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Do celeb diets really work?

From Naomi's maple syrup detox to Jen's mashed baby food diet, Amanda Ursell checks out the stars' favourite regimes.

It seems that even the genetically blessed have to suffer for their looks. Naomi Campbell (39) has confessed that she commits herself to three punishing ‘lemon and maple syrup’ detox sessions a year, some lasting up to 18 days. These periodic diets are no easy task and require the sort of steely willpower and commitment that are key requirements of surviving in our fickle “here today, gone tomorrow” celebrity culture.

In the case of the maple syrup diet — or the Master Cleanse as it is also known — this is the closest thing I have seen to a full-on fast and differs from a genuine detox by being so restrictive and stressful on the body.

A well-planned detox should help you to weed out unnecessary unhealthy junk foods, caffeine-rich drinks and alcohol, while providing nutritious additions such as fruits, vegetables, pulses and in some case supplements, to help heal and restore balance in your body.

Both fasts and detoxes differ from normal weight-loss diets because the latter can work simply by cutting calories while still allowing you “treats” such as cake, as long as you fall within your calorie allowance.

Whichever route you choose to shed a few rapid pounds, you should check with your GP first. Few of us can survive fasts and extreme detoxes without some physical compromises as well as feeling stressed out, tired and sick of the sight of yet another disgusting concoction.


This month Streatham-born supermodel Campbell revealed her devotion to the Master Cleanse diet, which involves preparing a detoxifying cocktail of maple syrup, lemon juice, hot water and cayenne pepper and drinking only this for 10-14 days, with nothing to eat. “I try to do [this] three times a year,” Campbell said.

Counting Beyonce and Anne Hathaway among its followers, the Master Cleanse was devised by Stanley Burroughs, a naturopath, in the 1940s. Lemon juice is said to loosen waste while the pepper increases blood flow to the areas to be detoxified. Maple syrup provides much-needed energy.

THE THEORY Your calories come solely from the maple syrup. The cayenne pepper is likely to boost your metabolic rate, speeding up calorie burning.

PROS You will lose weight.

CONS You get virtually no nutrients or minerals. You will feel weak and you may tip yourself into anaemia. Carrying on with normal life on this plan would be almost impossible. You are likely to get headaches, feel dizzy, stressed and grumpy. Your body could end up far more ‘toxic’ than when you started as when you lose weight, fat and the pollutants stored by the body in fat are released from fat cells into the bloodstream.



Jason Vale, dubbed the Juice Master, reportedly devised the programme to help the glamour model (31) to shed 28lb in three months after the birth of her second child. It promises fast results and a spring clean for the body. The seven-day plan involves replacing breakfast and lunch with vegetable and fruit juices, along with supplements such as wheatgrass powder and spirulina. Dinner is fish or meat with vegetables. Price’s favourite was a blend of avocado, pineapple, spinach and celery. “It sounds revolting but it’s delicious,” she says.

THE THEORY It dramatically cuts calories. Women are supposed to eat around 2,000 calories a day to maintain a normal weight, but as around 60pc of people are overweight, cutting down to around 1,000 a day will for most women lead to a 3lb to 5lb loss over seven days.

PROS You can look forward to having a real meal in the evenings and if you choose well, at least get some of the important vitamins, minerals and protein levels you need. It is ‘only’ for a week.

CONS You are likely to feel hungry. You would not have a lot of energy to exercise.

DETOX OR FAST? Detox — you are eating some real food.


The actress (41) says that her enviable figure is all down to baby food. She is reportedly eating up to 14 portions of mashed food a day, followed by a normal dinner, to stay trim for her new film and is said to have lost 7lb. “Liquid cleanses do help you lose weight but you will gain more the next week,” says Aniston. “I wanted something where you can eliminate toxicity and break bad habits but still have your digestive system going.” The diet, introduced to Aniston by her personal trainer, Tracy Anderson, is based on a theory that pureed food is digested more easily, leading to quicker weight loss.

THE THEORY The theory is flawed; the more a food is blended down, the more quickly it is digested and the more hungry you are likely to feel again after eating.

PROS It provides strict portion control since baby meals come in such small servings. Baby meals are also low in salt and this is likely to lead to your body eliminating water which we hold on to when eating a saltier diet. Cutting salt to 3g a day, which is probably possible on this diet, can lead to up to 1.5 litres of water being eliminated which translates to a 2-3lb weight loss on the scales. Also, there are strict laws on the use of additives in infant foods and so you will probably be reducing your daily additive intake.

CONS Apart from the fact that you will look really odd when eating baby food in public, chewing and digesting solid food fills you up so you are likely to feel hungry on this plan.

DETOX OR FAST? You could call it a ‘salt’ detox since you will be cutting back on sodium considerably.


She famously said, “Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels”, and claimed that her slender physique was thanks to a love of cigarettes and vodka. But recently the slender model (36) got back into shape with a strict diet based on drinking white tea and honey three times a day. A typical day would be porridge, sushi and a proper dinner, all followed by white tea with honey.

THE THEORY Antioxidants in green and white tea are believed to slightly raise the metabolism and burn fat, although to what extent this happens in the human body compared with laboratory results is not really known. By limiting yourself to the same foods every day you benefit from ‘sensory specific satiation’. This means that you get a bit bored with the foods you eat and are, therefore, less likely to over-consume them. A typical day would also probably supply around 1,000-1,200 calories depending on the dinner you chose which would lead to a good few pounds lost a week for most women.

PROS Porridge and sushi rice are both low GI foods, which means that they are digested slowly and help to keep you feeling full. The normal dinner will keep you feeling human.

CONS There aren’t any. It seems like a fairly healthy way to lose weight compared with the other options.

DETOX OR FAST? Neither, it is a calorie-limiting diet.


Paltrow (37) gets ready for the red carpet with Dr Alejandro Junger’s Clean programme, a three-week detox which claims to ease digestion by including only whole, organic, plant-based foods. The diet prescribes two liquid meals a day and a solid one in between. A typical day’s menu would be a breakfast smoothie, carrot and ginger salad for lunch and broccoli soup for dinner. Paltrow says that she does it twice a year, but admits it is “not what you would characterise as pretty. Or easy.”

THE THEORY Whole, organic, plant-based foods will be likely to reduce your salt and additive load as well as increase your fibre so that you may well help to ‘cleanse’ your digestive system. For most people, a menu such as this would be a big reduction in normal calorie intake, which would lead to weight loss.

PROS You are likely to lose excess stored fluids by lowering your salt intake which helps to reduce bloating. You eat real food — fruit and vegetables — which may boost your vitamin and supernutrient intakes.

CONS You would have to be very careful not to consume too little protein and iron which could leave you seriously weak.

DETOX OR FAST? Detox — at least you get some real food