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Don’t listen to the not-so-smart weight loss secrets of celebrities without doing your own research

Woodley claims eating clay has many health benefits and that it is “one of the best things you can put in your body” because it doesn’t get absorbed by your body during digestion and “helps clean heavy metals out of your body.” Woodley’s opinion is not shared by professionals.

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By Vanessa Broadbent (The Cascade) – Email

Print Edition: May 20, 2015

Photo Courtesy Wikimedia Commons

It’s not unusual to admire celebrities. We can’t help but notice their flawless hair, makeup, and fashion every time we walk through a checkout stand at a supermarket, where we’re constantly reminded of who is dropping weight like crazy, or who is rumoured to be pregnant simply because they gained a few pounds. Our society is obsessed with appearance and feels a need to expose everyone’s body size.

But what isn’t always exposed is just how celebrities drastically lose weight. We see the inspiring before-and-after pictures of their “amazing weight loss transformations,” but no one ever takes the time to look into whether a celebrity’s newfound fabulous diet is actually all that healthy.

It wasn’t that long ago that actress Shailene Woodley told Into The Gloss about her new favourite way to lose weight: eating clay. Yes, clay: the stuff we used in elementary school to build the misshapen ashtrays that our parents kept whether they actually smoked or not.

Woodley claims eating clay has many health benefits and that it is “one of the best things you can put in your body” because it doesn’t get absorbed by your body during digestion and “helps clean heavy metals out of your body.”

Woodley’s opinion is not shared by professionals. David L. Katz, founding director of Yale University’s Prevention Research Center told Huffington Post the practice could even be harmful.

“Removing metal from the body is not necessarily good — iron, for example, is a metal and essential to health. So, there could conceivably be benefits, but there could certainly be harms — and a favourable benefit-harm ratio has not been established to justify recommending this,” Katz says.

Where did Woodley even learn about this new fad diet? It must have been from some highly paid and extremely knowledgeable celebrity nutritionist, right? Wrong.

“I first heard about the benefits of eating clay from a taxi driver. He was African and was saying that, where he’s from, the women eat clay when they’re pregnant,” Woodley said (Into the Gloss). “Seriously — ask your taxi drivers where they are from and about their customs. You will learn a lot.”

The practice of eating clay or other earth substrates, also known as geophagia, is somewhat common in third-world countries, but usually to suppress hunger, not to lose weight.

Even the website from which Woodley claims to buy most of the clay she eats, Mountainroseherbs.com, has a disclaimer saying that their clay is cosmetic, has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration, and is for external use only. In other words: don’t eat clay.

Celebrities may make for great entertainment, but it’s evident that they don’t always give the best health advice — so before you jump on the latest weight-loss bandwagon because one of your favourite celebrities swears by this new diet, be sure to do your research and make sure what they’re promoting is actually healthy.

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