With A-listers drastically shedding the pounds for the role of a lifetime, some celebrities’ dedication to their art could be damaging their long-term health. Ayesha Muttucumaru reports on what is becoming a worrying trend on the silver screen…

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At the Critics’ Choice Awards, we all breathed a sigh of relief to see that Matthew McConaughey was on his way to re-capturing his once healthy physique. The usually buff, toned and topless- running actor had become a shell of his former self in previous months, having allegedly dropped a staggering 40lbs for his role as an HIV patient in upcoming film Dallas Buyers Club. His dedication to his art is admirable, but is this type of extreme weight loss and its subsequent health risks really worth it?

Nutritional Therapist Vicki Edgson believes not. “The main danger with these sorts of diets is mineral and nutrient depletion. They can also result in palpitations, insomnia, extremely dry skin (especially in diets consisting of no or hardly any fat) and severely interfere with a person’s metabolic rate.

“Women need to be particularly careful as restricting their diets to such a dangerous degree can seriously affect their thyroid function and their body’s hormonal balance, resulting in irritability and depression. They could also find that their periods stop too. The range of physical and psychological effects can be huge.”

Matthew joins a growing list of fellow A-listers who have also shed the pounds in alarming fashion for major film roles. They include Christian Bale (for The Machinist), Tom Hanks (Cast Away), Anne Hathaway (Les Miserables) and Matt Damon (Courage Under Fire). Yes, an amazing group of actors, but surely critical acclaim isn’t worth the future long-term (and perhaps irreversible) health problems that can arise from these deadly diets?

Here at GTG we’re bigger fans of the 5:2 diet , which is more sustainable and can have great health benefits - follow Vicki Edgson's weekly plan  for how to make it work for you.