Giada De Laurentiis has a new elimination diet book: ‘Sugar was a crutch’

We haven’t covered Giada De Laurentiis in over three years, which means she’s been relatively low key and not messy. The last time we talked about her was when she did a “what I do in a day” type interview with The Cut. At that time she did acupuncture once a week, yoga about five days a week and was on over 20 vitamins and supplements a day, given to her by her acupuncturist. Plus she got something called “vitamin pushes” from her doctor once a week. She said got sick with sinus infections and needed vitamins to keep her “immune system going.” Giada may have since solved most of those issues with her diet. She has a new book out called Eat Better, Feel Better: My Recipes for Wellness and Healing, Inside and Out. In an interview with CNN, Giada said once she gave up sugar, gluten and dairy she felt so much better. It doesn’t sound like she totally eliminated them forever, just that she cut way back. While I haven’t read this book, it doesn’t seem like she’s pushing a radical “eat only these foods” type of diet, or that it’s promoting diet culture. It’s more about what worked to help her feel better. So much of what she said resonated with me.

De Laurentiis tells CNN that getting her health back on track was the inspiration for her latest book, “Eat Better, Feel Better: My Recipes for Wellness and Healing, Inside and Out.”

“Sugar was a crutch to get my energy up,” she said. “Sometimes it would be as basic as taking a sugar cube, dipping it in espresso and eating that directly. I ate jam directly from a container…Over time all of that and those cravings, once you’re introduced to sugar it’s very difficult to break. It’s like a drug.”

De Laurentiis said her symptoms first began 10 years ago and that she was running on overdrive. Between her numerous television appearances, book tours and overall demanding schedule, she knew that something wasn’t right.
“I started feeling tired, really tired, really foggy. Interrupted sleep, where I couldn’t sleep for hours in a row, lots of bloating and sinus infections,” she said.

After two years of taking antibiotics for reoccurring sinusitis, she says she began having digestive issues. That’s when De Laurentiis says she began to eliminate sugar, dairy, gluten and refined sugars from her life.

“I started to slowly decrease those things in my diet,” she said. “I told myself, ‘I’m going to start for three days, then slowly re-introduce it.’ Almost immediately I realized what inflames my body and that sugar and dairy really inflame my body.”
In her new book she encourages her readers to do her three day reboot.

“Most integrated doctors will tell you it takes at least a week, but I found three days is a really great way to feel relief,” she said. “In the three days, it is food. I’m not saying to go on a cleanse and have liquids all day. It’s just so your body has a minute to breathe.”
But how does a chef, who’s Italian recipes made her a household name, find substitutes for those cheesy dishes?

“I knew I can’t cut out cheese! I eat parmigiano with almost every meal,” De Laurentiis said. “What I did was find ways to enjoy it but minimize the amounts I was using.”

[From CNN]

As far as diets go, this seems somewhat sensible. The three day test, which sounds similar to an elimination diet, isn’t that difficult in that you can still eat food. This isn’t a goop-level smoothie diet. Also, I use sugar like she used to, especially with the amount of stress I’ve been under lately. I’d really like a solution for weaning off of it. I read the reviews for this book and they’re mixed. A lot of readers say it isn’t any different than a typical ayurvedic diet and that the recipes aren’t that innovative. I was really interested in this so I got a book from my local library called The Anti-Inflammation Diet and Recipe Book. It’s ok, but I’m not going to give up gluten, dairy, sugar, coffee, peanuts, etc. Maybe I should do this three day reset she suggests.

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37 Responses to “Giada De Laurentiis has a new elimination diet book: ‘Sugar was a crutch’”

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  1. Mac says:

    I was gluten free for years before the pandemic but a few months ago I just gave up and indulged in carbs. I get my second shot next Saturday and I am returning to the gluten free diet. I have so much more energy when I am gluten free. I may try dairy free for a few days to see if it makes a difference.

  2. Mrs. Peel says:

    I’ve never seen her taste the food she cooks, not ever!

    • Lisa says:

      I have seen her taste food on her shows, and it is the weirdest thing to watch. she. peals back her lips from her teeth. go rewatch sometime. It’s like she cannot stand to eat food.

  3. Tom says:

    This might not be realistic for many right now. Remember that Giada is selling something. Remember that the diet industry uses our insecurities to sell us products.

    Be kind to yourselves, Celebitches.

    • Seraphina says:

      I agree Tom, she is selling something. I mentioned this below, I had heard rumor she had a spit bucket next to her while cooking (on her show) and they would cut when she would eat the food she cooked and spit it out – in an effort to not consume calories and fat. That would explain her low energy and needing sugar. If you aren’t eating, you need something to get your energy up.

      • Tiffany :) says:

        Spit buckets are very common/the norm on set when food has to be eaten. Don’t judge her for an industry standard.

      • Seraphina says:

        @Tiffany, makes me wonder why I have never heard it being an industry standard. And if true, why that was not brought to light when she was called out for it.

      • Tiffany :) says:

        I don’t know why you haven’t heard of it, but a simple google search will provide tons of resources about how they are used on sets. I used one when filming 20 years ago, so it is nothing new. I don’t remember hearing about her being “called out” for it, probably because it is a non-story.

        It’s not good to shame women for what they eat or don’t eat, and what their bodies look like. We shouldn’t shame Giada for doing something that is completely normal for people on camera.

      • Seraphina says:

        @Tiffany, I wasn’t trying to shame her, simply stating what “gossip” I had heard – here on a gossip site.

      • Tiffany :) says:

        Maybe your intent wasn’t to shame, but it can read that way.

    • Kate says:

      Yep. There is a lot unsaid here in her ‘wellness journey’ like what her diet was like before this, and what her stress levels were like. As Seraphina noted, if you’re not eating enough calories you’re going to be tired. If you are filled with stress hormones from your job or personal life you are going to crave sugar and carbs to reduce your adrenaline, and you are likely to have sleep disturbances. But I guess making adjustments like making sure you are eating enough protein and having regular meals to sustain your blood sugar and energy, and getting enough downtime and relaxation in your day to avoid burnout are not as exciting and immediate as going on a diet and further limiting the types and quantities of food you eat.

      • Seraphina says:

        Kate, when I dieted it was coffee that fueled me. But when I read what she was doing, it sounds like there are other issues there as well. I agree with you.

      • Blaine says:

        YES, thank you. Women (men too) are often sold a narrative that sugar/gluten/insert fad is a “drug”, and to eliminate it.
        In reality, it’s the restriction that sets up an obsessive food relationship. Anecdotally, I used to think I was “addicted” to sugar, yet when I truly allowed all foods as neutral, what do you know, I suddenly didn’t give a shit about sugar at all – except when I’m really hungry and need calories.
        Eating disorders masquerade as “wellness” these days. I hate books like Giada’s. They kept me in body dysmorphic hell for 10 years.

    • Isabella says:

      I’ve always wondered if Padma has a spit jar on Top Chef. I. hope so. It must be so hard on her metabolism, having to taste all the Quick Fires as well as the big main challenges.

  4. Meredith says:

    I love Giada and have always noticed she eats her own food. I’m obsessed with her show with Bobby Flay (who is douche-y) that takes place in Italy. She can be annoying but I still generally like her.

    • Seraphina says:

      I heard or read that she had a spit bucket next to her and would spit out her food so she would not consume the fat and calories. Not sure if that is true.

    • Mel says:

      OMG.. Bobby was in full douche mode in the Italy show. I’m surprised that no one told him how ridiculous he looked by hanging out with women his daughters age every time he said he was eating with “friends”. LOL, stop it Bobby.

    • Jaded says:

      She allegedly had an affair with Bobby Flay while they were both still married to others. She also allegedly had a wild affair with John Mayer while she was still married. Her husband divorced her shortly after word got out. A nice person she is not.

      • Justwastingtime says:

        Maybe not a nice person to her husband (I have no idea) but from limited personal experience (our kids were in school together) she is a lovely person.

      • JULIE says:

        I worked at a culinary school in SF. She is one that is remarkably unpleasant. Just nasty. And isn’t shy about people hearing her say she would unpleasant things. Not a fan.

    • Isabella says:

      Giada does spit out food, according to her rep. but so do many in the food industry. Makes sense. From Pop Sugar:

      “She absolutely eats her own food while filming. Giada tapes sometimes three episodes in one day, and they do multiple takes on a close-up of her eating. She doesn’t always eat and swallow every time, since they can do sometimes six to 10 takes with three episodes a day, and that would be like eating six to eight meals a day . . . The bottom line is, she most certainly does eat the food she prepares on the show, but does not always consume the whole dish, as that would be too much for most people to eat in one day.”

      The story adds:
      “But here’s another truth that no one wants to hear: yes, we spit out food to stay thin. Most of us know (but don’t want to admit) that portion control or healthy dieting makes a person thin.”

  5. Becks1 says:


  6. Mishka says:

    I am burned out on the Royals too. Over it. And Giada had boring recipes overall. Like how to make a Nutella Sandwich. B ish please.

  7. Becks1 says:

    Celebitchy I know you said you didnt want to try it bc it seemed too much like a fad but maybe you should try the Whole 30. I find that even following its rules for a week make me feel a lot better and less bloated. I ‘ve said to my husband though that I want to do something similar but a little more piecemeal – kind of like here with Giada – give up dairy, gluten and added sugar for a week and see how I feel.

    Honestly though, soy is a big culprit that gets overlooked, and its in SO MUCH. Maybe I should just avoid soy. I dont know.

  8. manda says:

    I have found that sugar is addictive for me, and omg I love it so much. Sugar and carbs are so hard to reduce but once you get past that phase of omg I want that so much, it’s not so bad. A few years ago, my A1c was at pre-diabetic levels, and with my family’s history of type 2 diabetes (and just not eating right or having a healthy lifestyle), I knew I needed to make some changes. I reduced but did not totally cut out bread and rice, and really reduced but again did not totally cut out treats, and just really tried to fill up on protein and fiber and fat and fruits and veggies. And real food! And I lost weight without trying and without really punishing myself.

    Flash forward to the pandemic, I tried to stay good but there was sooo much FOMO from all the wine drinking and the baking. Right around christmas, I decided to go back to my old ways, and yes, I have gained about five pounds and I am unhappy with it. This cookbook sounds like it might be some good inspiration to get back on the right track. Because I agree with her, no I can’t cut out the stuff I love.

    TL;DR–her outlook on healthy eating seems spot on! And her stuff is usually good so I’m guessing this stuff is too!

  9. Southern Fried says:

    When I want to impress I do a Giada recipe. Honestly the best meals I’ve ever made were hers. Totally worth the time and effort, I lovingly and enjoy so much as I prepare unlike most of my cooking. The only one we didn’t like was the Little Stars with butter and Parm.
    I handle my choc cravings by eating a few M&Ms each day, a fun size bag.
    I refuse to watch Flay.

  10. Astrid says:

    She’s a skinny bobble head that spits out food.

  11. Kate says:

    I once went on an elimination diet when i was breastfeeding my first child and she had some unknown allergies. I eliminated dairy and soy and it didn’t help. So I eliminated all foods other than the lowest allergenic foods in an attempt to reintroduce things one at a time. I was eating only turkey, potatoes, olive oil and rice. My more diety/exercisey friends asked me if I had SO much more energy after eliminating dairy and those other things. I could not stress highly enough that I was NOT more energized by limiting my diet and cutting out foods I loved. I was miserable.

    That is the unspoken secret of all these elimination fads – people know inherently that you are likely to lose weight if you are cutting out entire food groups. That is the real draw. But it is disguised as promised extra energy and better sleep and “detoxing” and ambiguous promises of “feeling better”. I’m sure it can help some people with various ailments especially if you are allergic to certain food groups, but I am wary of selling it to the masses as a cure-all without consulting with a doctor and/or nutritionist first.

  12. Nikki* says:

    I have an autoimmune disease, so I’ve HAD to learn how to listen to my body. After overindulging on sugar, I literally got bumps on my bumps, so I had to cut it out, though I have TINY treats with a protein sometimes. I’m a big believer in disciplined experimenting with how you feel. BUT: I gave up ALL sugar for months, and still missed it terribly. For me, it just isn’t true that when you adjust, you don’t miss it. I want sugar every day of my life. ps: alcohol has a lot of sugar in it.

  13. Jaded says:

    I actually feel bloated and can’t sleep if I eat white carbs or sugary stuff. I stick to pasta made of brown rice or chick pea flour, occasionally multi-grain breads and new potatoes but I can’t eat the big fluffy russetts . Ditto sugar – I cut out all but raw honey for coffee/tea and maple syrup. I have no problem with unsweetened yogurt or cheese.

  14. margie says:

    Who TF eats jam right out of a jar?

  15. Nikki says:

    Sounds smart and sensible. Good for her! Now if she would only stop being so shady to female chefs on the food shows she judges.

  16. Isabella says:

    I have an app called Portrait Pro. Looks like Giada uses it. It’s a little scary, that cover. Nobody looks like that. I once saw her at a book signing and she is gorgeous. I wish she’d allow herself to look more natural in print. Nigella Lawson is also gorgeous in person, as well as on TV.