The Air Diet: Why Eat When You Can Pretend!

By Mel Thomassian (RD)

Brace yourself for the silliest fad diet yet — it’s called the Air Diet!

A French-created weight loss plan where you consume, well you’ve probably guessed it, nothing at all!

The diet was apparently made popular by a Dolce & Gabbana campaign, which featured Madonna and other celebrities holding food up to their mouths, but not eating it.It’s been referred to as “L’Air Fooding.” Here is Grazia’s magazine spread on it:

1558-air diet.jpg

The rules are simple: eat nothing, except for the water and salt soup — yum!

You do however, get to go through all of the motions of eating — placing food on your plate, cutting it, putting it on your fork or spoon, holding it up to your lips, just don’t let it touch your mouth. In other words pretend to eat it.

I’m not sure if this is about fooling your body, or others, into thinking you’re actually eating something.

My main issue with fad diets in general is their potential to promote binge-eating, and a weight loss-regain cycle. Also, they generally encourage unhealthy messages about food, particularly for young women. But, the Air Diet doesn’t even come close to a diet!

I was honesty beginning to think this was a joke, but then I come across a similar practice known as breatharianism. A breatharian is:

A person who believes that it is possible, through meditation, to reach a level of consciousness where one can obtain all sustenance from the air or sunlight.

Now I’m simply amazed!


  1. Bobo

    Don’t do it it is starving yourself

  2. кιм

    but I am very tall I am 5ft5in tall

  3. кιм

    I weigh a lot and I at least want to reach 100 lbs

    • Tara

      Unless you’re under 5 feet tall, 100 lbs is an unnatural, unrealistic, and unhealthy weight.

  4. кιм

    I feel very fat and I plan to do the air weight loss diet plan I am 12 years old and I am 145lbs I hate how I look but I do not understand how this works

    • Ted

      Please don’t do this.

  5. Tamieka

    It’s nothing silly about it at all, It’s called water fasting, which has many health benefits.

    • person

      No, if you think that you probably have an eating disorder.

  6. Katonka

    So all those pleas for food and money in Africa are eronous….hmmm some people don’t realize how good there life is without food and money I guess we should all quit giving JUST EAT AIR??????.

  7. Laverne

    this isn’t a fad diet!!! Anorexia has been around for ages! Just ask Karen Carpenter…. Oh, wait…

  8. Sohini

    and do women hate food? it’s not about loving food or hating food …it’s about the social perception of what’s attractive. Since the men and women of our society think thinness makes a woman look good so women eat less. Since men and women of our society think muscular men are more attractive so men follow a different diet and work out regime. It’s not that women can’t be muscular by following the same regime as men … but they choose not to and their choice is positively sanctioned by the society.

    Women all over the world have a very complicated relationship with food. the people of Mauritania find thin women repulsive, and this sometimes results in women forcing themselves to consume more food than is healthy for them to.Some parents force feed their daughters to make them attractive to prospective grooms!

    In my own culture, the Indo-Bengali culture…until globalization brought the western concept of beauty into my society people valued women of “Dohara Chehara” which meant women who were well proportionate, not too thin but not huge either … say women with a rough vital stats of 34-32-36 (in inches).

    as long as women cut out on the junk and follow a healthy lifestyle i think we should be broadminded enough to let her have the figure that is healthy for her. Social perceptions of beauty as can be seen from the above examples are frivolous, changeable and a real pain for women.

    • Darla

      It’s not just women. There are alot of men with body image issues as well. It’s just not talked about

  9. John

    Im very glad to know that ur not harming urself in anyway and loseing weight normally.Thank you and keep it up.God has blessed you!!!

  10. seeker149

    Here’s an idea. How about just surgically installing a drainage tube in your stomach, then eat all you want and go dump it before it’s digested. Quick and easy purging without the tooth decay! Seriously, we need to stop with all the nutty ideas and just start using common sense and restraint. I’m one of many obese Americans, and my weight was getting dangerously out of hand (440+), but I finally decided to turn it around by getting regular exercise and eating sensibly. I’m neither starving with tiny meals nor killing myeslf on a treadmill, but I’m down 60 pounds in the past year and still going.

  11. Melanie | Dietriffic

    Yes, the mind boggles, doesn’t it? I really have NO idea!

  12. Melanie | Dietriffic

    It’s shocking isn’t it? Very scary indeed, and sad too.

  13. Sara

    Some of the fad diets that people beleive in are just, well, unbeleivable. I recently took a class and we discussed fad diets. It was very interesting. Some people go to real extremes just to lose weight. They eat cotton balls, tapeworms, and all sorts of stuff. I’ll stick to a regular program with real food to help out my situation.

  14. Don

    I tried this diet, but my dog died eating the leftovers.

  15. Myssy

    I’m curious…what do you do with the food you just ‘didn’t’ est….do you place it back on plate so you feel you can eat all day, or do you place it out of sight so you can convince yourself you made a ‘happy plate’?

  16. Ho hum

    That’s what they call “an eating disorder.” It can actually mess with your body, harmless as it might seem.

  17. areader

    Ok, I just cannot believe there are people around who actually believe this kind of thing!!!

  18. Jen106s

    Oh my, that is funny!

  19. Melanie | Dietriffic

    lol, that’s so funny!!!

  20. Murney

    I keep thinking about my 11 year old cousins, eh… passing wind… and shouting “AIR COOKIES, GET ‘EM WHILE THEY’RE HOT!”

  21. Yaz

    This “diet” has been around forever. It’s called anorexia.

  22. Melanie | Dietriffic

    Hi Lena,
    That’s really interesting, thanks for sharing.

  23. Melanie | Dietriffic

    Yes, what a waste of good food, it’s very sad indeed.

  24. Melanie | Dietriffic

    Really? I think I’ve heard of that before too, but I’ve never know anyone who admits to it. Is your husbands friend thin, or in need of a diet?

  25. Melanie | Dietriffic

    I don’t think I’d last past 2 days! And, I’d miss the eating experience too much.

  26. Melanie | Dietriffic

    Yes, have you read the book, French Women Don’t Get Fat, by Mireille Guiliano? It’s excellent — the ultimate non-diet book!

  27. Mike Howard

    Evidently, the diet is named after the creators head contents. Vraiment stupide.

  28. Lena

    Hello diet blog,
    I think it’s a basic french joke using the term “soupe”. Meaning a soup of all the bullshit you’ve been served as the last diet that did work with a random star. There’re other expressions like “soupe au lait” (to be milk soup = quick tempered), “soupe à la grimace” (face soupe= hostile reaction), soupe (mediocre pop music, incoherent text, bamboozling(?),…). I’m not fan of this kind of magazine. Anyway from my french point of view, I would call water-soup and air-diet any diet someone would try to sell me if unhealthy and/or too restrictive. The meaning is really obvious.
    I’m scared to know that the “breatharians” exist.

  29. dobner

    Sounds pretty goofy. At the same time, when one is on a diet, you are constantly reminded of what you are doing by the incessant hunger. That hunger could serve as a form of awareness that you have to remind yourself that you need to stop on top of your choices every minute.

    I am not sure though that that is what was intended by the air diet.

  30. EmpowerMePhotoGuy

    These fad diets are such a terrible idea, they might work for the first week or so but after that people just loose their empowerment and motivation because the strict rules are so hard to stick with! A good diet with exercise is the best way to go

  31. Jody - Fit at 52

    OK, to each their own BUT I just think this is weird! If it works for you, fine but for me, not so much! Are people paying to get this advice? I bet people would!

  32. ArrowSmith

    Don’t you know yogis are superior to us?

  33. ArrowSmith

    That’s weird to hear a man doing that. Men love food.

  34. EscapeFromFat

    Where does all this craziness end, And who in their right mind would give it a go?

    As for “breatharianism” I’ve heard of it before with Yogi’s in India. I don’t expect it’ll catch on much here in the western world.

  35. Ali Hale

    How bizarre! Why not just eat normal, healthy, tasty food? This seems like just another silly fad … and presumably quite an expensive one if you’re preparing food which you don’t eat.

  36. Spectra

    My husband’s friend does something similar to this…he chews food up and then spits it out. I suppose pretending to eat it is a little more glamourous. I wonder…if Madonna was seen doing it, was Tracy Anderson to blame for it? I wouldn’t be surprised; that woman is such a total flake

  37. Whip Weight Loss

    I’ve seen some strange fad diets before, but this is pretty wild.

    Of course, eating nothing will cause you to lose weight fast. Seriously, though, this practice would make the average person even MORE hungry, save the breatharians. I’m sure the success rate is pretty low.

    It makes me wonder how long you’re supposed to follow this diet. You wouldn’t even survive past a week, I would think.

    But yes, I agree with Z, above. Cut out the junk and reduce the portion sizes, and we’ll all be just fine.

    • Tamieka

      It’s really not that silly. It’s just another name for water fasting, which has many health benefits.

  38. Beth

    Isn’t it probably a bad idea to be constantly in the cephalic stage of digestion without progressing to any of the actual digesting phases?

  39. -Z-

    Whoever comes up with these “diets” are a-holes. What a way to buoy poor self esteem in women. French women eat. And they eat gloriously. They just don’t eat vast amounts of crap, like Americans. And that’s not just the French, that’s most Europeans. How about we eat better quality food, in normal quantities and go for a jog a couple times a week. Get your asses out of your cars and take a walk. Whoever advocates this stuff should get slapped.

  40. Steveodds

    Is this really can work? I do not think so. The better idea is to eat something really light and small – and wait until the brain will notice that it has just eaten and is not hungry anymore 🙂