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OMG! Can we learn anything from fad diets?


Library Image. Thilnkstock Images

Library Image. Thilnkstock Images

Penélope Cruz does the Dukan diet. Photo: Getty Images

Penélope Cruz does the Dukan diet. Photo: Getty Images


Library Image. Thilnkstock Images

A new diet advocates skipping breakfast, drinking black coffee before exercise and taking cold baths. So can we learn anything from fad regimes, asks Deirdre Reynolds

It's known as the most important meal of the day, but now a new book claims you should skip breakfast altogether if you want to lose weight.

That's just one of the controversial claims made by diet tome Six Weeks to OMG -- which promises to help those who follow it to "get skinnier than all your friends".

Writing under the pen name Venice A Fulton, celeb personal trainer and actor Paul Khanna also recommends immersing yourself in cold water for 15 minutes in the morning to kick-start the metabolism and eating no more than three pieces of fruit a day.

Originally self-published as an ebook, the word-of-mouth hit is set to be released in paperback next month after being snapped up by Grand Central Publishing in a rumoured seven-figure deal.

And despite being blasted for targeting teen girls with its text speak title, it's already predicted to give the Dukan diet a run for its money in the charts.

But Six Weeks to OMG isn't the first diet to promise results in record time.

Here, we look at some of the world's wackiest diets -- and whether they actually work.

The OMG Diet

How it works: Skipping breakfast, drinking black coffee before you exercise and taking cold baths are just some of the unconventional tips contained in the diet tome -- which promises to help shift up to 20 pounds in six weeks.

Celeb Fans: Author Fulton (aka personal trainer Paul Khanna) says he based the book on a plan originally devised for his unnamed celeb clients.

Does it really work? "Although the OMG diet sensibly recommends limiting carbs, comparing the carbs in broccoli to those in Diet Coke will only encourage people to avoid healthy food," says nutritional therapist Heather Leeson of the Dr Marilyn Glenville Clinic in Dublin (www.marilynglenville.ie)

The Purple Food Diet

How it works: Purple-coloured foods such as red grapes, beetroot and plums are low in calories but crammed with anti-oxidants which help prevent collagen breakdown. Mother nature's answer to Botox has even inspired the Hollywood saying: 'A plum a day keeps a facelift away'.

Celeb Fans: Pop diva Mariah Carey reportedly only munches on mauve-coloured food three days a week in order to keep wrinkles at bay.

Does it really work? "It's definitely a good idea to include purple food in your daily diet," says nutritional chef Lynda MaFarland (www.lyndamc farland.com). "But remember that there are lots of nutrients that they don't contain too -- so it's important to mix it up."

The Baby Food Diet

How it works: Here comes the train -- followers of the diet scoff 14 portions of pureed baby food and one healthy adult-sized dinner each day until they reach their ideal weight.

Celeb Fans: In 2010, The Hills star Stephanie Pratt tweeted that she had embarked on the diet created by personal trainer to the stars Tracy Anderson.

Does it really work? "One advantage of the baby-food diet is that the portions are small so you eat less," says consultant dietician and Easy Health magazine panelist Sarah Keogh, (www.eatwell.ie). "However, many baby foods only contain fruit or vegetables with no protein or calcium and little fibre."

The Sleeping Beauty Diet

How it works: Basically, the more you sleep, the less waking hours you have to stuff your face. Meanwhile, dozing off also gives the body a chance to repair and renew cells.

Celeb Fans: Penelope Cruz and Heather Graham are just two of the Tinseltown beauties who swear by getting 12 hours shut-eye a night.

Does it really work? "In theory, if you're sleeping instead of eating, you'll lose weight," says David McConkey of South Dublin Strength and Conditioning (www.southdub linsc.ie). "But I always tell my clients it's the quality, not quantity, of sleep that counts. Aim for eight hours a night and don't go to bed hungry because it can affect the body's natural regeneration process."

The Balloon Diet

How it works: Blowing up balloons works the abs and could even trick a grumbling tum into thinking that you're eating.

However, Krusty the Clown's favourite pastime isn't recommended for those with high blood pressure.

Celeb Fans: Ugly Betty star America Ferrera once had a summer job blowing up party balloons -- but could it be the secret to her dramatic weight loss?

Does it really work? "Whatever about blowing up balloons to exercise the stomach muscles, you shouldn't ignore your body's hunger signals," says nutritional chef Lynda MaFarland. "Rather than blowing up a balloon, reach for nourishing snacks such as walnuts, carrot sticks with hummus or natural yoghurt."

The Cotton Ball Diet

How it works: Some desperate slimmers have resorted to eating cotton balls soaked in gelatin -- or even dry -- to stuff the stomach and stop them from eating actual food.

Celeb Fans: Although no-one is dumb enough to admit to it, chomping cotton balls is thought to be big among models.

Does it really work? "This diet is not only ridiculous, it's downright dangerous," warns nutritional therapist Heather Leeson. "Although cotton balls will fill you up temporarily, they will also absorb water from your digestive system -- causing a nasty bout of constipation at the very least."

The Apple Cider Vinegar Diet

How it works: Slugging a few tablespoons of the tonic made from fermented red apple juice before meals reputedly helps curb the appetite and burn fat.

Celeb Fans: Heidi Klum, Cindy Crawford and singer Fergie have all been linked to the diet plan -- with Klum claiming that just a sniff of the stuff is enough to kill her cravings.

Does it really work? "Adding acid such as cider vinegar to meals may have an effect on fat burning by lowering the GI (gylcemic index)," says consultant dietician Sarah Keogh. "But there is no scientific evidence for this -- and drinking too much could be bad for your teeth as most people add sugar or honey to make it more palatable."

The Cookie Diet

How it works: Designed by US obesity expert Dr Sanford Siegal, the diet involves eating one main meal, nibbling on (up to six) specially-formulated cookies whenever you're hungry and drinking eight glasses of water -- totalling 800 calories per day.

Celeb Fans: Jersey Shore star Snooki Polizzi dropped to 7st 2lbs on the controversial meal-replacement diet.

Does it really work? "By severely restricting your calorie intake, Dr Siegal's cookie diet will certainly result in short-term weight loss," says nutritional therapist Sally Milne of The Marilyn Glenville Clinic. "As soon as you stop the diet though, expect to pile all the weight you lost -- and more -- back on."

Irish Independent