Beverly Hills Diet
Mazel had tried and failed to lose weight with existing programs, and developed the diet plan after spending six months working together with a nutritionist in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Under her program, she was able to trim down from a weight of 180 pounds (82 kg) to 108 pounds (49 kg), having struggled with her weight since childhood. After completing development of the program and returning to Los Angeles, she opened a weight-loss clinic whose clients included a number of celebrities.
The Beverly Hills Diet is predicated on the enzymatic actions of foods in the digestive process, and controlled weight by controlling when foods were eaten and in what combinations. The plan begins with the consumption of a series of specified fruits in a designated order for the initial ten days of the program. On Days 11 to 18, the dieter can add bread, two tablespoons of butter and three cobs of corn. Sources of complete protein, such as steak or lobster, cannot be consumed until Day 19 of the plan.
The book, published by Macmillan Publishing spent 30 weeks on The New York Times bestseller list, and sold more than one million copies. The book featured endorsements from Linda Gray, Engelbert Humperdinck, Sally Kellerman and Mary Ann Mobley.
A report published in the Journal of the American Medical Association in 1981 criticized the diet, noting significant inaccuracies that could result in physical harm to those following the regimen. The report, written by Dr. Gabe Mirkin of the University of Maryland, College Park and Dr. Ronald Shore of Johns Hopkins University, pointed out that there was no evidence supporting the scientific validity of the program and that it stood in opposition to established knowledge in the medical profession about nutrition, calling it "the latest, and perhaps the worst, entry in the diet-fad derby". The doctors were critical of the diet's claim that weight gain results from undigested food that is stuck in the body. The article expressed concerns about the combination of large amounts of fruit with little salt, noting that significant water loss from diarrhea could produce fever, muscle weakness, and a rapid pulse, and that blood pressure could drop low enough to cause death.
- Hevesi, Dennis. "Judy Mazel, Creator of Best-Selling ‘Beverly Hills Diet,’ Is Dead at 63", The New York Times, October 27, 2007. Accessed November 26, 2008.
- Hodgson P (2013). "Review of Popular Diets". In Storlie J, Jordan HA. Nutrition and Exercise in Obesity Management. Springer. p. 15. ISBN 978-94-011-6719-2.
- Mirkin GB, Shore RN (November 1981). "The Beverly Hills diet. Dangers of the newest weight loss fad". JAMA. 246 (19): 2235–7. doi:10.1001/jama.246.19.2235. PMID 7289017.
- Via United Press International. "BEVERLY HILLS DIET IS CRITICIZED", The New York Times, November 16, 1981. Accessed November 26, 2008.