Should you eat like Kim Kardashian or Gigi Hadid? Expert debunks 6 celeb health fads

The 'healthy Coke' trend was popularised by Amanda Jones.
The 'healthy Coke' trend was popularised by Amanda Jones.
Getty Images/tongpatong
  • Several health and diet trends have been adopted by celebrities, leading thousands of people to follow in their footsteps.
  • However, while you may feel these health fads will work for you, experts may not necessarily agree.
  • In this article, a public health nutritionist breaks down six trends popularised by stars and advises which ones to avoid.

From Gigi Hadid's spicy vodka pasta to Dwayne Johnson's coconut banana pancakes, celebrity health trends have certainly influenced how many of us think about food and dieting. 

But with so many health trends out there, it's hard to know which are actually good for us and which we should avoid. And, just because a famous face promotes a certain trend, doesn't necessarily mean health experts recommend it.

READ MORE | Celebrity diets and food fads have been around for centuries – and some of them even worked

Founder of plant-powered drinks brand Plenish, Kara Rosen says: "It's important to know the full health impacts of dieting trends before you start. As we've found, a lot of these celebrity health trends could be made even healthier and don't necessarily come with warnings against who should and shouldn't consume them. Generally, you can't go wrong with plant-based meals but make sure you always check the ingredients used and consume only in moderation." 

Bhuvaneshwari Gupta, public health nutritionist who specialises in plant-based diets and nutrition for young children and adolescents, spoke to Plenish about whether we should be following these celebrity health trends and if so, how to follow them the right way.

Healthy Coke by Amanda Jones | #healthycoke: 87.9M views

A video tutorial for this low-sugar alternative to Coca-Cola was shared by Amanda Jones in June this year and involved using a "splash" of balsamic vinegar and "any sparkling beverage" in a glass with ice to create a drink that shares a resemblance to Coke. Pretty soon, thousands of TikTokers turned to these two ingredients to get a taste of the latest viral trend.

However, Gupta cautions that vinegar is acidic, and any form of it can potentially erode dental enamel if there is prolonged exposure.

"The drink otherwise has no sugar and is definitely a better alternative to Coke if consumed in moderate quantities," she adds. As another good alternative, plain, fresh water is the best beverage, she says.

Gigi Hadid’s Spicy Vodka Pasta | #gigihadidpasta:  336.6M views

In early 2020, Gigi Hadid posted a recipe for spicy vodka pasta sauce on her Instagram Stories, and it quickly kicked off.

According to Gupta, this pasta dish is rich in refined carbohydrates and low in fibre, as there are no vegetables added. "The added cream can be very high in saturated fat and can be made healthier by swapping the regular pasta for wholewheat pasta or lentil pasta," she advises.

Different nut butters like cashew butter or low-fat cream can be used instead of regular cream, and some vegetables can be added. To make the dish more wholesome, try throwing in more protein options, such as tofu or lentils.

Hailey Bieber's Smoothie - #haileybiebersmoothie: 8.1M views

Hailey Bieber kicked off a tasty viral trend this year after she collaborated with California-based grocery chain Erewhon on a nutrient-packed, "skin-supporting" strawberry smoothie. This fast led to DIY versions going viral on TikTok. 

Says Gupta: "Smoothies are a great way to get a filling snack in a hurry, and this one has a good blend of fruits, protein, and good fats (avocado). When making a smoothie, always consider how much fruit you are adding, as when blended, it breaks down into simple sugars, which can spike your insulin levels and potentially leave you feeling hungry."

READ MORE | Kim Kardashian's dramatic weight loss has health experts worried

She adds that not all commercial types of almond milk are good sources of vitamin E or zinc, compared to eating real almonds, which are high in protein, fibre, vitamin E, calcium and zinc. "Moreover, not all protein supplements are safe for pregnant and breastfeeding women and also people with certain underlying health conditions like kidney disorders," she says.

Dwayne Johnson's Coconut Banana Pancakes - #djsinfamouscoconutbananapancakes: 4.5k views

In March last year, Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson took to Twitter to share his famous coconut banana pancake recipe, created by Chef Puttie. It includes maida, coconut milk, coconut flakes, banana, butter, peanut butter and everything yummy. 

But, according to Gupta, this dish can be "very high in calories and fat". The main ingredient is plain flour, which is low in fibre, she says. You could turn to alternatives such as wheat or millet flour to replace white flour. "And the saturated fat content can be reduced by using oil in the place of butter or coconut oil," she says.

Lizzo's Nature's Cereal: 3.9M views

Last year, TikTok user Sherwayne Mears shared a recipe for what he called "nature's cereal": coconut water poured over pomegranate seeds, strawberries, blueberries and blackberries.

"... the number one thing that I notice when I eat this is the energy level. The energy level is through the roof. I literally felt like I could run a marathon," the TikToker said in the video.

Lizzo decided to try "nature's cereal" and shared her own attempt at making what she described as the "Coconut Water Berry Breakfast Cereal" on TikTok. "I'm addicted, y'all," the singer said between slurps. "It's really so good."

Evidence shows that eating at least five portions of a variety of fruits and vegetables has significant health benefits for everyone, and Lizzo's 'nature's cereal' can help towards that, says Gupta. "However, breakfast, especially for children and people with high nutrition needs like pregnant and breastfeeding women, needs to also provide proteins, calcium and more calories that may not be achieved by this [meal]," she adds.

Kim Kardashian's Chia Pudding - #kimkardashianchiapudding: 1.1M views

If there's one way you can keep up with this Kardashian, it's by following her viral chia pudding recipe from TikTok.

In an episode of The Kardashians on Hulu, Kim was spotted eating a chia seed pudding for breakfast. It didn't take long before TikTok became the go-to for users to share their own take on the breakfast treat. Here's what Gupta has to say about Kim's go-to vegan pudding:

"Chia seeds are healthy as they are a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, fibre, protein, calcium, phosphorus and zinc, and can be part of a healthy diet. However, there is some caution to exercise, especially for very young children or people who have dysphagia, which causes difficulty in swallowing or other digestive issues."

READ MORE | Chrissy Teigen has given up on diet culture

Gupta says it's safer to consume chia seeds in moderate quantities, preferably in soaked or moist form and not dry. "This is because chia seeds in their dry state can quickly swell after absorbing water from the surrounding, and this can cause rare but potentially dangerous choking-related issues," she says.

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