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Ellie Goulding's 40-hour 'starvation' diet criticized but Beyoncé and Gwyneth Paltrow have had weirder ones

"I'm super healthy, I drink sometimes, eat whatever I want, and then I fast for one day a week. It is not starving myself. As far as people in the spotlight go I consider myself a good role model,” she said
UPDATED MAY 19, 2020
Ellie Goulding (Getty Images)
Ellie Goulding (Getty Images)

A couple of days ago, British singer-songwriter Ellie Goulding courted controversy after she revealed that she occasionally fasts for “up to 40 hours”, drinking only water, tea and coffee at that time in order to reduce inflammation. 

She said, “I do it very safely by having a purposefully nutritious food day the day before and after. On the fast day, I drink high-grade electrolytes and a lot of water (plus tea and coffee). Fasting is safe and beneficial unless you are diabetic or have serious health issues. I built my way up to 40-hour fasts over time. Fasting from time to time is a great way to give your digestive system a break.”

Her reveal led to much outrage, where people called her diet “starvation”, and an “eating disorder”. On Monday, May 18, Goulding responded to the outrage by taking to Twitter and writing, “I eat a seriously huge amount and exercise regularly. I'm super healthy, I drink sometimes, eat whatever I want, and then I fast for one day a week. It is not starving myself. As far as people in the spotlight go I consider myself a good role model.”

She added to another user, “Was asked about my health and fitness during an interview, and consider fasting for one day (plus the night- when I'm asleep) part of that. I do it safely and am incredibly fit and healthy. I'd say I'm a pretty decent role model.”

Goulding is not the first celebrity to embark upon a questionable diet. Earlier this year, in Netflix’s docuseries ‘The Goop Lab’, Gwyneth Paltrow and her employees at the “wellness” company went on weird food regimens. They tested their “biological ages” -- a measure of how well or poorly one’s body is functioning relative to one’s actual calendar age -- before and after trying different diets.

Paltrow opted for a five-day fast-mimicking diet developed by Valter D. Longo, an Italian-American biogerontologist and cell biologist known for his studies on the role of fasting and nutrient response genes on aging. While Paltrow’s expensive diet has not been proven to have any ill effects, her five-day journey looked less than comfortable on screen.

And while Paltrow did it to sell her brand, pop queen Beyoncé went on the Master Cleanse diet to prepare for her role in the 2006 film ‘Dreamgirls’. It’s an all-liquid diet of cayenne lemon water, and no solid food at all for at least 10 days. Proponents of this diet say that it melts fat and cleanses the body of toxins. Health experts, however, say that while it causes short-term weight loss, it's not a good long-term solution for weight loss or health.

And pop singer Lady Gaga was rumored to have taken on the baby food diet, a plan that replaces one’s first two meals of the day with Gerber’s baby food, followed by a healthy dinner. The fad diet started by celebrity trainer Tracy Anderson is largely believed by health experts to be a short-term fix rather than any kind of long-term regimen. It’s really difficult to eat just baby food, isn’t it?

The list of weird diets undertaken by celebrities is insanely long. One can only hope that what they choose to do (and by association, endorse) isn’t harmful.