Jennifer Lopez wants you to give up sugar and carbs for 10 days.
Last week, the actress and singer challenged her followers and other celebrities like Leah Remini, Elaine Goldsmith-Thomas and Hoda Kotb on Instagram, to join her 10-day no sugar and carb diet. While there was no campaign or motive behind Lopez’s challenge, many, including her partner Alex Rodriguez, joined in.
On Tuesday, the Second Act star posted a photo of herself in workout clothes on Instagram, showing off her well-known abs. “Day 9 and feelin’… like I can’t wait for Day 10,” she wrote.
And while the challenge itself is very simple on paper (no carbs and no sugar), InStyle reported Lopez also cut out some fruits, condiments with added sugar, alcohol and dairy.
Is this healthy?
Registered dietitian Abbey Sharp of Abbey’s Kitchen told Global News these short-term challenges don’t work.
“I really hate any short-term ‘challenge’ that promises to help you lose weight, or ‘reset’ your metabolism,” she said.
“While you may lose a bit of weight because you’re cutting out a lot of processed foods temporarily, and shifting your body into a state of very temporary ketosis, much of that weight will be water weight, and you will absolutely gain it all back once you go back to eating normally again.”
She added this “challenge” will also set people up for a sugar binge the moment it is over.
“It’s the same concern I have with dieting and cheat days,” she continued. “It’s hard not to eat all the things the moment you’re let off your diet leash. The result is that, as with most restrictive diets, you may actually be heavier than where you started once those 10 days are up.”
Sharp said any clean-eating strategy or challenge is inherently really unhealthy.
“It requires you to completely ignore your body’s cues and often results in an obsessive relationship with food.”
“The key is to listen to your body rather than a set of arbitrary rules set out by a celebrity with no nutrition qualifications.”
In her own personal experience, Sharp’s obsession with clean eating in the past led to an eating disorder when she was a teen.
“These celebrity-driven detoxes and challenges are often a trigger for disordered eating.”
Carbs and sugar in particular
If you want to cut back on added or processed food with sugar or even processed carbs like white bread, it’s not about limiting them altogether, Sharp said, but rather choosing more satiating options.
“For example, rather than having a stir fry with white rice, you could swap half the rice with riced veggies or use a higher-fibre option like quinoa,” she explained. “Likewise, pairing your carb with a source of fat, or protein will also help to keep you satisfied longer.”
She recommends avocado toast with white beans to add protein and fibre, or egg whites in oatmeal to boost protein.
Carbs often get labelled as the enemy, but Sharp said this is not fact.
“Different people tend to respond well — physically and emotionally — to different ways of eating,” she continued. “For some, that may mean a higher fat regime that has their body running on ketones works well, and others may feel best eating lots of fresh fruit and carbs.”