Turns out that former dancer Tracy Anderson -- who now trains Madonna and Gwyneth Paltrow; the three are pictured alongside this post -- has created a "perfectly healthy" (her words, not mine) diet plan that promises a net loss of 20 pounds in just 6 weeks.
Anderson claims that "signature strategy" helps women achieve the "teeny-tiny dancer type" body so many of them desire.
Allow me to pull out my huge red flag.
Anything that promises readers to achieve a dancer's physique should make your BS detectors light up.
Talk about unrealistic expectations! Dancers achieve their bodies through years of intense training.
Let's not forget, too, that the dance world has very high rates of eating disorders. That figure is not just about eating grilled salmon and steamed veggies for dinner every night.
Someone carrying 50 extra pounds on their frame who does not exercise regularly should not be promised such an unrealistic result.
Oh, but wait, that's right -- Anderson claims to have independently tested 100 women (what a conveniently round number!) over the past 5 years.
Therefore she must know what she's talking about, right? Wrong.
Her "signature strategy" is nothing more than an alarmingly drastic caloric reduction (which we'll get to in a bit).
The plan strictly forbids processed foods, dairy, and spices. Red flag number TWO.
Anderson, who as far as I know is not a registered dietitian and has not studied nutrition, claims that dairy and spices result in bloating and upset the digestive system, thereby resulting in fat storage.
If she DID study nutrition, where did she get her degree? Bizarro University?
Spices are wonderfully healthy -- they offer a variety of nutrients, antioxidants, and phytochemicals.
Furthermore, there is absolutely no evidence linking spices to bloating or fat storage.
As for dairy, unless someone is lactose intolerant, I don't see any reason for avoiding it, particularly fat-free dairy, which is a wonderful source of protein and calcium.
The second week of the plan mostly eliminates snacks, leaving dieters with three paltry meals.
One Wednesday, for instance, suggests:
1 cup nonfat rice milk
1 poached egg
1 slice whole wheat toast
2 strips veggie bacon
1/2 cup tomatoes
1/2 cup spinach
3 - 5 oz. grilled seabass
1/2 cup steamed spinach
That adds up to approximately 850 calories! Well, yeah, you're bound to lose weight when you basically starve yourself.
Whatever happened to that "perfectly healthy" quote? This is anything but.
As far as I'm concerned, anyone telling you to eat sushi rolls without soy sauce needs to have their head checked (not to mention, why is sushi part of a plan that only allows whole grains?).
I know people do not turn to Us Weekly for the latest in health and nutrition research, but there needs to be some accountability here.
A meal plan such as this one -- very low in calories and nutrients -- should not be glamorized. This is basically a semi-starvation diet with two big celebrity names attached.
The three meals listed above contribute approximately 10 grams of fiber -- less than half a day's worth!
That day's worth of food only offers one serving of whole grains, very little vitamin E, not enough potassium, very little calcium, no Omega-3's.... I could go on and on.
As much as it often irritates me, I can accept the fact that celebrity mags will never shed the weight-loss pieces (they entice a lot of readers at the newsstand), but is too much to ask that they turn to respectable sources, like Registered Dietitians?
Or, at the very least, do 2 minutes of fact checking on whatever meal plan is being offered?
Donna Summer and Barbra Streisand were right -- ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!