Last spring, the British tabloid Heat wrote that Lady Gaga “has embarked on a dangerous ‘baby food diet’ in a bid to stay slim.” The rumor was quickly squashed by Gossip Cop, who confirmed with one of the star’s reps that it’s “not true.” Other celebrities reported to have done the diet include Reese Witherspoon and Jennifer Aniston, but we have yet to see any confirmation of these rumors.
Nonetheless, the “Goo Diet,” created by Madonna’s trainer Tracy Anderson, is seeing a resurgence as bathing suit season hits. The Daily Mail reported that baby food sales have spiked by 20 percent in the UK. The basic idea is that you substitute jars of baby food for solid meals. One version recommends eating 14 jars per day, and another plan recommends adding a healthy dinner at the end of the day.
While some claim that you can lose as much as 20 pounds in six weeks on this diet, health experts say the fad diet is far from healthy.
“The baby food diet has several issues in my opinion,” says Stacy Goldberg, R.N. and Chief Nutritionist for Daily Gourmet. She says the diet will work in the short term, because it can drastically cut calories, but that it’s not sustainable and that any weight lost will be quickly gained back. “People that are trying these diets are probably eating under 1,200 calories a day, which can, long term, be harmful for your metabolism.”
On one hand, baby food seems healthy. It’s often simply made from fruits and vegetables and has few other additives. However, baby food lacks nutritional components key to an adult’s diet. “The number one nutritional deficiency that I would see is that they would have a lack of dietary fiber,” Goldberg told DietsInReview. Goldberg says a lack of vitamin D, iron and B vitamins can be a concern, depending on what kinds of baby foods people choose.
Most people will probably get bored with the baby food diet and give up before they really do much damage to their health. “How long can people really eat baby food?” asks Goldberg with a laugh.
What’s more worrisome than the baby food diet itself is the cycle created by crash dieting and binging. After an extended period of time of consuming less than 1,200 calories, the body starts to shut down. “It’s going to store all of those calories and not use them as energy,” explains Goldberg. “Someone may do a crash diet, they may go back to eating normally, and next time they continue to diet, may have a harder time losing weight because basically their metabolism is turned upside down.”