The Beverly Hills Diet was made popular by Judy Mazel in the 1980s. This diet is still very popular among the stars, especially in the United States. Judy Mazel, herself struggling with a weight problem since she was very young, decided to share her experience by writing a book on the method that made her lose many extra pounds. The idea behind this diet is that you don’t get fat because you eat everything or a lot, but because you eat the wrong food at the wrong time. What matters is when and with what we eat.
The basic principles
The Hollywood diet is based on food combinations and the principle of digestive enzymes. According to the author, if we do not respect certain food rules, the foods are not well digested and cannot be used and processed properly. It is then stored by the body and transformed into fat.
This scheme is divided into three phases of a few weeks each. With this diet we expect a loss of 7-9 kg for women and 9-14 kg for men.
The first phase lasts 3 weeks. The first week consists of eating only fruit in the morning, at noon and at night (mainly tropical fruit such as pineapple or papaya). The second week begins to include cereal products such as bread and potatoes, as well as some vegetables and butter, but fruit remains the preferred food group. Finally, nuts and meat and seafood are added in the third week of the first phase.
The second phase lasts 2 weeks. Combined meals can be consumed according to the following basic principles:
- The fruits go alone and don’t mix with each other.
- Proteins combine with other proteins and fats
- Starchy foods may accompany other starchy foods and fats
- Fats combine with proteins and fats
Examples of meals for the fourth week: pasta with bread and butter or sautéed vegetables and rice. From the fifth week onwards, you can introduce one protein food: steak, crab or oysters. Meals consisting of 3 types of protein can be included as a cheese omelet and turkey bacon. In short, let’s eat fruit first, then carbohydrates, then proteins. Food categories should not be mixed and should not be changed from one category to another.
Finally, the third phase (sixth week) consists of eating “normal” meals once a day, but the fruits are still very prominent.
List of foods to avoid during the Hollywood diet
- Artificial sugar, sugar, sweets, candies, jams, sweet drinks, chocolate, biscuits
- Diet drinks
- Dairy products (milk, cheese, yogurt)
Mechanisms of action
According to the author, it’s just the enzyme. If the fruit is eaten with a meal, it ferments in the stomach and is poorly eliminated. Also, because the digestion of protein-rich foods would require an acidic environment and the digestion of carbohydrate-rich foods would require an alkaline environment, the consumption of protein-rich foods, such as chicken or fish with carbohydrate-rich foods, such as rice or bread, creates a neutral food environment that interferes with digestion.
Unfortunately, there are no studies that have shown that the principle of food combinations is more effective for weight loss. In a study published in the International Journal of Obesity, obese subjects consumed the same diet (same distribution of carbohydrates, fats, proteins), but with a different distribution according to the principles of food combinations. The results do not show any difference in weight loss between the two methods. The authors conclude that it is the energy intake of the day, and not its distribution during the day, that determines weight loss.
When we abandoned this diet, very few scientific studies had focused on the principle of food combinations and the understanding of how our digestive system works was not advanced enough to recommend this type of diet. Note that no reference to scientific studies is present in Judy Mazel’s book.
Advantages and disadvantages of the Beverly Hills Diet
Satiety and well-being
The first weeks of the Hollywood diet are very restrictive because they focus mainly on the consumption of fruit. The absence of protein or fat in the first few weeks does not in any way promote a sense of well-being and especially satiety. This diet is very monotonous and can therefore cause eating disorders, desires or compulsions. Later, during the other phases, some sources of protein are included, but very few (about 5 meals a week contain protein), which is not balanced.
This diet is very monotonous. Eating only fruit for several days can adversely affect morale. It is impossible to go to a restaurant in the first few weeks. Also, it can be difficult to get all the exotic fruits recommended. After the first month, some combinations still need to be respected to maintain weight. Therefore, it can be difficult to follow depending on where you eat.
No scientific study has been carried out on the Beverly Hills Diet in particular. However, it is largely based on the principles of food combinations. As mentioned earlier, there is evidence in the literature that food combinations are not particularly effective in inducing weight loss. Of course, if we only eat fruit our calorie intake would be lower. As in all diets with very low calorie content, this type of diet decreases the basic metabolism (energy spent by our body at rest) and also decreases the lean mass due to insufficient protein intake. Weight loss is very fast, but most of the weight lost is water. Weight gain is therefore very likely to occur when this diet is discontinued.
Such a low-calorie diet cannot meet the nutritional needs of individuals. This very restrictive diet can therefore lead to nutritional deficiencies, particularly in calcium, since dairy products are not recommended in this diet, but also in proteins, essential fatty acids and fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E and K). The variety of fruits is also very low. This diet is very unbalanced because meals contain only one or two food groups.
The Hollywood diet is, in my opinion, too drastic and can cause many significant side effects and nutritional deficiencies. It does not in any way encourage a change in eating habits and long-term behavior.