Claiming a 10-15 pound loss in 35 days, the Beverley Hills diet plan quickly shot to fame and grabbed headlines. Devised by actress Judy Mazel, who has written several books on the subject, the Beverley Hills Diet plan operates on the unproven belief that weight loss can be achieved by eating specific foods at the same time or in a certain order each day.
It recommends eating fruit by itself and in the first 10 days of the eating plan fruit is, in fact, the only food that can be eaten. On day 11, carbohydrates and butter are allowed and on day 19, protein is added. A limited number of high fat treats are also permitted but, in general, dairy products and meats are severely restricted.
A main strand of the philosophy behind the Beverley Hills diet plan is that any food the body doesn't digest properly will turn to fat. To assist the digestive process, it insists that protein should never be eaten with carbohydrates. However, conventional science maintains that the body has been designed to get rid of undigested food by eliminating it as waste matter.
This highly structured eating plan became popular among people who felt the need for clear cut instructions rather than advice, and who also disliked counting calories, or weighting out portions of food before each meal. Its status increased when word spread that several Hollywood stars were on it.
Initial weight loss can be impressive but many experts believe that it is dangerously low in protein and several essential vitamins and minerals. In addition, it makes several unscientific assumptions about the way the human body uses food as a fuel and the role certain foods play in the digestive processes. For example, it is suggested that certain fruits create specific reactions within the body: papaya softens fat, pineapple burns it off, and watermelon flushes it out.
As the range of foods allowed is so restricted it is possible that it may cause health problems if followed rigorously for prolonged periods. Dieters have reported diarrhoea as a side effect.