The health world thinks the LeBron James diet is crazy.
LeBron didn’t eat sugar, carbs, or dairy for 67-straight days this summer. He subsisted on meat, fish, fruits, and vegetables, and lost a startling amount of weight in the process. It’s a modified version of a paleo diet — the fad diet where you eat like humans did thousands of years ago.
LeBron was able to pull off this diet because he has the resources to do it right, he’s one of the most athletic people ever, and he has team of experts making sure he’s getting all the nutrients he needs.
But registered dietitians say the diet is too extreme, and argue that eliminating entire food groups to lose weight is both unnecessary and dangerous.
“I would discourage any client, professional athlete or not, from following this low-carb diet,” Torey Jones Armul, a registered dietitian, nutritionist, and spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, told Business Insider, “To lose weight, increase energy levels, and improve performance your best bet is loading up on fruits and vegetables, choosing whole grains and lean protein and making exercise a habit throughout the week.”
“Cutting out entire food groups is extreme and puts people at risk for nutritional deficiencies, not to mention nearly impossible to sustain in the long-term,” she said.
Other dietitians we spoke to agreed: there’s no reason to voluntarily stop eating entire food groups.
While health professionals advise against doing what LeBron did, there are ways you can take elements of LeBron’s low-carb approach and make a healthy diet out of it.
Armul gave us some sample “LeBron diet” meals that also incorporate the type of healthy grains and dairy that dietitians say you should never cut out entirely.
They sound pretty delicious.
- Option 1: Veggie omelet with a side of turkey bacon, fresh fruit and sweet potato hash browns.
- Option 2: 100% whole-grain or sprouted wheat toast topped with peanut butter or almond butter, banana, and side of Greek yogurt with blueberries or other sliced fruit.
- Option 3: Egg sandwich with 100% whole-grain muffin, avocado and salsa, and a smoothie made with fresh or frozen fruit and low-fat Greek yogurt.
- Option 1: Spinach salad with veggies, grilled chicken and a light balsamic, vinaigrette or olive oil dressing. Pair with a side of fresh fruit, or add sliced berries, apples or mandarin oranges as a salad topper.
- Option 2: Turkey sandwich on 100% whole-grain or sprouted wheat bread. Add healthy toppings like spinach, avocado, tomato, cucumber, sprouts and yellow mustard. Pair with a side salad or fresh fruit salad.
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