We Tried Mariah Carey's 2-Ingredient Diet, But We Don't Recommend You Do

Mariah Carey
Photo: D Dipasupil/Getty

What is it: Mariah Carey’s diet. About a week ago, goddess of Christmas Mariah Carey told E! News that the secret to her amazing body is a diet of solely smoked salmon and capers. “It’s really hard. My diet, you would hate it. All you eat is Norwegian salmon and capers every day. That’s it,” she confessed.

That’s it? MARIAH. Did you forget the bagel and cream cheese part, maybe? Or the part where you say “and then at noon I eat a sandwich and some fruit because LOL did you think I actually only ate smoked salmon all day, every day?” But no.

Who tried it: Gina Vaynshteyn, HelloGiggles Editorial Director

Level of Difficulty: 9 ½ (on a scale of 1 to 10), or one hanger tantrum next to impossible.

My first smoked salmon meal wasn’t so bad. I’m Jewish after all, so, the thought of eating piles and piles of lox didn’t seem so horrible! I ate a few slices, had some coffee (I’m allowed to drink coffee, right?), and drove to work. As soon as I got to the office around 10 a.m. is when the hunger pangs began. An hour after I had my breakfast.


Because as it turns out, a few slivers of smoked salmon don’t fill you up. A few agonizing hours went by until lunchtime, when I ravenously inhaled the salmon I brought with me. “I’m eating like Mariah Carey eats,” I explained to my associate editor who sat across from me and couldn’t help but stare at my sparse lunch choice.

By dinner time, I was a mess. I was SO hungry. The fish was so salty I could feel my veins prune up, and all I could smell and taste was fish. I marched up to my fridge and ate an entire package of lox (what? Mariah didn’t say how MUCH salmon she ate!). And then I went to bed early to stop myself from busting open the snack cabinet and murdering the bag of Doritos I knew I had stashed.

The next morning, I woke up with an intense urge to vacuum every bottle of water I had in my house with my mouth. I was SO THIRSTY. And hungry. Did I mention I was always hungry? I dumped half a pack of salmon (this is also getting expensive — one pack of mid-grade lox will run you at least $7) on to a paper plate, added a few obligatory capers, and ate.

By lunch, it was unbearable. My stomach hurt and everyone around me was eating the Greek food we had catered in for lunch. I was short with my editors (I’m so sorry you guys, it was the high blood pressure talking, not me!), and all I could think about was biting into a turkey sandwich made with extra tomatoes and a French baguette. The texture of smoked salmon was driving me insane. And I felt bloated. I needed. Real. Food.

WATCH THIS: Food Hack: Make a Biscuit & Gravy Wreath

So, I failed my Mariah Carey diet then and there by walking to Jimmy John’s and ordering a sub the size of a newborn infant. It was the best sandwich I had ever had.

The Verdict: Mariah Carey is (probably) exaggerating. There is no way you can eat JUST smoked salmon — even one day of this strict diet was unbearable. The good news? I lost a pound. But maybe I would have lost more if my body wasn’t fighting for every drop of water it could retain.

I asked a nutrition expert Whitney English, if Mariah’s diet could be any semblance of healthy, and she told me:“Any diet that excludes major macronutrient groups is a bad idea! The body needs a balance of carbs, fat and protein to function properly. While a normal portion of salmon is a good source of vitamin D and vitamin B12, it contains zero fiber, zero carbohydrates, and low levels of many micronutrients. A diet consisting solely of smoked salmon and capers will likely result in both micronutrient deficiencies and toxicities.”

English added, “If she was eating 60 ounces of smoked salmon a day, roughly 2000 calories worth, she still wouldn’t meet the RDA (Recommended Daily Allowance) for calcium, magnesium, iron, potassium, thiamin, vitamin C, folate, and vitamin K. Add [in the capers], and she’d still only gain 4 grams of fiber. The RDA is about 25-35 grams. Hello, constipation!”

Luckily, my diet hadn’t gotten THAT far.

English pointed out that if you strictly follow the diet, your body would be getting way too much niacin, and the side effects of that include “headaches, heartburn, nausea, vomiting and gout.”

In case you still want to try the all-smoked-salmon diet, English wants you to know that “the scariest part though is the effects of astronomically high amounts of vitamin D. Vitamin D is the most likely vitamin to cause overt toxicity which could include calcification of organs, renal dysfunction, and in some cases, death.”

Bottom line? There are other, more healthy ways to emulate the gorgeous Mariah Carey. This is not one of them.

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