, drinking lots of water, and eating foods that are rich in fiber and probiotics. While you’re at it, add in 30 minutes of movement per day and voilà, a flat tummy—no harmful laxatives necessary.
Beyoncé’s Master Cleanse
The Master Cleanse, also called the Lemonade Diet, is a liquid-only diet consisting of four ingredients: water, lemons, maple syrup, and cayenne pepper. Proponents of the Master Cleanse (which also include celebs like Michelle Rodriguez and Demi Moore) claim that the specific combination of these ingredients helps detoxify the body and support weight loss. Spoiler: any diet that promotes you consume nothing but a lemonade mix for days on end is not going to be good for you, and if you need more convincing, check out this account from a brave soul who tried it.
RD verdict: While it might be true that short-term liquid fasting gives your digestive and detoxification systems a little break to work more efficiently in the future, a liquid diet usually leads to binge and overeating which taxes your detox systems even more!
Yes, there’s some evidence that spicy foods like cayenne pepper may slightly boost your metabolism, but any weight loss you see from doing this diet is likely from the severe calorie restriction from not eating. If you have enough willpower to drink this concoction, why not adopt a healthy diet and get more exercise? It’s more effective and sustainable for long-term weight loss and supports overall health.
The hard truth about celebrities is that they look fabulous because they have the money for chefs, personal trainers, and dietitians to help them eat and exercise for their personal and professional weight goals. They are not qualified to give nutrition advice, but if asked, most of them will tell you that the secret to feeling and looking great is not a fancy tea, but a healthy, balanced diet with regular exercise.
Vanessa Rissetto and Tamar Samuels are registered dietitians and co-founders of Culina Health, offering nutritional coaching and a science-based health and wellness education. Taking the complicated diets, numbers, and more out of nutrition, Vanessa and Tamar simplify healthy eating ideals and plans in order to stop stressing about food and start living life. Vanessa has over ten years of experience as a RD, and currently serves as the dietetic intern director at New York University. Tamar is a RD and National Board-Certified Health & Wellness Coach, with a unique and holistic approach that integrates functional medicine, positive psychology, and behavioral change techniques.
Images: Kathy Hutchins / Shutterstock.com
For the amount that I poke fun at all the sponcon from Insta-influencers, you would think I’d be smart enough to not succumb to their gimmicks. But, in a moment of weakness, I am ashamed to admit that I caved and ordered Flat Tummy Tea. I know, please don’t be disappointed in me. Prior to my vaca to Aruba this past January, I started to panic about losing the continual “last five pounds” before I left. Especially coming off of holiday season, between all the mimosas and Christmas cookies, I wasn’t feeling my best. So, with all the recent controversy over Flat Tummy Tea and the Kardashians, I figured I’d do you all the favor of breaking down my personal experience with their products. That way, you don’t have to waste $200 buying all this sh*t. Here is a recount of my personal experience with three of their core products.
1. Flat Tummy Shakes (4-week program—$89)
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#ad You guys all know I looove @flattummyco shakes. I've just restarted them (it's Day 2 today) and I’m already feeling so good. We had a huuuuge Christmas this year and between that, New Years and everything inbetween… I felt like it was impossible to fit in my regular work outs and eat healthy. But this program is giving me a kick in the right direction that I need. These meal replacement shakes are so good and they're helping me get my tummy back to flat. I’m already feeling amazing and I’m so excited for the next few weeks. Because they’re all about getting women back on track… they’ve got a 20% off sale going on right now, so if you want to start 2019 off right… trust me, you’re going to want to check them out. PS. I’m doing the chocolate program?
First, I’ll start with the shakes. These were the product that I was most excited about, because I love a good meal replacement smoothie. It’s quick, easy, and usually delicious. Key word being “usually.” I’ve tried several different chocolate protein powders in my day and this one, well, it was the absolute worst. I’m someone who can tolerate gross sh*t in the name of being skinny, but these shakes? Couldn’t do it. They tasted EXACTLY like Play-Doh! And, just to confirm I wasn’t crazy, I made my friends taste it too, and they all agreed. It was pretty much impossible to drink. In order to even get it down, I ended up having to mix half the Flat Tummy shake powder with another chocolate protein powder I already had at home. So really, the shake was so gross that I couldn’t tolerate it on its own to really give you guys a full and accurate review of whether it worked or not. So, like, sorry about that. But basically, the idea with the shakes is that they’re a meal replacement option that’s low calorie. So, if you’re replacing your normal Panera lunch with these, it makes sense that you would ultimately lose weight, just based on simple math alone. So take it from me, if you want to go the meal replacement route, then fine. But I recommend you use any other chocolate protein powder than this one.
2. Flat Tummy Tea (4-week program—$98)
Next up, the infamous teas. Flat Tummy Tea offers an “activate” tea for the morning and a “detox” tea for before bed. The morning tea is meant to debloat, support your metabolism, and boost your energy. The nighttime tea aims to detoxify your body by decreasing water retention and cleansing your digestive system (AKA diarrhea.) I’ll be honest, I did really enjoy the tastes of these teas. They made me feel like a health influencer or some sh*t because I had to actually steep my tea with an ~infuser~. The problem though, was the whole “cleanse of the digestive system” aspect. When you’re running to the bathroom every few hours, you inevitably feel lighter and less bloated, but it’s just not practical. With all that said, the bottom line is that yes, the teas were good and made me feel skinnier, but like, in the same way having the stomach flu makes you feel skinnier: gross, irritable, and definitely not “good.”
3. Flat Tummy Lollipops (4-week supply—$49)
Sooo you’ve probably heard about these lollipops—either from their provocative billboard advertisements or from Kim Kardashian’s Instagram. Either way, to me they sounded absolutely amazinggg. Like, my go-to when I’m trying to avoid snacking are Blow Pops. They give me that sugar rush I crave, plus prevent me from mindlessly snacking. So, when I heard that there was such a thing as an appetite suppressant lollipop, I was more excited than a Bachelor contestant that just scored her first one-on-one. Well, before you get too excited, if you’ve ever tried those medical “lollipops” for kids that they sell at CVS, that’s what these tasted like. They were not good and didn’t “suppress” my appetite. At least not enough for me to want to replace my beloved Blow Pops with them.
So now, let’s get into why Flat Tummy Tea is currently so relevant. If you keep up with pop culture, or at least just keep up with the Kardashians, then you know about the recent scandal involving Khloé Kardashian, Jameela Jamil, and Flat Tummy Tea. Jameela called out Khloé for her Flat Tummy Tea Insta #ad (which has since been deleted), claiming that Khloé was being untruthful to her fans about how she achieved her body. Since then, Kim Kardashian has responded via an interview with The New Yorker stating that “If there is work that is really easy that doesn’t take away from our kids, that’s like a huge priority. You’re going to get backlash for almost everything so as long as you like it or believe in it or it’s worth it financially, whatever your decision may be, as long as you’re O.K. with that.” Yes, that was really her response…
I have a few thoughts here. First, I do respect Jameela Jamil for calling the Kardashians out. Like, honestly, I only ordered these products because the famous family was posting about them so like, fair. Thanks, Jameela!!! But what I don’t think is fair is her singling out Khloé specifically. Like, I get it, she’s the most real, so it makes sense she would be the one called out. But still, I think that’s a little harsh towards the one Kardashian who has consistently stayed the most (relatively) relatable to her fans. Oh, and my thoughts on Kim’s response as to why they do it? Bullsh*t. They’re loaded, and there are tons of other products out there for them to hawk that aren’t potentially harmful to people. Ya know, ones that aren’t harmful to peoples’ body image, health, and wallets from wasting money on all this sh*t.
So, did Flat Tummy Tea work for me? No, but everyone is different, so who know if this stuff will work for you. You probably shouldn’t trust Kim K to give you a recommendation, though.
Images: @jaredlamas / Unsplash; @kimkardashian (2), @flattummyco, @jameelajamilofficial / Instagram
If you’re one of those people who clicks on any article called “7 Foods To Eat For A Six-Pack” or “Drink This Tea To Get You a Flat Tummy Tomorrow,” you’re gonna want to keep reading. That’s because Fit Tea doesn’t work (and you should know that by now), but ab exercises do work. So we’ve done a thorough investigation(ish) of the 5 best ab exercises to get your abs in shape for your bikini. And, because we’re psychic, we also know what you’re doing wrong. So to
shatter all your illusions and make you feel like a failure for your benefit we’re also here to tell you the five ab exercises you think are working, but really aren’t doing shit.
The first thing you need to know about getting abs is that core exercises are important, but they’re not everything. That annoying phrase “abs are made in the kitchen” is sadly true. By definition, you have to have a pretty low body fat percentage to see abdominal definition, so if you’re not eating right, fix that shit, then come back to this article. If you’re pretty good on the nutrition and you’re looking for the right exercises to shape your core and tone your tummy, here’s what you should and shouldn’t be doing in the gym:
5 Exercises That Work…
1. Weighted Russian Twist
This move is great for toning the sides of your abs because it targets your oblique muscles. Start by holding a 12-15lb weight or weighted ball and sit on the floor with your knees bent. Ideally, your feet shouldn’t be touching the floor, but if you’re a beginner, you get a pass. For now. Lean back so your torso is at an angle, but keep your spine straight. Touch the weight to the floor from one side to the other while keeping your arms in front of your chest. Make sure you twist your core completely or else the whole move is pointless and you’re playing yourself.
People tend to hate on planks because it looks like you’re not doing much and because we’re all still scarred from the planking craze of 2009, but if you’re doing them right, you should feel the burn and see results pretty fast. Planks are amazing for your core, back, legs, and arm muscles, so stop talking shit and start planking. Whether you’re doing a forearm hold or starting on your hands, keep your core tight and hold a stable position for a minute. As your core gets stronger over time, try holding for longer and longer. Separate your feet if you’re just starting out, then move them closer together once you start getting stronger.
3. Side Jackknives
This move is another great one for the sides of your core, and if you do them enough, you’ll start developing that hourglass shape around your waist that guys post about on Instagram all the time. Lying on your right side and keeping your left leg over your right one, place your left hand behind your head and bring your torso and left leg toward each other as you pull with your obliques. Squeeze for a couple seconds and then release your leg and hand. The key here is to go slow and feel every rep, so no cheating.
4. TRX Pikes + Knee Tucks
This move is def more advanced, but like, stop crying and put your feet in the TRX straps. The TRX is that yellow and black suspension trainer at your gym, and it’s time to start using it. Get in a plank position with your feet in the straps and pull your knees into your chest, engaging your core on every rep. If you’re up for the challenge, pike your feet forward, creating a V-shape with your body. You’ll feel the burn immediately, but do as many reps as you can without collapsing.
V-Ups are not, as the name may lead you to believe, a form of Kegel exercises. They actually target the lower part of your abs that gives your body that V-shape you thought only J. Lo was blessed with. Keep your feet together with your toes pointed at the ceiling, and slowly lift your legs up while bringing your upper body off the floor and touching your toes. Try to keep your legs as straight as possible. Squeeze your core for a second and then slowly lower your legs and back down to the floor. It burns pretty bad, but you’ll be thankful when you look unreal in your next bikini pic.
…And 5 Exercises That Are Wasting Your Time:
1. Fast Bicycles
So many girls think that doing fast bicycle crunches will get you a six-pack, and it’s honestly sad to watch. This isn’t SoulCycle, so stop going so fucking fast without using a single muscle in your core. SLOW bicycles, on the other hand, are actually super effective because you’re bringing your shoulder to your knee and isolating your core muscles enough to actually do something. Girls who do fast bicycle crunches and think they’re getting abs are like guys who jackhammer away at your cervix and think they’ve given you an orgasm (ahem, Raven’s ex).
Again, sorry to burst your Shape Magazine bubble, but regular crunches or bodyweight sit-ups are probably wasting your time. Doing 100 baby crunches isn’t impressive, and it’s not going to do shit to your body. Add some weight to your crunches by holding a dumbbell at your chest, or get your feet off the ground to really challenge your core.
3. Leg Lifts
TBH, leg lifts can actually be a good core exercise if you’re doing them slowly and only using your core muscles, but most people just use their hands for assistance and go way too fast to actually get an effective ab workout. This move is more advanced than most people think, so if you’re not that strong yet, you’re way better off starting out with V-ups or planks. Going straight to leg lifts is like skipping cocaine and going directly to crystal meth. Slow the fuck down. And stay away from crystal meth in general.
4. Static Side Planks
People tend to think holding a side plank for 30 seconds will shape the sides of your torso, but those people are what we in the fitness community like to call “idiots”. There are so many better oblique exercises that are way more effective than a static side plank. If you really want to feel the burn in a side plank, try dipping your hip up and down (like Leo does in the above gif) or holding a dumbbell with your arm straight in the air. Otherwise, you’re prob wasting everyone’s time. Mostly your own, but also the people waiting to use your mat while you do the exercise equivalent of sitting there and looking pretty. We’re not saying everyone will hate you if you do a static side plank, but we’re not not saying that. The more you know.
5. Most Ab Machines
This might be controversial since so many people swear by the cable crunch machine or the hanging leg raise bar, but most ab machines at the gym are probably wasting your time if you want a good core workout. It’s not that the machines don’t work, but doing floor exercises are just as effective and are easier to scale to your own level, so don’t waste your time trying to figure out how the machines work. We’re also saving you from some annoying dude coming up to you and offering tips and telling you that you should smile more, so like, you’re welcome.