Marc Jacobs is often on the lips of the world's leading fashionistas, thanks to his famous collections of men and women's clothes and accesories.
Recently, though, it's his body that has been making headlines. If you haven't seen for yourself, this is Marc last year, and this is him now.
In a recent interview, the designer explained his transformation the following way:
"I’m eating a totally organic diet, which has no flour, no sugar, no dairy, and no caffeine, and I lost weight because of that diet and because of a two and a half hour exercise regimen seven days a week."
Let's decostruct and analyze.
"I'm eating a totally organic diet..."
As I have mentioned in the past, while organic food lacks pesticides, it has the same nutritional composition as conventional food. An organic banana does not have more vitamins or minerals than a non-organic one, and organic ice cream has the same amount of calories and added sugar as a conventional type.
Eating organic in and of itself isn't always healthy. These days, you can buy heavily processed foods (potato chips, cookies) that, despite being made with 100% organic ingredients, are basically empty calories.
If we're talking about weight loss exclusively, eating organically is not very relevant.
"... which has no flour..."
None!?!? Whenever someone swears the secret to weight loss is eliminating flour from the diet, I want to hit the roof.
Even if someone chose to limit their intake of white flour, at least they would be consuming whole grain flours, which offer a variety of nutrients, have high fiber contents, and, in my opinions, are delicious (one of my favorite breakfast foods is a toasted whole grain English muffin topped with peanut butter).
Yes, many foods made with flour are often highly caloric (i.e: cookies, cakes, pizza), but it is not the flour that's the culprit. Cookies and cakes contain high amounts of butter and sugar, while the majority of calories in pizza can be attributed to cheese and toppings like sausage and pepperoni.
It does not help that refined white flour offers almost no fiber (thereby not providing a feeling of satiety quickly), but let's not forget that flour is one of the oldest ingredients in the world. People around the world have been eating it for thousands of years, long before type 2 diabetes became prevalent and body mass indexes soared.
Granted, if Marc Jacobs previously ate 3 cups of pasta, 2 brownies, and 9 slices of bread a day, he was obviously getting too many calories from products made with flour, but there is absolutely no need to get rid of it in your diet.
"... no sugar..."
Why the absolute elimination? It is true that foods high in added sugar contribute many calories, and the average adult in the United States eats roughly three times the recommended daily amount (120 grams to the 40 stated in dietary guidelines).
However, putting a packet of sugar in your coffee, enjoying an ice cream cone once a week, or occassionaly sharing a slice of pie with a friend after dinner is not going to make you obese.
Labeling a single nutrient as "bad" is a common mistake many dieters make. A more realistic (and easier to maintain) goal is to lower the intake of added sugars and increase consumption of natural sources like fresh fruit.
Again, I don't know what Marc Jacobs' diet used to be like. If ice cream sundaes were a daily staple, and his breakfast consisted of two donuts, there was obviously an overload of sugar and calories that needed to be modified.
"... no dairy..."
This is completely unrelated to Marc's body makeover. Unless someone is lactose intolerant, there is no connection between shunning dairy and losing weight.
Again, it's important to think about the wide range of foods that fall into the "dairy" category. Putting eight slices of swiss cheese into a sandwich or downing half a pint of Ben & Jerry's after dinner every night is obviously a source of concentrated calories, but healthier options are not hard to find.
For example, plain, unsweetened yogurt is a tremendously healthy food thanks to its gut-friendly (and immune-system boosting) bacteria.
Even enjoying an iced latte with skim or low-fat milk on a hot summer day is a great beverage choice, thanks to its significant amounts of calcium, vitamin D, phosphorus, and vitamin B12.
"... and no caffeine..."
Many health food fanatics shun caffeine, and, frankly, I don't understand why.
Countless clinical research trials have concluded there is no link between caffeine consumption and a higher risk of any disease. Well, let me phrase that better -- there is no evidence linking moderate caffeine consumption with a higher risk of any disease.
Besides, if we're talking about Marc Jacobs' weight loss and improved fitness, caffeine is irrelevant.
"... and two and a half hour exercise regimen seven days a week."
Bingo! Here is the most important factor behind Marc's new look. Healthy eating helps, of course. But, someone working out two and a half hours a day, every day (which, to me, sounds excessive and bordering on overkill) is approximately burning an additional 1,200 calories a day!
Add that to a reduced calorie diet (which doesn't take much thought if you are removing entire food groups like Marc Jacobs) and, voila, there is your weight loss and added muscle tonification.
So, at the end of the day, what we have is someone who is consuming less calories, eating less processed food, and performing a lot more physical activity than before. Smart? Yes! Groundbreaking? No.