Diet fads: Quick fix solutions or causing harm?

The Red Carpet diet,a common fad among celebrities,has people starving,living on mere water for days.

Written by Leher Kala | New Delhi | Published: July 19, 2010 2:04:01 pm

At a family wedding recently,the bridegroom’s sister didn’t show up because of severe dehydration caused by a crash diet to fit into the most cruel and unforgiving of garments,the sari blouse.

Devastated by those awful hooks simply not hooking up,she decided that dire situations needed drastic measures,and so ensued a trip to a popular weight loss expert in Delhi who recommended a version of the Red Carpet Diet: no carbs,no milk,no sugar but plenty of water and,voila,just three days later she was assured the wretched blouse would indeed button and she could dance at her brother’s baraat. Instead,she found herself on the drip,in hospital.

The Red Carpet Diet is a broad term popular among international celebrities who need quick solutions for weight loss,to look good for specific occasions. The three-day Red Carpet Diet,however,involves some sort of pills. Both need to be approached with caution.

All dieticians provide quick-fix ideas,but the three-day solution is the fastest I’ve heard of. That also makes it the most dangerous. Basically,you semi starve for three days or just stick to a high-protein diet and you knock off 4-5 pounds so you fit into that flirty dress you’ve been eyeing and look great for one evening. Since the body’s gone into shock from being deprived of its regular nutrition,the weight falls fairly rapidly. At least to begin with.

Even in Delhi,there are many converts to the Red Carpet Diet to look good for a party on Saturday night. As long as the results are tangible there will be takers,no matter how faddish and weird diets like this can be.

The sari,despite its voluminous folds,turns into a litmus test for fitness. With the new style of tight,figure-hugging satin-silk petticoats and skimpy blouses,there’s absolutely no room for error,or fat. Unlike a spandex swimsuit that stretches to accommodate bulge,the blouse is stubbornly resilient and will not budge.

We live in an age where we’re constantly bombarded with information and we all know the facts: exercise is good for you,eating junk is not. But we’re exposed to divine delicacies all the time and not succumbing is very,very hard. Weight issues are great equalisers since most people are dissatisfied with their size and almost everyone around is on a diet at some point. Aishwarya Rai looks positively podgy sometimes,and Kareena Kapoor’s fainting on film sets has been well documented.

There are no statistics available on India,but in the US,one out of two women is on a diet at any given time and one out of three “normal dieters” will become pathological dieters,which means they’ll spend most of their lives on Atkins,South Beach or some such trendy diet with the same depressing results,first weight loss,then gain. But then as Kate Moss puts it,“Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels.” It’s worth a shot.

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