From a nutritional standpoint, travel is a fantastic way to introduce variation in your diet and even local trips could mean another way of looking at your boring old bhaji. But it sometimes also opens up access to a world that makes no nutritional sense. On a recent trip to Japan, I caught the buzz about the madness over K-Pop diets – diets followed by Korean Pop stars; madness being the operative word.

Paper Cup

Popularised by the K-Pop group Nine Muses, the Paper Cut Diet is one where all your meals have to fit within three paper cups (the disposable kind you use for drinking water). While you can fill them with whatever you want to eat, and while this does promote the concept of portion control, there is good portion control and bad portion control. And this is definitely not good. Apart from making starvation or malnutrition into a high art form, this diet is guaranteed to encourage binge eating at its best and eating disorders at its worst.

Morning Banana Diet

Also called the Asa-Banana diet, this is associated with K-Pop idol Seo-in-Young and has gone viral in Japan, South Korea and Taiwan. This diet asks you to eat one or two bananas with room-temperature water for breakfast, anything you like for lunch and dinner with, maybe, another banana in between. You also have to go to sleep before midnight as well as keep a food diary. Apart from the fact that you’re playing nutritional roulette — and not actually nourishing yourself — you also have to stop eating when you’re about 80% full because, of course, you can actually know when that is.

Other K-Pop diets include incredibly dangerous liquid diets or eating only certain foods like sweet potatoes, chicken breasts and boiled eggs as followed by the star Seolhyun, where people have reported to have been crying from hunger. While these are just some of the latest fads on offer, please note that the only thing fad diets will do is provide you with rapid weight loss, followed by rapid weight gain.

The deadly diet

This diet consists almost only of chicken breasts with salad but no dressing, punctuated by a handful of almonds from time to time. While proponents encourage dieters to take multivitamins as well as drink double the amount of water they would normally drink, they also have to step up the exercise like a fitness fanatic

By Pooja Makhija

Consulting Nutritionist & Clinical Dietician