Beverly Hills Diet: Author Dies Aged 63

By Mike Howard

i-2223827f51cd54e266f200de59bc6c1d-db beverly hills diet.jpg

In 1981 Judy Mazel released the Beverly Hills Diet and a marketing juggernaut was born. She died recently of complications relating to peripheral vascular disease.

The million+ selling book blazed a trail for countless other fad diets that continue to plague today’s bookshelves. The Beverly Hills diet cast the mold of which other faddish diets have followed. Here is the basic formula:

  1. Pseudo-scientific theories: In this case, it is not how much you eat or what you eat, but when you eat and what you eat together
  2. A few celebrity testimonials: Engelbert Humperdink (not convinced he’s a “better man” after this diet), Jack Nicholson (he couldn’t handle the truth), Maria Shriver (first lady, last 25 pounds) and Jodie Foster (her Yale degree is in literature, not science)
  3. A sexy title named after a city: Before there was South Beach, The Hamptons and Sonoma, there was Beverly Hills.
  4. A dose of insecurity about being overweight (or in this case “not skinny”)

What makes this diet so shady?

  1. Very low calories – about 800, but will vary as dieters have free access to fruit in during certain times. The diet is very low in protein and deficient in nutrients.
  2. Outlandish “rules” based on lousy science: The diet recommends eating fruit by itself and never eating protein with carbohydrates lest your food become undigested and converted into body fat. Here’s why my BS meter just went off;

    To be stored as fat, a food must be broken down into its building blocks and passed from the intestines into the bloodstream. Any undigested food would be eliminated. Our digestive systems are well equipped to handle foods in a variety of combinations.

  3. According to the diet, papaya softens body fat, pineapple burns it off and watermelon flushes it out of the body. Discuss…

i-a6f9ac6f2d54c9cd3511f97f834b0e36-beverlyhills.jpgThe most recent incarnate of the diet (The New Beverly Hills Diet – 1996) is less restrictive, but clings to the foods-in-isolation concept. The author seemed to have forgotten that the diet didn’t work in the first place, but perhaps remembered that it made boatloads of money.

Now I don’t want to speculate as to what specifically caused Judy Mazel’s ailment, but it does make one wonder when a diet guru dies of an ailment caused by atherosclorosis.

Sources includes ediets website (www.ediets.com)

110 Comments

  1. George

    I was on this diet in 1991 for a little over two weeks. I implemented powerwalking in conjunction with the diet and has lost 28 pounds – I was amazed. All I did was continue drinking water and do powerwalking and could eat anything I wanted after that

    Reply
  2. Susan Saunders

    What I remember about the basic theory of the diet, which was not covered in the original post, was that the stomach holds food for different kinds of food for different lengths of time. Fruit and veg was the least, then carbs, then proteins, which as far as what I know is true. What the theory proposes is that if you eat a fruit with a protein the stomach will hold all the food until the protein has been sufficiently broken down and the fruit is left there to turn to sugars. Maybe it’s all bs but I liked it then and it worked for me.
    I followed this diet for almost a year back in the eighties and for me it worked great, I lost the weight I needed to and really enjoyed the fruit. I remember feeling great but I was young then – haha.
    I have been thinking about going back on it as now I have gained what feels like a ton of weight and I am far too fat. Now I’m thinking about the delicious salad dressing recipe that was in the book. Wow, I wish I still had the book, it disappeared during one of my many moves.

    Reply
    • Deb

      I followed the diet in the 80’s,lost the weight ,inches where I had difficulty doing with other diets.I loved the fruits,having a strict regimen yet mostly unlimited am out of foods allowed.I have kept my weight off,all thanks to the diet,which I use every time I overeat and gain a few lbs.

      Reply
  3. mezo

    hey everybody,

    im asking about coffee if it could be at morning when wake up first and then eating fruits? i mean is it allowed to drink coffee and tea without sugar any time in the day without leaving 2 hrs in between??? thank you

    Reply
    • Deb

      Anytime,any amount of black coffee ,tea or decaf. I used to put a piece of my fruit in it to sweeten but didn’t mind the bkack coffe.The fruit satisfied the sweet desire!

      Reply
  4. Donna

    By the way, how can yo say “very little calories”? 800? If you understand the diet then you know that yo umay eat “all you want” of the type of food at the time of day prescribed, then wait in between changing foods or types of foods. I ate SO much on this diet.

    Reply
  5. Donna

    My local library still has a copy of the original: check your library.

    Reply
  6. Donna

    Do the original (1981)diet. It is almost all raw if you use the basic plan.

    Reply
  7. Donna

    I tried the diet in 1985 after my 60 year old mother lost 22 pounds in 15 days! As promised: lose 20 pounds in 14 days! It was wonderful! We love fruit, and summer is the best time to do this. The second week re-introduces foods like corn and butter and salad. My daughter went on it for a week to drop a dress size for prom, and lost 8 pounds, and I did it to lose 10 pounds and it took me a week, though I exercised almost every day, which my mother didn’t. Three generations, all lost weight as promised, loved the diet and ate more food than I ever usually eat on this diet. I am now a personal trainer and I have introduced clients to it. It isn’t for a permanent solution, and, truthfully, I don’t know anyone who has done it for the full 35 days(!), but what makes dieters fail is seeing no results in the beginning. This diet does what it promises, though there is some lack of energy to work out the last few days on the 14 day diet. I will go on the NEW one for a week after New Year’s to lose the Holiday weight, and will let you know how it goes!

    Reply
  8. Sanet

    Hi Carol

    What is allowed to drink in the first weeks of the diet?

    Thanks
    Sanet

    Reply
  9. all raw?

    Hey there Stacy.. Are you still doing this diet? If so, are you raw? I would like to do this diet but stay raw, what do you do on bread and meat days???? It says you have to follow it exactly but can I just do salads with avocado, nut butter or something instead instead??? And still get good results? If anyone can answer this that would be great

    Reply
    • Deb

      You can substitute using the list included in the book.As long as you stay within the category,fruit,vegetables, complex carbs,animal proteins,nuts…it’s easy to exchange!

      Reply
  10. cp

    This diet is fantastic. The ignorance of those who make negative comments about Judy is not worth a second thought. Our nation is huge and sick because we don’t eat enough fruit (I eat atleast 1000 calories from fruit every morning and I’m 5’6″, size 2), eat too many processed foods, and miscombine our meals 3 times+ a day. Judy was ahead of her time in every way as a health specialist-also she could really help people who struggle with eating disorders as most of this stems from dieting/carbohydrate deprivation. I’ve read just about every diet book out there and this one slams them all. On this way of life-I can eat an average of 2500 calories a day and my skin, energy, and elimination (tmi) are perfect. Protein shakes, atkins, WW, low glycemic index, ect are designed to keep people carbohydrate deprived and depressed. God Bless you Judy!

    Reply
    • Cathie

      You are so right!!! IT WORKS and you feel wonderful!!!! Must be a reason it was on the best sellers list!!!

      Reply
    • eater ow

      I love this diet. I eat fruit in the day and an open every night…..sometimes eating upwards of 3000 calories a day. I am a runner and size 3. What do you eat on this? How much.

      Reply
  11. anonomous from NH

    It’s 2011 and I have done this diet on and off and always have lost whatever weight I wanted to get rid of. usually i do 2 weeks and then just eat fruit all morning followed by a balanced meal.

    to all the critics of the “facts” and skepticisms; this diet is not far off from being a vegan, or vegetarian. If you alter it by adding vegan proteins, or organic meats (no salt, no preservatives) you are not far off from a vegetarian-gluten free, organic “life-style.”

    Still not impressed? That might have more to do with being an American. Look at other cultures. I have never left the US and was born here, however I work with a woman from China who fasts one day per week, and eats a very similar diet with rice almost every day. (Not Western rice, but rice that still have husk) Anyway, in short, check out raw diet “lifestyles” or organic food and reducing processed sugary, preservative laden diets.

    This diet is much more healthy for our bodies, much more healthy than some danagerous medical procedure, and should be a routine built into our year. there is too much food on the shelves with processed unhealthy additives. Anyone still not convinced should really educate themselves about it. There is credible information is out there. You dont have to be a doctor or a scientist to make the assessment yourself.

    Reply
    • Deb

      I agree!It is healthier to eat fresh fruits,vegetables and all foods & you are more conscientious of when & what you eat on this diet.I really believe it has helped me manage Fibromyalgia for almost 40 years!I eat fruit ever morning,sometimes throughout the day,follow the basic rules,eat salads,veggies,then my proteins,most days.If I do splurge & gain a few,all I do is 1 or 2 days to lose it.Healthy ,real,fresh,unprocessed,unaltered foods are recommended along with vitamin packed nutrition food supplements.Nothing wrong with this!I’m doing it for 40 years!

      Reply
  12. Deeksha

    hi baytovn..hope u doing well..i want to tlk to u regarding the BEVERLY HILLS DIET..plz talk to me..God bless….

    Reply
  13. Marty Butler

    Hi, Very sorry to hear about Judy, I met her at the Boca Raton resort in 1997. I read her book and went on the diet and lost 15 pounds in 5 weeks. She then told her company of my weight loss and they flew me out to Ca for an infomerical. It was great and I enjoyed the diet. I will miss her and great personality.
    RIP Judy Mazel

    Reply
    • Deb

      Wow!That must have been an exciting experience for you! I lost weight on this diet in the 8p’s,when it first came out!I’m a nurse,read the book it made sense…plus no harmful drugs,all pute,natural food…harmless!The results were amaxing!I lost 20 lbs that were as easy as waking up !Each day was something to look forward to…I gained energy,self esteem,a sense of accomplishmental & most of all,feeding my body…my Fibromyalgia symptoms were under control.People are still asking me how after 40 years,I maintain my youthful figure & appearance …skin ,hair,nails,vitality…I owe it all to the fresh,tropical fruits,vegetables & conscientious way of eating I learned from Judy Mazel!Nothing else ever worked!I loooooove eating all I want!If I do splurge on dessert, I just eat pineapple the next day for most of the day,a large mixed green,veg,salad for evening,all night long…!Weight gone!Rest in peace,Judy…thank you!

      Reply
  14. Rosie

    I would love to know of a forum for other BHD supporters. I have just started my first day on the diet today. The first time I tried this diet in 2000 I lost over 30 lbs. I am looking forward to losing that amount or more for my daughter’s wedding in May. I can hardly wait for any words of wisdom that you can offer me.

    Thank you,

    Reply
  15. Stacey

    January 25 2011

    It is amazing that as many years go by people still refer to this diet!! I love it!! For raw foodists everywhere it is a helpful begining if you are engaging in that life style. I tried this diet when I bought the origional book at a book sale in 2004. I was at my highest weight ever 209. Three months later I weighed in at 148!! For all the skeptics out there- this is a godsend for diet beginers and you do not feel deprived at all. I wish I could find my origional copy of the book. I have had 2 children since I was last on this diet. I am done breastfeeding and she is 1 now and I can restart this diet with a vengeance. I cannot wait. I weigh 193 and look forward to losing even more.
    To Carol: I have worked in the medical field as a MLT for many years and I just want to say don’t take to heart what people say, you know as well as her faithful followers know that her diet had nothing to do with strokes. That is a condition that is hard to control.

    Reply
  16. Snowpeas

    08 January 2011
    Having read all the blog on Judy I’m very sad to hear that she passed away and if people take the time to read her book it isn’t a fad diet but an eating philosophy that attunes the thinking person to understanding food and their own body. It isn’t a starvation diet. I used this diet in the 80s and lost the weight I need to and learnt so much – I have followed the philosophy of eating. In the first 6 weeks which uses fruit a lot one can eat as much as one wants any way – no reason to go hungry or count calories!
    Judy has made a huge contribution to improving lives and she should be acknowledged for it and her work celebrated.

    Reply
  17. sara

    hi ,first of all i give My condolences to you it was really a shoke to me since i just knew now about her death on december 2010 its like 3 years ago!!! i still cant believe it cause i just bought her book few months ago and i was just trying to find any thing about her wheather it was her email or her picture and i just found out that she is dead its really a big lost,second thing i just wanted to know if you are realy judy sister ? and if you were her sister did she realy died because of her own diet?

    Reply
  18. faith moore

    Cannot believe she passed. I loved her books, did the diet, lost weight…lots…that was in the 80’s……her books taught me a philosophy for food…….I have used all the tools she gave me in her first book…….I use the recipes to this day………God Bless her for all she gave.her research & information is very simple and practical. I love her. Blessings to her family, Faith

    Reply
  19. Leo

    This diet is extremely effective for losing about 20 pounds in the first two weeks. I find it difficult to stick to for longer than that, but it really gets the job done – and as long as you eat moderately afterwards, it’s not hard to keep the weight off that you lost.

    Reply