Monday, August 18, 2008

On "Extreme" Dieting

US Magazine has a slide show up of their named "Weight Winners", a group of female celebrities who have lost pounds over the past year.

None of the weight changes were extreme (or in any way necessary), unless you count the three women who were pregnant in their before pictures (Gee. Wonder why they got slimmer!) The only one in the group who is not overtly praised for weight loss is actress Hillary Duff:

At the age of 15, press criticism drove the actress to drop an estimated 30 pounds on an extreme no-bread, no-sugar diet. After learning to be healthy, Duff, 20, is back to 109 pounds. "I'm happy with my body," says Duff.

I agree with the sentiment here that it's sad when criticism of someone's weight drives them to diet, especially when that someone is a teenager, but there is absolutely nothing "extreme" about a "no-bread, no-sugar diet". Statements like this imply that sugar is something our bodies require to function, when this is entirely not true. Our bodies have requirements for protein, fat, and a variety of vitamins and minerals, but there is NO bodily requirement for sugar, or even carbohydrates in general. Just because the typical American diet has become completely saturated with refined carbohydrates does not mean that this is what is best for us. Healthy diets should not be called "extreme" just because they differ from the norm.

Granted, I don't know all the details of Hillary Duff's "extreme" diet -- she could have also been severely limiting fat and calories and starving herself for all I know -- but if all it entailed was giving up sugar and bread, there's really no cause for alarm. Whatever "learning to be healthy" meant for Hillary, we don't get to find out. It could mean eating more whole foods, adding protein, or simply not starving herself, but this short statement implies that she got healthier by adding sugar and bread back into her diet. And that's a bunch of crap, if you ask me.


Amy Dungan (aka Sparky's Girl) said...

Your right, it's complete bullpooey. Gotta love it when the media purposely twists things to make low-carb living look like the work of satan.

plumpdumpling said...

No, no sugar isn't extreme, but no carbs is. Actually, I guess it wouldn't be extreme if I had been getting my 20 carbs from vegetables, but I was always getting them from sugar-free candy.