Actress Anna Friel receives backlash for her extreme dieting

skin and scalpKeen readers of the Medical Specialists Pharmacy news area are always kept up to the date regarding the UK’s obesity crisis and how scientists learn new information about what factors can impact weight. However, slightly different news is on the agenda today after the actress Anna Friel has been heavily criticised for setting a bad example to impressionable kids, after she spoke about the extreme methods she undergoes for anti-aging and preserving her slender figure.

The 36-year-old Rochdale-born star found fame in the early 1990s after appearing in the Merseyside-based soap Brookside and has since featured in numerous films such as the Goal! Series and 2011’s Limitless which also starred Bradley Cooper and Robert De Niro.

During an interview with Grazia magazine, Friel says she adhered to the detoxing ‘master cleanse’ diet for a two month period. The strict regime controversially involves banishing all food and instead restricting yourself to liquids, with Friel’s diet consisting of surviving on 12 cups per day of a cocktail of maple syrup, cayenne pepper, lemon juice and water.

In addition to its purported weight loss benefits, Friel told Grazia magazine that she also uses the diet to improve the condition of her skin, saying: “I’ve been drinking it for two months and I feel so much better and my skin has really benefited. If you’re vain, as you get older you start thinking, ‘I’ve got to do everything I can to save my skin. I’ve tried everything.”

It is not specified from the interviewer or Friel herself if she has been adhering to the diet for a sustained period of two months, but one would assume this is unlikely bearing in mind that on the master cleanse diet you are confined to a mere 600 calories a day. This could be viewed as almost starvation though when considering that many health experts state that for an average woman to maintain her weight, she needs to consume 2000 calories a day – although this does depend on the woman’s age and how much physical activity she is engaging in.

However, Sioned Quirke, of the British Dietetic Association, has criticised the diet, branding it ‘extreme and unnecessary’. The dietician commented: “From a nutritional point of view, you are lacking in all the essential nutrients which your body requires on a daily basis to function. How could you possibly feel better if you are depriving yourself of everything that your body needs to survive? If you are lacking in these nutrients for a matter of days, let alone weeks, your body will suffer. It’s a myth that what you eat affects your skin. We have a liver and it’s very good at its job. So any detoxing that needs to be done is done by the liver.”

Quirke, 31, doubted Friel’s claims of sticking to the diet for two months, adding: “I can’t imagine anyone surviving on it for longer than a week, let alone two months, so you’ve got to take what she says with a pinch of salt.”

The ‘master cleanse’ has also been tried by numerous other celebrities for weight loss such as Gwyneth Paltrow, Beyoncé and Naomi Campbell. However, this diet is one of only a few things that Friel is trying in her quest for eternal youth. The actress is also undergoing ‘vampire facials’, a technique also recently used by Kim Kardashian, whereby blood plasma is taken from the body and then injected into the face.

Friel says: “Vampire facials involve taking two vials of blood from your arm and reinjecting it back into your skin. It’s meant to help your skin heal itself and boosts collagen. It makes my skin really glowy and tight again. And I always have a Cryoderm treatment before a red carpet. “People say I look really good afterwards [following a Cryoderm treatment]. I also do the old-fashioned method at home, where I fill my sink with ice cubes and hold them on my face for a minute. I felt sick recently because I found one or two grey hairs and I read that curry leaves help to maintain your hair colour, so I mix them with hot water and drink it as a tea. I’m always searching for pure, natural skin products and Trilogy is great for that too, their Everything Balm is fantastic.”

Of course, expensive Cryoderm treatments are not the only way to try and achieve younger-looking skin and there are other anti-wrinkle treatments available out there! Luckily Medical Specialists Pharmacy has such treatments and some of which work to combat adult acne too. Visit the anti-wrinkle page for a detailed look at the different products we offer to decide which is most suitable for you.

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