There's nothing like another fad diet combining severe calorie-restriction, rapid weight loss, and the cachet of Hollywood to make otherwise intelligent people gamble with their health. While the Hollywood Diet can be a useful detoxification tool, it is not a safe or effective method of weight reduction.
The Hollywood Diet Plan
The Hollywood Diet is quite simple: stop eating for 48 hours and get all of your body's nutritive needs from a juice drink. You can have water, but no caffeine, no alcohol, no food, and no smoking. You combine 4 ounces of water with 4 ounces of the juice and sip it slowly over the course of 4 hours. You do this four times a day for two days, following each 4 ounces of the diluted juice drink with 8 ounces of water. Your total intake for the day, then, is 16 ounces of the juice concentrate, plus about 80 ounces of water (the 16 ounces mixed with the concentrate, plus 8 ounces to follow each of the eight 4-ounce servings of the diluted juice).
What's in It?
The official, bottled version of the diet concentrate contains:
- Pineapple juice
- Orange juice
- Apple juice
- Prune juice
- White grape juice
- Lemon juice
- Bilberry extract
- Green tea extract
- Ginkgo biloba extract
- Grapeseed extract
These ingredients are also accompanied by select preservatives and stabilizers.
A homemade version, popularized by Women's World magazine, includes:
- Soy milk
- Orange and cranberry juices
- Wheat germ oil
- Flaxseed oil
This version probably contains slightly more calories per serving than the bottled product.
Is It Safe?
A very limited, doctor-supervised study of this diet, involving 27 volunteers, did not indicate any danger to the participants, all of whom reported significant weight loss over the two-day experiment. Dr. Joel Fuhrman, M.D., the supervising physician, viewed the results as favorable. You can read more about Dr. Fuhrman's findings at the Vanderbilt University Department of Psychology website.
If you look at the Hollywood Diet as a cleansing juice fast, rather than a weight-loss diet, it does provide some benefits. Freed from the need to break down solid foods for two days, the digestive system can rest and throw off some accumulated waste. As the body is not having to deal with incoming toxins, it is free to process those it has stored -- which accounts for some of the fat loss. The diet does encourage adequate hydration, which also helps the body eliminate stored toxins and metabolize fat. The adequate hydration combined with the diuretic effect of some of the juice ingredients can also help combat water retention.
Benefits of the diet can be summed up as:
- Minimally diuretic
- Encourages digestive clearing
- Low in dietary toxins, encouraging metabolic detoxing
As water is calorie-free, and the bottled drink product has 100 calories in 4 ounces, the person following the Hollywood Diet is consuming a mere 400 calories a day -- a dangerously low number of calories. It would be very unsafe to continue this inadequate calorie consumption for more than two days, or to repeat the two-day juice fast more often than the recommended semi-weekly interval. (That is, two days on the diet, followed by two to three days of eating normally.)
Some of the ingredients in either version of the juice may cause allergic reactions or severe cramping. At least one dieter has reported online that the reactions she experienced were "like having a bad case of the stomach flu" and caused her to resume normal eating after only eight hours.
The principles of the Hollywood Diet are somewhat enlightening. A diet low in toxins and promotes a simple approach to eating may provide the body with less of a burden, thus encouraging the metabolism to burn fat. However, it is important to note that this diet has only proven safe for very short periods of time. It should be not practiced beyond 48 hours. The Hollywood Diet can be a decent regimen to eliminate bloating and excess water so you are red carpet-ready in two days time, but this is not a program for long term weight loss.