There is nothing like a major health scare to motivate you to lose weight. Just ask Kevin Smith. After surviving a “widow-maker” heart attack, Smith has been on a strict (very strict) plant-based diet, losing 17 pounds in just nine days. No, that’s not a typo. And, no, we don’t recommend it.
Doctors told the 47-year-old director he needed to shed at least 50 pounds, and Smith has taken the advice to heart (so to speak). As People reported, Smith told his podcast listeners he’s been following Penn Jillette’s wacky mono diet, which basically entails eating only a single food for two weeks. For some it might be bananas or apples. For Smith it has been potatoes. If Smith sticks to Jillette’s regimen, he’ll follow his two weeks of “all spuds, all the time” with three months of fruits and veggies. No animal products. No processed grains. No added sugars.
“It’s a pretty intense program, but it’s been interesting,” Smith said on his podcast. “And, of course, necessary for my health and stuff. But once I get to a decent place, then I can think about eating again.”
While we’re impressed by Smith’s commitment to getting healthy, we’re not convinced that the mono diet is the best way to jump-start things. After Jillette shared the details of his potatoes-only plan back in 2016, nutritionists were quick to weigh in, warning that the crash diet could have serious side effects.
Potatoes may be rich in vitamins, minerals and fiber, but they offer very little in the way of protein, according to NBC News health and nutrition editor Madelyn Fernstrom on Today.com. Speaking about Jillette, Fernstrom said that he was probably “eating up to 75 percent less protein than he needed for good health.” She went on to explain that even just two weeks of a low-protein diet could affect your brain chemistry, “which uses amino acids from protein for normal function.”
And that’s not all. “Though you may lose weight on this diet, you’ll almost certainly suffer from malnourishment and muscle loss, and that muscle loss will translate into a slower metabolism,” said Caroline Apovian, M.D., director of the Nutrition and Weight Management Center at the Boston Medical Center, in a 2017 interview with Women’s Health. “That means you’ll have more difficulty losing weight in the future, and whatever you lose on the mono diet will be gained back once you resume eating normally.”
But Smith doesn’t sound like he’ll be dissuaded. “I ate the way I wanted for 47 years, and look where it got me. You had your fun. Move on,” he said.
And perhaps the most important thing is that Smith is doing well, letting everyone know: “I feel fantastic! I have more energy than I’ve had in f***ing years.” We applaud Smith’s efforts to get healthy and just hope he has a doctor monitoring him through this diet (as should anyone who makes such a drastic and restrictive change).
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