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Image: Demi Moore
Alberto E. Rodriguez  /  Getty Images file
Actress Demi Moore has tweeted about her detoxing diet habits.
msnbc.com contributor
updated 10/1/2010 8:17:51 AM ET 2010-10-01T12:17:51

These days it’s not enough to dress and get plastic surgery like a celebrity. We have to eat like one, too.

With Twitter, blogs and Facebook it’s easier than ever to find out first-hand how you can graze like Gwyneth or detox like Demi.

Nearly every celeb from Jessica Simpson to Kirstie Alley seems unable to keep their scary diet tricks to themselves. Megan Fox downs vinegar shots to slim down. Kim and Khloe Kardashian “cleanse” with diet drinks they’re also selling. Even Salma Hayek has jumped on the cleanse bandwagon as a co-owner of a detox delivery program called Cooler Cleanse.

It’s one thing to buy the same mascara Megan Fox wears, but quite another to imitate her (non-) eating habits. Fact is, few celebrity diets are worth following.

“Celebrities are great role models but they’re not acting the part when it comes to healthy eating behaviors,“ said registered dietitian Keri Gans, a New York spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association.

Actress, former Jenny Craig spokesperson and BMI punchline Alley is now using Twitter to promote her "Organic Liaison" weight-loss program, a line of supplements, meal plans and online tools. "I've lost over 50 lbs...and I'm having the time of my of my life...30 more to gooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo," she recently tweeted.

Jessica Simpson told her nearly 3 million Twitter followers earlier this summer how she “shocked her system” with an extreme vegan regimen. She also tweeted about her devotion to a program called Total Vitality, “that has nothing to do with weight,” she said.  “It is understanding my body through hydration and alkalinity.”

Sounds like it takes homeopathic herbal formulas, hands-on treatments and an awful lot of Chinese tea — the formula for the "Total Vitality" diet — for Jessica to understand how her body works.

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Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher recently boasted about their joint efforts with the “Master Cleanse” to their millions of Twitter fans. Really? That lemonade diet scam has long been debunked for its near starvation level fasting.

It seems Demi barely made it four days before abandoning the strict regimen of maple syrup, lemon water and cayenne pepper. But then she had to ward off criticism when she tweeted that she’s now embracing “The Clean Program” – a 21-day detox diet that was created by New York doctor Alejandro Junger, who sells a $350 detox kit online and Facebook.

The program, which requires two shakes a day in place of real food. “There is no starving involved! It is all about nourishing the body!” she tweeted.

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Sure, Demi looks great. But juicing instead of eating can simply slow the metabolism and set you up for gaining even more weight once the detox is done. The diet can also deprive you of vital nutrients.

Just ask Gwyneth Paltrow about extreme dieting. After ditching her macrobiotic diet, she’s now a supporter of the “Clean” detox program and has  been spreading the word on her blog, GOOP.

“I feel pure and happy and much lighter (I dropped the extra pounds that I had gained during a majorly fun and delicious ‘relax and enjoy’ life phase about a month ago)… This thing is amazing. And don’t forget to ask your doctor if a cleanse is right for you.”

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Yes, don’t forget to ask your doctor. Did she follow her own advice? It’s possible a lifetime of restrictive diets are linked to her recent diagnosis of osteopenia (loss of bone mass). After having her vitamin D levels tested, doctors found that it was “the lowest they had ever seen,” she wrote on her blog.

Gwyneth may be an Oscar-winning actress, but she shouldn’t be dispensing nutrition advice.
It’s easy to be fooled by slim, beautiful actresses who appear to shed pounds as easily as breathing. But their eating regimens are nearly always unnecessarily restrictive. Nutrient deficiencies along with muscle and bone loss are among the risks.

And worse, what works for a relatively young, healthy celebs could be disastrous for anyone with a medical condition, Gans said.

Snooki's cookies
Then there’s the “cookie diet” that “Jersey Shore’s” Snooki hawked over the summer. There are at least three different cookie brands that claim their mix of protein and nutrients are reasonable meal substitutes. Snooki says she's been on the diet for "awhile" and wants to lose 10 pounds. Is it working? You judge.

Go with your gut. Stop problems before they start

We may have an insatiable appetite for the eating styles of the slim and famous, but don’t be swayed by the tweets, blogs or promotions of a dieting celeb. You don’t know how much extra support (like personal trainers or private chefs) they've had to help them stay trim.

Janet Helm, R.D., is a myth-busting registered dietitian in Chicago and author of NutritionUnplugged.com

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