In her new documentary Homecoming, Beyoncé revealed that she went on an intense postpartum diet to prep for Coachella 2018, cutting out carbs, alcohol, sugar, meat, dairy, and fish. (So like, the fun stuff.)
“In order for me to meet my goal, I’m limiting myself to no bread, no carbs, no sugar, no dairy, no meat, no fish, no alcohol,” she said. “And I’m hungry!”
Eventually, she achieved her goals of losing weight and getting her strength and endurance back for the performance, but looking back, Beyoncé said she would never do it again.
"I have to take care of my body," she said. "I definitely pushed myself further than I knew I could. And I learned a very valuable lesson. I will never, never push myself that far again.”
Her realization is important — Tracy Lockwood Beckerman, MS, RD, a registered dietitian in New York City, says the diet Beyoncé was on is "not the slightest bit healthy as it is the definition of extreme."
"Beyoncé’s diet removed essential micro and macronutrients from the diet, which can leave the body high and dry," she says. "Without eating B vitamins coming from carbs or omega 3 coming from fish, the body is in a difficult position to create sustainable energy and keep vital cellular membranes in your brain, gut and muscles healthy."
Beckerman says that although this type of diet will help you lose weight initially, it may lead to a slower metabolism in the long run.
"You're also at risk for missing essential nutrients such as potassium, selenium, vitamin B12, magnesium, folic acid, and beta carotene," she tells InStyle. "These vitamins and minerals are imperative for a healthy menstrual cycle, adequate hormone development, a strong immune system and proper stress management."
Beckerman adds that trying to lose weight in the postpartum period, as Beyoncé did, can be tricky, since it's such a sensitive and vulnerable time for your body. If you want to do so, you have to make sure that you're doing it in a healthy way, and removing food groups is definitely not recommended.
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists says that "dieting can deny your body vital nutrients and delay healing after birth," and recommends being patient and following "good eating habits."
"Weight loss after pregnancy is extremely individualized," Beckerman says. "My suggestion would be to set realistic goals for yourself and not to slip on your pre-pregnancy jeans until at least six months."
She adds that Beyoncé's diet can create a sense of deprivation and restriction that can lead to cranky moods, low libido, and even increase the odds of disordered eating.
When asked if she would ever recommend such an intense diet, she tells InStyle, "Never, ever! Beyonce likely had professional chefs and registered dietitians helping her navigate these dietary restrictions and treacherous nutrition waters which is why she was able to 'successfully' do it without severely injuring herself or getting sick."
In the end, Beckerman says that extreme diets just don't work — at least not for lasting weight loss, and it's great that Beyoncé was so open about how she felt looking back on it.
"Beyoncé’s honesty about the challenges she faced with this diet shows us that Beyoncé is human," she says. "It’s also showing her fans that she ultimately does not endorse or recommend this extreme style of dieting."