Eating zero carbs and sugar definitely doesn't sound enjoyable, but whether it's healthy or not is another matter.

Isadora Baum

Photo: Dimitrios Kambouris / Getty

You may have heard of the 10-day diet that A-Rod and J.Lo tried out earlier this year in January to start the year off fresh and to "reset" their bodies. And to be clear, it was quite the challenge, as it cuts out all carbs and sugars. (Not so fun, right?)

Now though, it seems like the premise of the diet might have come from the 2014 bestselling book, The Blood Sugar Solution 10-Day Detox Diet: Activate Your Body's Natural Ability to Burn Fat and Lose Weight Fast, by Mark Hyman, MD, the medical director at Cleveland Clinic's Center for Functional Medicine.

As explained on Hyman's website, the 10-day diet is supposed to "help you break addictions to sugar and processed foods-while feeling healthier and losing weight." With the 10-day challenge, Dr. Hyman sets participants up with resources to prepare themselves and their kitchens, offers support throughout the 10 days, and provides a plan for how to transition into a long-term plan that works for their needs. He also has recipes, if you need some help finding something tasty to eat. The 10-day "detox" consists of removing added sugars (including all non-caloric sweeteners), gluten, grains, dairy, legumes, vegetable oils, alcohol, caffeine, and processed foods.

"This looks similar to some other lengthier resets, and I think this way of eating is a great way to help people jumpstart their health and feel better in the process," says Sam Presicci (MCN, RD, LD, CPT), Lead Registered Dietitian at Snap Kitchen.

Related: Here's What Jennifer Aniston Eats in a Day-Is it Healthy?

Where it might be good?

When you think about it, sure, cutting out all carbs and sugar is going to slash calories and help you lose weight fast. You're also giving up booze, which helps you slash pounds. So, yes it might be effective. In fact, some people have even "thrived" on it, claiming the 10 days helped them better understand their body, and establish healthier habits. It also has excellent reviews on Amazon, where customers have been pleased with the book's information and results. It makes sense: if you are cutting down on drinking, processed foods, and added sugars, you likely will feel less bloated, have more energy, and just feel better all around.

"All of the foods he recommends cutting out for 10 days can be inflammatory for people, and they're also foods most people eat to excess without even realizing it," says Presicci. "Removing them for a period of time can be a great way to see how these different foods impact you, and also how you feel without them." What's more, there's a sense of community and a mindset in making healthy changes. "This is critical, since we often set people up to fail by harping on nutrition without realizing the other limiting factors in habit change," she adds.

But one of the troubles with the diet is that it's hard to sustain-and temporary changes are not nearly as important as long-term success. To be fair, J.Lo and A-Rod did trim down, but even J.Lo said that it wasn't a sustainable diet. And experts have other concerns as well.

Where it's not so great after all...

"This diet fosters all or nothing thinking," says Suzanne Dixon, RD a registered dietitian with The Mesothelioma Center in Orlando, Florida. "It is exactly this type of thinking that puts many people on a cycle of yo-yo dieting... restrict, go wild eating everything you just restricted, then restrict again, then go wild again in response, and the cycle repeats, over and over and over."

Sure, a few people have the ability to severely restrict food intake and return to a more normalized pattern of eating, but for most of us mere mortals (myself included!), this sort of restriction can lead to binging and long-term, destructive dieting behavior. "Even worse, for people susceptible to, or with a history of, eating disorders, a 'diet detox' or 'body reset diet' can lead to serious disordered eating and rebound binge eating," she says. So, if you've had a history of yo-yo dieting, definitely steer clear.

This diet fosters "good" food vs. "bad" food thinking, and in reality, digging into a bowl of fruit for some natural sweetness or drinking coffee with a touch of half and half and sugar isn't going to derail a healthy eating plan. Even the occasional donut should be allowed!

"True peace with food and a healthy enjoyment of food as part of everyday life comes from listening to your body, eating when you are hungry, stopping when you are full and enjoying a wide variety of foods. It can be very difficult to maintain a body weight that is healthy and right for you when you're cycling through periods of severe food restriction," says Dixon.

And nothing you do in 10 days will give you J-lo's abs. That takes a lot of exercise, and often years of work. "The diet fosters unrealistic expectations of what 10 days of food restriction will do for the average person," says Dixon. If you didn't have chiseled abs to begin with, a mere 10 days of dietary torture isn't going to get you there.

The takeaway?

For a short-term detox, it's not dangerous and could help. "While I don't think 10 days is long enough for the majority of people to reset their metabolism and blood sugar levels, and it's not really long enough to change habits, it can be a great entry point if a 30 day plan seems too overwhelming," says Presicci.

Yet, "it's important to keep in mind that this is not intended to be a crash diet, but rather a jumpstart to a healthier, long-term lifestyle. If someone is hungry on the 10-day reset, it's a sign that they're not building their plate properly and likely not eating enough," she says.

Often, when people start a lower carb diet, they make the mistake of not upping their protein and fat intake. In the absence of more processed fats and carbohydrates, healthy fats and protein are crucial, so as long as you're eating enough, you could totally thrive on it. But, it really depends on that!

The bottom line? If someone uses this as a metabolic reset and is looking to make long-term healthy habits, this may be a great starting point. If someone is looking for a quick crash diet to lose a few pounds, they'll likely feel deprived and go right back to their old habits once their done. With something like this, it's all about how you approach it.

Related: Here's Exactly What Jennifer Garner Eats in a Day

Advertisement