Low mood. Low libido. Death. Experts warn against following I’m A Celeb diet

The I’m A Celeb diet leaves a lot to be desired (Picture: ITV/REX/Shutterstock)

It’s that time of year again, when celebrities of varying fame subject themselves to trials of varying disgustingness, all in the name of entertainment. And money.

But while one of the highlights for viewers of I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here is the sight of their least favourite names tucking into various animals’ testicles or other icky body parts, for the most part, contestants are surviving on a far less exotic diet.

Rice and beans. Or maybe beans and rice, if they’re lucky.

And for the most successful celebs, who spend a full three weeks in the Australian jungle, that’s a lot of beanie rice.

In previous seasons contestants have lost a significant amount of weight, so what exactly are the effects of the I’m A Celebrity diet?

‘A lot of us are probably guilty of looking at the contestants on I’m a Celeb and thinking we could easily survive on rice and beans for a few days,’ says Jess Suthard from Goal Plans powered by MuscleFood.

Contestants need a strong stomach for bushtucker trials (Picture: ITV/REX/Shutterstock)

‘You might be thinking, so what, I’d eat that anyway with a bit of chicken, how bad could rice and beans really be? But the truth is you’d be surprised!

‘That added bit of protein we use at home is where all the flavour comes from and it’s usually what keeps us feeling full.’

Feeling full is something the celebrities are unlikely to experience during their time Down Under, averaging just 700 calories a day – although new entrant Frankie Dettori, a jockey, may be better practised at living on tiny meals. The recommended number is 2,000 calories for women and 2,500 for men.

Could you survive on rice and beans for three weeks? (Picture: Getty)

‘Very-low-calorie diets, providing 800 kcal per day or less, have been used to cause rapid weight loss since the 1970s,’ says Dr Josh Gibbs, plant-based nutrition researcher at the University of Warwick.

‘However, these diets are reserved for those with BMI scores of 30 or higher, and they are carefully planned to preserve lean mass and provide all essential vitamins and minerals.

‘The diet the celebrities will follow during the show will induce significant weight loss, but due to the low protein content some of this will be muscle.’

It’s not all bad, as the reduced food intake could result in better control of their blood sugar levels and reduced inflammation.

Fred Sirieix looks unimpressed at the food on offer (Picture: ITV/REX/Shutterstock)

However, that’s unlikely to be much consolation to hungry, grumpy celebs.

‘Beyond biological impacts, the celebrities will likely feel fatigued and have low mood, low libido, high irritability. And it probably goes without saying that their appetite will be through the roof!’

Perhaps they need to be extra ravenous to eat the food on offer when campmates win stars during bushtucker trials, which earns them ‘proper’ meals. 

‘The celebs have eaten some strange meats so far this year such as buffalo tail and crocodile feet,’ says Jess.

‘I wouldn’t really recommend anyone else tries to source the same but for the campmates, these strange meats will be filling meals that will provide them with more nutrients than just rice and beans!’

Nella Rose during the ‘Jungle Pizzeria’ bushtucker trial – where toppings included cockroaches and camel udder (Picture: James Gourley/ITV/REX/Shutterstock)

Likewise, Dr Josh is very clear – do not try this at home.

‘Viewers should absolutely not follow the diet. Unsupervised use of very-low-calorie diets has been associated with serious complications, including death,’ he says.

‘Anyone who wants to try a very-low-calorie diet should consult their doctor so they can receive the proper support and guidance to do it safely. A safe and effective very-low-calorie diet will be high in protein and fortified with essential vitamins and minerals – which is very different to just rice and beans!

‘However, as part of a healthy, balanced diet, rice and beans are some of the healthiest foods on the planet! They’re packed full of fibre and plant proteins which help to keep cholesterol and blood pressure levels low, reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease. 

‘But living off them exclusively could lead to complications in the long run, like vitamin and mineral deficiencies. That’s why it’s so important to eat a wide variety of foods.’

Crocodile meat optional.

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