In preparation for her Born This Way Ball world tour, Lady Gaga is apparently following a diet that consists of five small meals a day. Although the tabloids seem to be concerned for the star's rapid weight loss, with headlines such as 'Lady Gaga is Poker thin', the diet plan that she's alleged to be on doesn't strike me as one to cause too much alarm.
The singer is said to be following a diet programme created by self-styled fitness and nutrition guru, Harley Pasternak, which involves eating five meals a day, with one free day each week to eat whatever she likes. The plan also involves doing five 25-minute workouts a week. This is nowhere near some of the more extreme regimes that celebrities have endured for the camera.
Regardless of the apparent weight loss, a diet that involves eating several smaller meals a day has gained much interest in the past, and it's even been suggested that it's healthier to do than having three big meals. The term 'little and often' has not been associated with health warnings in the past; rather, it's effective at keeping blood sugar levels steady throughout the day and helping to avoid that lethargic feeling that often follows big meals.
The Pasternak diet plan states that every meal should contain five key ingredients -
protein, fibre, healthy carbohydrates, a healthy fat (for example, olive oil, avocado, almonds or pumpkin seeds) and a sugar-free drink. Compared to many 'Hollywood' diets, this sounds pretty sensible to me. No skipping meals, no cutting the carbs and no weight loss pills involved.
Harley Pasternak has a credible background, with a masters in exercise physiology and nutritional sciences, and an honours degree in kinesiology. My instinct suggests that with a mix of traditional and alternative educations, and a significant celebrity following, Harley is probably doing something right. Importantly, the diet involves healthy carbohydrates, which often don't feature on other diet schedules. I'm hoping they'll give Gaga the energy she'll undoubtedly require for her notoriously vigorous performances.
An area that is causing interested fans some concern is the supposed portion size of Gaga's five meals. Working on the principle that eating less helps to lose weight, that doesn't sound like a bad idea. As long as they aren't too small. But seriously, as long as there is a balance of ingredients from a range of food groups and a regular intake of food, she would be following what is widely regarded as the best, moderated way of losing weight.
Another aspect that is worth noting is that, indeed, any diet has to be sustainable. A regular tour is a pretty protracted, gruelling affair and keeping energy levels up and fatigue down will be paramount to the tour's success. For the non-pop stars amongst us, trying to follow a diet and not rebounding to former weight (or more) when you come off is the hardest part. And I think this is where some of Pasternak's success lies - rather than regarding this as a diet, it's regarded as a lifestyle change for the medium to long term.
However, considering her tweet on 10 April, "Just killed back to back spin classes. Eating a salad dreaming of a cheeseburger", we can only hope that she doesn't overdo it. So, over to you Gaga. We'll sit quietly, waiting to be wowed and wondering how you did it...