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:
- 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
- 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)
- A sexy title named after a city: Before there was South Beach, The Hamptons and Sonoma, there was Beverly Hills.
- A dose of insecurity about being overweight (or in this case “not skinny”)
What makes this diet so shady?
- 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.
- 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.
- According to the diet, papaya softens body fat, pineapple burns it off and watermelon flushes it out of the body. Discuss…
The 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)