Fad Diets Like You've Never Seen Them Before

Photo: Courtesy Of Dan Bannino.
We at R29 Wellness try really hard to relay our editorial philosophy of "no fad diets, ever, period, kthx." Yet, we still get emails pretty much every day from enthusiastic PR folks hawking some new version of Atkins, or an absurd new cleanse, or a smoothie line that's "all about clean living and detoxing your life." Evidently, there are a lot of people out there who take the idea of a "quick fix" very seriously — and, with so much money to be made in food fads, it's hard to blame them.
In a stunning new photo series, Italian photographer Dan Bannino has taken on diets, but with a twist — through his lens, the eating habits of Bill Clinton, Gwyneth Paltrow, Beyoncé, and others are given the classical treatment of an Old Master still life. Says Bannino, "I’ve tried to capture the beauty that lies in this terrible constriction of diets and deprivation. I wanted to make them significant, like classic works of art that are becoming more and more weighty as they grow older."
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While many of us focus on the ridiculousness of the countless regimes we see every day, Bannino's work contemplates the implications of our diet-obsessed culture, especially in 2014. As Bannino says, "My aim was to show how this weirdness hasn’t changed since the 15th century. We're all human beings — even if we're sitting on the throne of England, or if our husband is Jay-Z!" Stars: They're just like us.
But, does Bannino have personal experience with the Master Cleanse or the cabbage soup? Not so much. "I'm Italian," he explains, "so I can't even think about being on a diet!" God bless.
Click through to see the full series — and be sure to check out Bannino's Twitter and Facebook feeds for more food-centric works.
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Photo: Courtesy Of Dan Bannino.
Bill Clinton, Cabbage Soup Diet
While Clinton's experience with this old standby remains a rumor, we kind of love the idea of the famously vegan former President scarfing down endless amounts of limp cabbage in preparation for Chelsea’s nuptials.
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Photo: Courtesy Of Dan Bannino.
Simon Cowell, Life-Enhancing Diet
Everyone's favorite British curmudgeon Simon Cowell recently revealed his "anti-aging secret," a.k.a. daily lingonberry-chokeberry smoothies, fish oil, and a milk bath (hence the bucket and towels).
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Photo: Courtesy Of Dan Bannino.
Gwyneth Paltrow, Strict Detox Diet
Gwynnie’s Pollan-esque fashion: Eat food. Not too much. Mostly vegetables that contain tons of fiber and cause serious gas.
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Photo: Courtesy Of Dan Bannino.
Lord Byron, Romantic Poet's Diet
According to the BBC, the 18th-century British poet was one of the world's first diet icons. He reportedly had an obsession with being thin, and religiously consumed a combination of potatoes, vinegar, and soda water (and underwent regular sweating sessions in his bathtub, wrapped in wool blankets) in pursuit of his goal.
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Photo: Courtesy Of Dan Bannino.
Kate Moss, The Hollywood Diet
Martinis and cigarettes, obviously, for the woman who claimed that "Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels."
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Photo: Courtesy Of Dan Bannino.
Beyoncé, Master Cleanse Diet
Beyoncé brought the Master Cleanse into the mainstream spotlight back in 2006, when her role in Dreamgirls necessitated significant weight loss. The diet is basically a mixture of lemon juice, maple syrup, cayenne pepper, and water — taken morning, noon, and night (with either a laxative or a “salt-water flush” to keep things moving).
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Photo: Courtesy Of Dan Bannino.
Henry VIII, Banquet Diet
The Tudor monarch was well-known for his Bacchanalian dinners, at which courtiers partook in a wide array of non-traditional diet foods, such as spit-roasted meat and large quantities of wine.
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Photo: Courtesy Of Dan Bannino.
Charles Saatchi, Eggs Diet
Businessman and Nigella Lawson abuser Charles Saatchi famously lost over 50 pounds after eating nothing but eggs for nine months. Shown here: hardboiled and fried — with some wine to wash them down, of course.
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Photo: Courtesy Of Dan Bannino.
Luigi Cornaro, Sober Life Diet
This 15th-Century Venetian nobleman has gained something of a following in alternative nutrition and anti-aging circles for his strict and unconventional diet ideas. He wrote a number of treatises on dieting, including one called Discourses on the Sober Life, which stressed the importance of restricting intake to 14 ounces of solid food and 17 ounces of wine per day.
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