Editor & Fact Checker
What Is The Beverly Hills Diet?
The Beverly Hills Diet is a method of weight loss that promotes a regime of measuring which foods are consumed when and in which combinations. It was first developed by Judy Mazel, a formerly overweight author, who was the first person to embark on the diet.
The Beverly Hills diet plan has since been made into a book that was published by Macmillan Publishing in 1981 and spent 30 weeks on the New York Times Bestselling list, selling over a million copies. Judy Mazel claimed that the beverly hills diet would help people to lose at least 10-15 pounds in 5 weeks. The program has since been updated in 1996 and renamed as "The New Beverly Hills Diet".
The creator of the Beverly Hills Diet claimed that it was not certain kinds of foods or the volume consumed that caused weight gain, but the combination in which they were eaten (Judy Mazel had no nutritional training, education or qualifications and many scientists and health professionals have refuted her claims).
How Does The Beverly Hills Diet Work?
While the original Beverly Hills diet essentially involved followers consuming nothing more than vast amounts of fruit, the 1996 update turned the diet into a 2-stage system:
Stage One: The Induction Phase Plan
The Induction Phase is supposed to ‘reset’ your body and help it get used to eating a large volume of fruit. This meal plan phase involves eating unlimited quantities of only the foods laid out in the Induction Phase menu plan.
The foods must be eaten in the order in which they appear, with a minimum of one hour between each food of the same food group (for example dried apricots and pineapple) and two hours for foods of different food groups (for example papaya and steak).
Induction Phase Menu Plan:
- Day 1: Pineapple, corn on the cob, salad.
- Day 2: Prunes, strawberries, baked potato.
- Day 3: Grapes.
- Day 4: Dried apricots, salad, pasta.
- Day 5: Pineapple, papaya.
- Day 6: Papaya, steak, shrimp.
- Day 7: Pineapple, salad.
- Day 8: Grapes.
- Day 9: Prunes, strawberries, chicken (or turkey).
- Day 10: Dried apricots, papaya, pineapple.
- Day 11: Watermelon.
- Day 12: Dried apricots, avocado sandwich, veggies with rice.
- Day 13: Grapes, two bananas.
- Day 14: Pineapple, strawberries, binge day with discretion.
- Day 15: Pineapple, salad.
- Day 16: Dried apricots, pineapple, papaya.
- Day 17: Watermelon.
- Day 18: Figs, dessert, choice of protein.
- Day 19: Mango, pineapple, asparagus, potatoes.
- Day 20: Kiwi, binge day with discretion, limited protein.
- Day 21: Pineapple, two bananas.
- Day 22: Cherries, special bedtime treat.
- Day 23: Prunes, sandwich, choice of fish or other protein.
- Day 24: Pineapple, papaya.
- Day 25: Watermelon.
- Day 26: Free day.
- Day 27: Free Day.
- Day 28: Pineapple, papaya.
- Day 29: Watermelon or grapes.
- Day 30: Prunes, vegetable sandwich, choice of carbs.
- Day 31: Orange juice, melon, choice of sandwich with protein.
- Day 32: Protein.
- Day 33: Pineapple, two bananas.
- Day 34: Pineapple, papaya.
- Day 35: Watermelon or grapes.
Stage Two: The Conscious Combining Phase
There are a few rules to the Conscious Combining Phase of the Beverly Hills Diet which cannot be broken if the follower wants to lose weight.
1. Eat The Fruit First
Judy Mazel recommended that dieters consume as much fruit as they like as the first food group of the day. Portion sizes are unlimited - dieters could eat three pineapples or ten bananas, for example- but only one type of fruit per hour. This means that if someone ate oranges, they would have to wait at least one hour after they had finished eating the oranges before consuming another kind of fruit.
Once you have finished eating fruit and moved onto eating something else, you cannot consume fruit for the rest of the day and you should wait at least two hours between the fruit and carbohydrate stages. Judy Mazel claimed that eating fruit first thing was essential to maintaining a healthy digestive system.
There is a kernel of truth in this logic - fruit contains plenty of fibre that will help maintain a healthy digestive system- but eating it first thing in the morning is unnecessary, and excessive fruit consumption can actually cause weight gain due to the large amounts of sugar in some fruits. Bizarrely, red and white wine are treated as fruits in the Beverly Hills Diet.
2. Eat Carbohydrates Next
After you have had your fill of fruit for the day, dieters can then move on to eating carbohydrate. This includes vegetables and starches such as bread and pasta.
An example of a carbohydrate meal on the Beverly Hills diet would be something like baked potatoes with broccoli, carrots and corn on the cob. Mixing fat with carbohydrate is acceptable, so having some butter on the baked potato and corn would be in-keeping with the nutrition plan.
Once you consume some protein (even if it is just milk in your coffee) you need to stop eating carbohydrates and move onto the protein stage of the day. You should wait at least two hours between protein and carbohydrate stages.
3. Eat Protein Next
After you have consumed fruit followed by your fill of carbohydrates, protein is the next food group to be eaten.
This could be a surf ‘n’ turf style meal of steak and shrimp, or a crab and lobster pate. Mixing fat with protein is acceptable, so frying your protein sources in oil or butter would be in-keeping with the nutrition plan.
Once you have eaten protein, you must:
- Wait at least two hours before eating carbohydrates.
- Ensure that 80% of the rest of your day’s food is protein.
- Not eat any fruit for the rest of the day.
Other Rules of the Beverly Hills Diet
Along with the fruit based Induction Phase and the Conscious Combining Phase, there are a few other rules that dieters must stick to:
- Avoid trans and most saturated fats which may slow digestion.
- You must not consume caffeine in any form at any stage.
- You must not consume any artificial sweeteners.
- Champagne is a ‘neutral’ food and can be drunk with anything.
- You must not consume artificial additives (including flavors, colors and preservatives) at any stage.
- You must not consume artificial fat spreads such as margarine at any stage.
Criticism & Controversy
In 1981 the Journal of the American Medical Association published an article talking about the dangers of the original Beverly Hills diet. It called it “the latest, and perhaps worst, entry in the diet-fad derby.” The updated version has also been criticized- David W. Grotto, a spokesman for the American Dietetic Association, said on WebMD.com that “sustaining the diet...would be a concern because of a lack of nutritional adequacy,” as well as “I would almost lump [the] dietary program in with the obscure and useless programs—like Alexander the Great’s nothing-but-alcohol diet. It’s nutritionally incomplete and there’s better programs out there.”
Eating only fruit does not provide all the nutrients one needs for a healthy diet, and eating in a large calorie deficit will promote muscle wastage which has a negative effect on metabolism long term. Furthermore consuming high amounts of sugar can contribute to a number of health problems, and is not suitable for many people including those with diabetes and other conditions, or pregnant or breastfeeding women.
This weight loss plan is a fad diet that may cause weight loss from increased digestive transit (including diarrhea) from consuming excessive amounts of fruit, combined with the effects of a low calorie intake due to the unappealing nature of meals in which food groups cannot be combined.
It is not scientifically supported and has been widely criticized for the creator’s poor understanding of nutritional science as well as potentially dangerous side effects. The plan also fails to educate its followers on sustainable healthy lifestyle changes, meaning that regaining the weight lost during the diet is highly likely.
A much better alternative to this diet would be to consume a healthy, balanced diet high in vegetables and undertake a regular exercise plan.