Experts SLAM Usher for promoting ‘harmful’ starvation diets as singer reveals he ‘doesn’t eat on Wednesdays’

Pop icon Usher has been praised for being in peak shape following his iconic Super Bowl performance.

The singer, 45, is now preparing for an upcoming world tour, which will see him performing 80 concerts across six countries. 

The ‘Yeah!’ hitmaker revealed in an interview last week that to get in shape, he fasts for 24 hours at a time every week, drinking only water. 

He also nixes coffee in favor of celery juice and lemon water and claims that a morning yoga session ‘activates’ his organs. 

Experts told that many of Usher’s peculiar habits are, at best, ‘unnecessary’ and at worst, potentially ‘harmful,’ leading to dangerous malnutrition due to a lack of vital nutrients like carbs and fiber. 

They also warned that practices like sitting out in the heat — which he says ‘raises the body’s ‘natural heat levels’ — could promote unsafe levels of sun exposure, increasing skin cancer risk.

Dietitians told that many of Usher’s odd diet and fitness habits are ‘unnecessary’ and do not have concrete benefits

Some research has pointed to benefits of intermittent fasting, but experts warned doing so for 24 hours while exercising could lead to fatigue and electrolyte imbalance

Some research has pointed to benefits of intermittent fasting, but experts warned doing so for 24 hours while exercising could lead to fatigue and electrolyte imbalance

Intermittent fasting involves switching between normal eating and restricting food intake for anywhere from four to 12 hours throughout the week. 

However, some more extreme approaches involve eating nothing for up to an entire day at a time. Usher told the Wall Street Journal that Wednesday is his chosen fasting day.

‘I typically try to start around 11pm the previous day, then go the entire day Wednesday just drinking water,’ he said, adding that he also works out daily in preparation for a show.

Dr Carolyn Williams, dietitian and author of Meals that Heal, told that while the average person doing a 24-hour fast is ‘not so alarming,’ Usher’s intense workout routine could raise the risk of adverse effects.



‘Where I have concerns is if he was doing extensive training for the Super Bowl,’ she said. ‘If you’re going to fast for 24 hours, you need to go easy on the physical activity.’

‘Fasting all day with just water and still trying to keep up this workout schedule and everything, that’s not what is generally recommended. When you’re working out like he does, you need more to fuel your body.’

Dr Williams noted that fatigue and headaches are common side effects that can start as early as the afternoon. 

Additionally, intense exercise means sweating. Sweating leads to a loss of electrolytes, which are minerals that help control hydration, muscle contraction, and bone health, among other functions. ‘Usher could have an electrolyte imbalance,’ Dr Williams said.

Having too few electrolytes can lead to muscle cramps, diarrhea, constipation, irregular heart rate, nausea, vomiting, and numbness. 

The research surrounding intermittent fasting has long been mixed.

While some research suggests that intermittent fasting could help you lose weight, other studies have found that skipping mealtime could lead to higher risk of heart disease, cancer, and early death. 

One study presented recently of more than 20,000 adults found that those who followed a time-restricted eating plan were 91 percent more likely to die from cardiovascular disease. 

Additionally, a 2023 study on mice found that skipping breakfast caused disease-fighting white blood cells to drop by 90 percent, increasing the risk of infections.  

Dr Williams told that Usher's habit of sitting in the sun to raise his body's 'natural heat levels' has no known nutritional or fitness benefits

Dr Williams told that Usher’s habit of sitting in the sun to raise his body’s ‘natural heat levels’ has no known nutritional or fitness benefits

Usher has claimed he drinks celery juice regularly. Dr Williams noted that while the drink is hydrating, there has been no research on benefits

Usher has claimed he drinks celery juice regularly. Dr Williams noted that while the drink is hydrating, there has been no research on benefits

Usher also revealed that he skips a morning cup of coffee in favor of celery juice. The drink has been touted for having just 33 calories and being packed with nutrients like potassium, folate, and vitamins A, C, and K. 

However, Dr Williams warned that there may not be any concrete health benefits to the green concoction.

‘I don’t think there have been any major scientific research studies on celery juice,’ she said. ‘If you want to drink celery juice, that’s fine. It’s going to be very hydrating, but I don’t think it’s necessarily superior to other vegetables.’ 

‘There’s been a golden health halo around celery juice, and there isn’t really any scientific evidence to suggest that it’s going to turn around your health or prevent cancer or anything like that.’

Dr Williams also noted that because celery juice is strained, the process strips away fiber, which the vast majority of Americans don’t get enough of. 

Fiber is essential for maintaining digestion and reguar bowel movements, and emerging research suggests a lack of fiber could be fueling the explosion of cancer cases in young people. 

‘Fiber is a key nutrient in celery,’ Dr Williams said. ‘Eating celery is going to give you the fiber and the hydration and the vitamins and minerals.’

‘Typically, it’s always better and more nutrient dense when you eat a fruit or vegetable rather than juice it.’ 

As for Usher’s other go-to morning beverage – hot water with lemon, ginger, and cayenne pepper – Dr Williams noted that this could be ‘nutritionally useless.’

‘If it helps someone wake up their body and they feel like it’s beneficial to them, I don’t think there’s any harm,’ she said. ‘But there’s nothing significant that’s going to alter your health or anything.’  

Aside from specific foods, Usher also noted that he doesn’t eat breakfast until he does ‘something physical’ each morning.

‘Taking a walk, stretching or doing yoga, sitting in the sun and raising my body’s natural heat levels,’ he said. 

It’s unclear how long exactly the singer spends in the sun and heat, but Dr Williams suggested there may be no concrete benefits to doing so.

‘I don’t know what he means by that,’ she said. ‘Your body temperature is very highly regulated by things in your body. It wants to stay its normal temperature.’ 

‘I can’t think of any reason from a digestion perspective or a health perspective to do this.’ 

This ‘internal thermostat’ is regulated by hormones produced by the brain’s hypothalamus, which tend to keep the body at about 97 to 99 degrees Fahrenheit. While sitting in a hot environment can raise the body’s core temperature, doing so for too long can lead to adverse effects. 

‘Longer periods could definitely lead to heat exhaustion, and things like temperature, humidity, and time of day can exacerbate this risk,’ Dr Williams said. 

She also noted that ‘any amount of exposure of unprotected skin to direct sun can be harmful and potentially lead to skin cancer.’ 

While he uses yoga to wake up in the morning, Usher also claimed the exercise helps ‘activate my organs and get my mind moving in the right direction.’ 

‘I don’t really know what he means by that,’ Dr Williams said. ‘Yoga will definitely get your blood flowing and increase your circulation, but I’m not aware of it necessarily activating digestive organs or other organs in the body.’

According to Johns Hopkins, however, yoga has been shown to improve strength and balance, alleviate back pain, and promote relaxation. 

What is intermittent fasting?

Intermittent fasting involves switching between days of fasting and days of eating normally. 

Intermittent fasting diets fall generally into two categories – time-restricted feeding, which narrows eating times to 6-8 hours per day, also known as the 16:8 diet, and 5:2 intermittent fasting. 

The 16:8 diet is a form of intermittent fasting, also known as Time Restricted Eating. 

Followers of the eating plan fast for 16 hours a day, and eat whatever they want in the remaining eight hours – typically between 10am and 6pm.  

This may be more tolerable than the well-known 5:2 diet – where followers restrict their calories to 500–to-600 a day for two days a week and then eat as normal for the remaining five days. 

In addition to weight loss, 16:8 intermittent fasting is believed to improve blood sugar control, boost brain function and help us live longer. 

Many prefer to eat between noon and 8pm as this means they only need to fast overnight and skip breakfast, but can still eat lunch and dinner, along with a few snacks. 

When you do eat, it is best to opt for healthy options like fruits, vegetables and whole grains. 

And drink water and unsweetened beverages.  

Drawbacks of the fasting plan may be that people overindulge in the hours they can eat, leading to weight gain. 

It can also result in digestive problems over the long term, as well as hunger, fatigue and weakness.