Going bananas for IV: The A-lister's new diet craze involving an intravenous drip and a bag full of vitamins
Last updated at 7:10 AM on 15th September 2008
The invasion of hip designers, willowy mannequins and glam fashionistas clutching water bottles has begun: it’s London Fashion Week.
And despite a storm of controversy, this year promises more silk-draped skeletons than ever before.
The British Fashion Council’s calls for medical checks to prove models are not dangerously underweight and are fit to work have come to nothing because, as a spokeswoman said: ‘Milan, Rome and Paris wouldn’t agree.’
Juice on the go: IV bags are becoming popular with the A-listers
You know it’s out of hand when even the poster girl for undernourished waifs, Kate Moss, is on a detox diet (she is rumoured to be subsisting on freshly made soups) in the lead-up to this fashion extravaganza.
Supermodel Erin O’Connor has become so concerned she’s set up the Model Sanctuary, giving out nutritional advice during the week.
And how are the girls getting super skinny this year? The Lemonade Cleanse: over. The Cookie Diet: finished. The Cabbage Soup Diet: disgusting. Nowadays it’s all about banana bags.
No, it’s not the latest offering from Hermes or Mulberry - it’s an IV drip containing multi-vitamins.
Designed as IV drips for alcoholic patients in hospitals (who are undernourished
from drinking more than they eat), this yellow-coloured liquid is being snapped up by those who opt out of eating in order to fit into their Kova & T Latex leggings.
And it’s not just for the catwalk - the rich and famous want it, too. A famous British fashionista asked a doctor to hook her up to an IV so she could get nutrients minus the food.
And she’s not alone. Some of the most well-known faces in the world are on banana bags right now behind the walls of their gated mansions.
Nutritional psychologist Marc David is the diet guru to many supermodels and is familiar with the trend. ‘Banana bags are used to “fill in the nutritional blanks”. What’s good is that if you’re going to deprive yourself of food, then you might as well supplement your diet.
‘Indeed, when we are nutrient starved, one of the brain’s automatic strategies is to signal to us that we are hungry.
‘The banana bag may have the effect for some people of making them feel less hungry by putting back missing nutrients, so a dieter may feel more satiated with a small amount of food.’
Usually used for medical emergencies, is this the next fashion must-have?
Any downside? In a word: Yes. ‘The nutrients in the banana bag are not enough. You can’t put in essential fatty acids - EFA deficiency will lead to a decreased ability to burn calories, irritability, fatigue, and dry hair, skin and nails. Also you’re not getting protein,
which is going to diminish your ability to build muscle tissue.
‘And worst of all, when most of your nutrition is coming in an IV bag - that is, directly into the bloodstream - you are bypassing the digestive process.
‘Over 70 per cent of our immune tissue is in the digestive tract and when we
ignore the normal route of food for too long and fail to “exercise” digestion, immunity weakens and people become susceptible to a host of ailments.’
LA-based trainer extraordinaire Gunner Peterson works with Jennifer Lopez and Sylvester Stallone.
‘One client told me she was doing it so she could get by on fewer calories - she called it a “cleanse”,’ he says.
Bananas or just plain bananas? Medical experts weigh in with their opinions on the new fad
Most women don’t do it full-time - they dabble with it. You know, eating breakfast and lunch and then having an IV dinner.
It’s ridiculous. How about just skipping dessert or wine?
'Anything this extreme is destined to fail; you are setting yourself up for a physical and emotional let-down. The minute you go off it and start eating again, you are going to think “I’m a loser,” or “I’m fat.” You will open the flood gates to more problems. Trust me; you can be in shape without an IV drip.’
What about the doctors who provide these banana bags to A-listers? ‘Are they any worse than a doctor who prescribes cholesterol-lowering drugs to someone who has a terrible diet that causes high cholesterol, or prescribes anti-anxiety medication to someone who has a lifestyle where they drive themselves crazy?’ says David.
London-based leading cosmetic doctor Dr Michael Prager has many celebrity clients, several of whom have asked for banana bags.
‘Crash dieting, meaning fewer than 800 calories a day, is as unhealthy as overeating,
but low-calorie diets are the only way to get the fast results you need for a film or photo shoot. However, they deplete vitamin levels,’ he says.
‘The supplementation can be an enormous boost to overall well-being and would be essential for somebody who wants to lose weight and maintain health and energy levels.’
So what is in this miracle potion?
- Multivitamin, 10ml, which gives it its distinctive yellow colour
- Thiamine, 100mg
- Folic acid, 1mg
- Magnesium sulphate (sometimes)
- Saline, one litre.
Banana bags were once used by ‘ultra marathon runners’, or athletes who ran races of 100 miles or more, but were later banned as cheating.
‘If someone came to me and was using them I would expect them to have some major medical condition,’ says Celebrity trainer Jonathan Goodair.
‘If they didn’t, I could not support it. It wouldn’t seem ethical. We’re supposed to be promoting good health and nutrition, not using a back-door approach.’
And in the meantime, for the majority of us, we can live in hope that one day skeletal chic, and all that it takes to achieve it, may no longer be in fashion.
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