Nutritionists' Review Elle Macpherson's Reboot Plan

16/01/2017 15:26 GMT | Updated 17/01/2018 10:12 GMT

By Pixie Turner, MSc - recent graduate of UCL Nutrition Programme - and Laura Thomas, PhD, RNutr - a freelance Registered Nutritionist.

The following is in response to the article published on 'Get The Gloss' on January 11th 2017 outlining supermodel Elle MacPherson's plans for 'rebooting' after an indulgent holiday (read: Christmas).

First of all, let's just call a spade a spade; Elle's 'Reboot Plan' is a diet.

We did a nutritional analysis of Elle's 'typical day' on her plant-based reboot. Although the foods included are of course nutritious, and there are definitely benefits to including more plant-based foods in your diet (lookin' at you fibre!), Elle's plan is extremely low in overall calories; only reaching around 1000kcal for the whole day - that's less than half of her recommended energy intake based on her height and weight, and that's not even factoring in the 45 minutes of daily exercise she recommends. That's not cool.

Your body can't tell this type of severe caloric restriction apart from actual starvation. This can have serious metabolic consequences; muscle wasting, loss of strength and endurance, potential loss of menstrual cycles, oh, and it's a disordered eating pattern. 'Indulging' and then 'rebooting' (dieting) is reminiscent of the binge/purge cycle exhibited in disordered eating - just dressed up with pretty branding and labelled as a balanced lifestyle. Arbitrary food rules confound this problem further by dichotomising foods as good or bad/healthy or unhealthy.

Long-term studies on weight loss show that weight cycling leads to reductions in metabolic rate, making it difficult for people to maintain their new lower weight. Research has shown that in order to maintain current BMI, people who have lost weight have to eat less than their same-BMI counterparts who have never lost weight because of lowered metabolic rates. That's super depressing.

The plan also promotes the unnecessary restriction of food groups; this can lead to nutrient deficiencies if not carefully planned - for example, our analysis shows that there's very little calcium, iodine, omega-3 essential fatty acids, and the B vitamin biotin included in the diet. These kinds of nutrient deficiencies can lead to long-term health problems.

Finally it promotes the whole 'eat like me, look like me' mentality, and we think you look pretty fucking great exactly as you are. Thanks to your genetics, the chances of you looking like Elle, even if you do eat like her, aren't all that great. There's a limit to how much your body can change. And if this is the kind of diet you'd have to eat to look like her, then it's probably not worth giving up your social life for.

Let's take a look at what Elle says about her plan:

"I'm not about crash diets or binge exercise plans; for me, it's about balance"

Sorry love, no matter how you spin it, when you reduce your calorie intake by more than half, it's a diet - a pretty extreme one at that.

"exercise every day"

There's no evidence that says you need to pound it out in the gym for an hour every day - studies show that moving your body more throughout the day is better than hitting the gym for an hour. Besides, your muscles need rest in order to recover properly between workouts, which is why rest days are so important. It's also a really, really bad idea to workout when you're eating so few calories. DO NOT RECOMMEND. God it's almost like she has no nutrition qualifications (between us we have 4 degrees, just sayin').

"I discovered my body really thrives on plants."

I mean, that's cool for you, we like plants too, but just because your body thrives on a plant-based diet doesn't mean everyone else's will.

"Restore the body's pH balance, it helps to remove symptoms associated with acidity, such as low energy, weight gain and sugar cravings."

Ughhh, where to even start with this. Those aren't symptoms of 'acidity'; these are symptoms of fucking starvation. Plus if your body's pH was too acidic, you'd be brown bread. Your body has the hang of regulating your pH just fine!

Bottom line: don't take nutrition advice from a celeb; the only professionals guaranteed to dish out credible, evidence-based nutrition advice in the UK are Registered Dietitians - governed by the HCPC and have RD after their names & Registered Nutritionists - governed by the Association for Nutrition and have RNutr (or ANutr for recent graduates) after their name.

When we flagged this with 'Get The Gloss', they responded that this was to give insight into Elle's plan - completely avoiding that there is a step by step guide for how to implement her 'failsafe' eating plan, plus, she's clearly trying to sell us her products. Despite GTG's tagline of 'expert' health and wellbeing - there's barely a trace of a HCPC regulated Registered Dietitian or an Association for Nutrition Registered Nutritionist on the site. Nope. They prefer getting their nutrition advice from celebs.