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“Starve off my hunger”: Why Hilary Duff’s Diet Comments Are Raising Alarm Bells

Disney royalty Hilary Duff has shared some insight into her dieting views, leaving many concerned the actress and singer is perpetuating harmful eating behaviours. Read on to find out what the Lizzie Maguire star said and why her comments are sending shockwaves across the net.

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“You know, Gwyneth’s been in trouble for saying this, but sometimes I try to just drink coffee in the morning and starve off my hunger,” Hilary said on the Lipstick on the Rim podcast.


Photo credit: @dearmedia

The star also revealed that she prefers to eat “super clean” foods like cauliflower rounds and egg salad. Hilary’s divisive comments come in light of the recent media fiasco surrounding Gwyneth Paltrow’s candid interview on her diet and exercise regime, sharing that she would often eat bone broth or coffee for a meal.

“In the morning, I’ll have some things that don’t spike my blood sugar, so I have coffee”, Gwyneth said on The Art of Being Well with Dr Cole.

We’re starting to see a growing number of celebrities honestly answering these questions around their eating habits where, in the past, they would gloss over the dangerous details. On the one hand, this could be seen as a harmful trend as social media lit up with comments around the perpetuation of diet culture that occurs when stars reveal their “secrets”, but on the other hand, it also creates an opportunity to bring those harmful attitudes out in the open, where we can break them down – and that’s what we’re here for!

Here at I Quit Sugar, we’re all about eating and living well without restrictive diets – but we know how powerful the words of a celebrity can be – especially to our kids. The strict diets and unhealthy relationship with food exhibited by celebrities can have a significant impact on mental health and our relationship with food, and though celebs are often held up as pillars of beauty and wellness, they can and do promote extreme and restrictive eating patterns that can be misleading, unrealistic and dangerous. This can contribute to the development and normalisation of unhealthy eating habits, from crash dieting and excessive calorie counting to meal-skipping, all of which can lead to nutritional deficiencies, worsen eating disorders and promote cognitive issues. The constant exposure to images of thin and flawless bodies, glorified by the media, can also fuel body dissatisfaction and low self-esteem among people, but especially youngsters who are still developing. Moreover, the emphasis on external appearance rather than overall health can overshadow the importance of adopting balanced and sustainable eating habits, leading to a harmful cycle of body image issues, disordered eating and mental health struggles.

It is important to recognise that celebrities themselves often grapple with their own battles and struggles, including eating disorders, within an industry that places immense pressure on appearance and adhering to unrealistic beauty standards. It’s no secret that celebrities are subjected to intense scrutiny, constant public judgment, and a culture that demands thinness, leading them to adopt extreme diets or engage in disordered eating behaviours to maintain their image – and it’s all the more damaging for child stars like Hilary who were entrenched in this culture during pivotal stages of their mental and physical development. In such an environment, it’s understandable that navigating a healthy relationship with food is no small feat – even those of us outside of the limelight struggle with these societal expectations. In fact, in 2022, Hilary spoke out about her experience with an eating disorder at just 17 years of age.

“Because of my career path, I can’t help but be like, ‘I am on camera and actresses are skinny,'” she told Women’s Health. 

Photo credit: @hilaryduff

These body expectations leave celebrities under constant observation and vulnerable to criticism for any fluctuations in their weight or appearance, which can take a toll on their mental health – shocker, right? But it is plain as day to understand why these kinds of comments around dieting come out of some of our favourite celebrities’ mouths – they face immense pressure to conform to societal expectations and maintain an appearance that is considered "perfect" according to prevailing standards. And while their comments aren’t without consequences to people tuning in – particularly the impressionable teens who may already be struggling with body image – they do serve an important role in highlighting an issue that has long been swept under the rug. The issue extends beyond individual celebrities; it reflects a broader societal problem that places a premium on appearance rather than overall wellbeing. This is why it’s crucial to address the underlying issues within our society and media culture. Promoting diverse body types, encouraging self-acceptance, and emphasising the importance of mental and physical wellbeing over appearance can help shift the narrative – and it can have a ripple effect on teens and younger children around the world who are taking in these messages from their favourite singers and actors. Ultimately, by recognising the complexities surrounding this issue, we can foster a more compassionate and understanding society for both celebrities and us regular folk alike.

A call for change

Hilary Duff's dieting comments serve as a much-needed catalyst for change – a call to question the societal norms that perpetuate unrealistic expectations and the harmful pursuit of perfection, not just in celebrities but in your everyday friends, family and neighbours. As the shockwaves of the beloved singer and Disney star's comments continue to reverberate, they remind us of the power of influential voices in shaping the narrative surrounding wellness. It's time to shift our focus from restrictive diets and quick fixes to a positive, inclusive and sustainable approach to nourishing both our bodies and our minds.

Want to learn how to heal your relationship with food without the restrictive diet culture that is so pervasive in the health industry? We’re here to help. Join us for the 8-Week Program and we’ll help you change the way you look at food – and that doesn’t mean you have to follow restrictive diets or miss out on your favourite foods; we believe you can still enjoy delicious food without jeopardising your health. You might even consider gifting your mum with the program! With celebrity chef Sarah Glover on our panel of experts, you’ll have an array of fun recipes at your fingertips, along with our own exclusive armoury of simple, tasty and healthy recipes for everything from daily meals to impressive entertaining. We know it can be hard to stick to your health goals – especially when you’re trying to manage it alone. When you sign up with us, you’ll have access to clear-cut meal plans, community support and exclusive access to our sugar-free content. 

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