As social media buzz builds about Japan’s popular Cinderella Diet, be careful about the “wish your heart makes.” This diet sets a goal weight that some experts say is dangerously low and, like any diet, can encourage risky behaviors like extreme dieting.
The Cinderella diet’s formula is 18 times your height squared (in meters). That aims to keep weight in kilograms at a body mass index (BMI) of 18. A normal BMI range is 18.5 to 24.9, so you would be considered underweight with a BMI of 18.
“Society has always set difficult, sometimes even impossible, standards for beauty,” says Dr. Toni-Denise Espina, an internal medicine physician at Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center in Chicago. “The message I want to drive home is that weight is just one indicator of your overall health and wellness, and the appearance of being thin doesn’t necessarily mean you are well. Following a fad diet may unknowingly lead to an eating disorder, which can be life-threatening. It’s very important that we give our bodies the proper nutrients that it needs to function well throughout our lives.”
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