The first Beverly Hills diet, published in 1981, is considered one of the first fad diets. Its successor, the New Beverly Hills diet, is less extreme and claims to be more balanced. The diet is based on the theory of “conscious food combining,” meaning that when you combine foods in the wrong way it causes you to gain weight.
The New Beverly Hills Diet: How It Works
According to the New Beverly Hills diet, when you combine protein foods with carbohydrate foods, your body has trouble digesting them, and the poorly digested foods turn into body fat. Fruits, which are digested more quickly than any other food, must be eaten alone. Fats can be eaten with carbohydrates or proteins, but proteins and carbohydrates must be eaten at different times.
The eating plan begins with a 35-day induction period during which you may go whole days eating only fruit. If your meal plan includes a carbohydrate, you will be done with fruit for that day. You can then eat carbohydrates as much as you want, but once you have protein, all your remaining meals for that day must be 80 percent protein.
“While the principle of food combining for weight loss has been around for a while, there is no science to support it. If you lose weight on the New Beverly Hills diet, it is because you are taking in less calories, not because of how you are combining your foods,” says dietitian Yvette Quantz, RD, a sports and lifestyle nutritionist at Food Therapy LLC in Lafayette, La.
The New Beverly Hills Diet: Sample Menu
The New Beverly Hills diet eating plan is based around fruit. Certain types of fruit are said to have special properties for your diet. For example, watermelon flushes your system, papaya softens your fat, and pineapple burns fat.
Here is a typical meal plan:
Breakfast. Start your day with one type of fruit such as dried apricots or pineapple, and you can eat as much as you want.
Lunch. For lunch you switch to other carbohydrates. You can have an avocado sandwich and plenty of lettuce, tomato, and sprouts.
Dinner. In the evening you might have rice with a variety of vegetables.
The New Beverly Hills Diet: Pros
“The pros for the New Beverly Hills diet are that you will be eating plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables and the diet is presented in a positive, motivational tone,” says Quantz.
Some other positive aspects include:
Recipes. You get a 35-day meal plan of recipes that are simple to prepare.
No calorie counting. The New Beverly Hills Diet does not count calories, so you can eat as much as you want within the rules.
Low-calorie and low-fat. The New Beverly Hills Diet is very low in fats and calories, so you will probably lose weight.
The New Beverly Hills Diet: Cons
On the negative side, this diet says you will lose up to 15 pounds during the induction period. That type of weight loss is not a good idea, says dietitian Karen Gibson, RD, of the University of Texas Medical School in Houston. “Anyone who wants to lose weight needs to adjust their personal expectations to what is really achievable safely. That is no more than two pounds per week.”
Both dietitians also say that the Beverly Hills diet is:
Short on exercise. “There is no emphasis on exercise, which could set up dieters for long-term failure,” warns Quantz. This is because weight loss comes from burning up more calories than you take in.
Long on rules. “There are lots of rules to follow that may make staying with this meal plan unrealistic,” says Quantz.
Low on nutrition. The Beverly Hills diet is very low in calories and may not provide enough protein to avoid loss of muscle mass.
The New Beverly Hills Diet: Short- and Long-Term Effects
Even though the New Beverly Hills diet is more balanced than the original version, and you may lose some weight over the short term, most experts agree that this meal plan is just not nutritious enough for any long-term benefits. The diet does not provide you with any long-term guidelines either, and the theory of food combining has not been scientifically proven to result in weight loss.
“The problem with The New Beverly Hills diet, and other fad diets, is that they just don’t work,” says Gibson. “These diets require you to eat in a way that is too different from your normal eating pattern. Some base their diet on unproven claims that certain chemical reactions are needed for weight loss. Others use names which appeal to your emotions and have nothing scientific to back up their claims. Some are designed to be followed for only a short period of time. Then what do you do?”
Quantz and Gibson agree that a long-term diet solution requires educating yourself about nutrition and exercise and taking responsibility for creating your own healthy meal plans.