Jennifer Aniston is back to eating carbs after decades of no-carb Atkins dieting

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Jennifer Aniston was famously on the Atkins diet for many, many years. Atkins was massively popular in the ‘90s and early ‘00s for being low-carb or no-carb and heavy on proteins. Lots of chef’s salads for Aniston, basically. She still followed some variation of low-carb Atkins well after it was the trendiest diet out there. But now, in her 50s, she’s finally eating some carbs. She spoke to People Magazine about her eating habits and how she threw out her back and had to change her fitness training.

Carb Life: These days, Aniston, 52, is adding carbohydrates back into her meals. “[I] started to give myself a break, allowing yourself to have pasta, a sandwich. Everyone’s very afraid of the bread basket, and I’m no longer afraid. As long as it’s all done in moderation.”

Carbs made a difference. “There’s something my body appreciates about [having carbs], like, ‘Oh, thank you! Why are you depriving me of things I love?’”

Breakfast & fasting: “I kind of naturally do intermittent fasting, just because I’m not a breakfast person. I just like a cup of coffee and my collagen.”

Throwing out her back: “I was hitting a stage in my life where I wanted to up the health game,” she explains. But an injury last fall slightly derailed her plans. “Back in October my back went out; I’d done a really hard workout, and then one day I tried to get up and couldn’t. I literally fell to the floor and ended up having to go get an MRI. Sure enough, I had a 9-mm bulging disc, which is really intense. So my whole workout had to change.”

Going more for Pilates: Aniston started with Pilates to “rehab” her back, and is now doing it three to four times a week. “It really works your body out in a very gentle way,” she says. And the injury taught Aniston to take it easy on her body instead of trying to make her workouts overly complicated. “When I threw my back out, I was like, ‘Maybe it was that lunge twist squat move.’ We can’t just do one simple move. We try to add four moves to one,” she says.

She wants to get back to running: “I haven’t been able to run, which is my love. I’m going to slowly start incorporating that into my workouts again.”

[From People]

I think it was back in 2018, I threw out my back twice in a year and it changed the way I work out too, and it just made me feel so old. Like, I had to sleep in a certain position and the back spasms were a nightmare. I didn’t try Pilates to rehab it though, but I hear that is a gentle way to rehab that kind of injury. Like Aniston, I’m not much of a breakfast person either – I used to force myself to eat some yogurt and a banana every morning but I rarely do that anymore. I just need water and then caffeine. That being said, I’m usually super-hungry by lunchtime. Also: can you even imagine avoiding carbs for the better part of 25 years and then suddenly phasing in some pasta and bread? I cannot, because I have zero willpower and I will always love carbs.

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76 Responses to “Jennifer Aniston is back to eating carbs after decades of no-carb Atkins dieting”

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  1. Maria says:

    Her life is so interesting.

  2. Becks1 says:

    I have sort of fallen into intermittent fasting but its not intentional. And I don’t even know if I would call it IF, lol. I just started eating breakfast later – like 10 or so (I get up at 630) and then its morphed into where I don’t eat breakfast at all, I just have lunch at 11 or 1130 (so technically thats “breaking the fast” but you know what I mean lol.) So it works out that I am eating less bc I’ve eliminated that one meal and my lunch portion is the same size it always was (not necessarily small lol). but I dont do it on purpose and if I am hungrier earlier I’ll eat.

    I do have a mug of tea as soon as I get up.

    I love carbs so no carb free diets for me, lol. I know that they are my downfall though bc I do LOVE them so much (no “portion control” for me when it comes to pasta, I want to eat it ALL.)

    • Abby16 says:

      I use the IF strategy for 12 hours and it’s given me a lot more flex to have the fun stuff and not gain weight. My husband has been at his ideal weight for years now. He fasts for 16 hrs most days.

  3. TeamMeg says:

    I thought she was famously on The Zone Diet, not Atkins. 🤷🏻‍♀️

    • AnnaC says:

      I thought so too. And she frequently mentioned her love for tortilla chips, salsa and margaritas.

  4. Seraphina says:

    I will say this, and maybe it’s due to my age and realizing life is short (due to COVID and a few other events), but I am really tired of actresses coming out (if you will) and denouncing diets -unhealthy ones- they have been on while pushing the thin image that is not really attainable for many of us. Her body has been deprived of certain foods due to her wanting to maintain an image. And a French actress said it best: as you get older you can save your a@@ or your face but not both.

    • questions says:

      I think she’s honest about how she maintains her figure though. We’ve always known she works hard at it (depending how you define “hard.”) She doesn’t pretend to have a fast metabolism.

      She also admits she basically has to be thin for her job. I don’t think she’s pretending it’s not job-related.

      Some of these influencers on Instagram seem way more annoying to me about how they maintain their figure. I think the actresses will at least actually tell you they have to deprive themselves.

  5. NotSoSocialButterfly says:

    There’s little better than a hunk of baguette with cold butter… off to Panera for a green goddess salad and a lovely piece of baguette.

    • Lemon says:


      My grandmother was Italian. We would have Spaghetti, meatballs and salad, with garlic bread on the side! Bread with every meal. She was healthy and lived to 87, her sister lived to 90. It was all of that olive oil, fresh produce, simple meals, and the carbs were integral.

      Bread is a western European staple, as part of a balanced diet it’s fine. And yummy.

    • Eleonor says:

      Agreeed! As an Italian living in France I find the carbs hate an American nonsense LOL

    • Christa says:

      I love their green goddess salad!

      When analyzed, all the carb restricting diets whether they be Adkins vs Zone vs Keto are just another method of calorie restriction. They seem extreme to me but I guess whatever works. Anyway I feel bad for anyone who has to calorie restrict to maintain their weight. I am sure it’s very challenging.

      • Melissa says:

        Thank you for saying that. It is challenging. I am 65, trying to take off 25-30 (doctor recommended) lbs. I have to stay at 1200 calories to the calorie, or the scale will NOT BUDGE , and even then it is slow going and yes, I do exercise and walk every day. Brutal.

  6. Eliz says:

    Fascinating! She is just sooooo dull . All she talks about is her hair , diet, exercise routine, hair again, Friends, hair again. Zzzzzzzz

  7. Lala11_7 says:

    I’ve always like Aniston…and obviously so do millions of others…and my 53 year old a– was thrown a LOOP regarding my physical fitness last December when I got a grade 3 calf tear on a SERIOUS fast paced weighted hike…and I am STILL not back to 70%…I was doing too much…and like Jen…I’ve had to change the way I do things 😕

    • Jegede says:

      I like her too.

      At the age of 50+ in HW, she’s successful, rich as hell, with a great group of friends – male & female – & godchildren around her.

      I’ll take that boring life anyday!👍👍

      • Abby16 says:

        Me too – and she’s been pretty open about trying to be publicly boring when she needs a break.

  8. mellie says:

    Oh God, I love breakfast, it’s my favorite meal of the day….I eat 2 eggs almost every single day. And on the weekend it’s pancakes or French toast at least once. I could not give up breakfast for any amount of $$$.

    • AnnaC says:

      This…and given the chance I’d rather go out for an amazing breakfast or brunch out vs going out to dinner.

    • Haapa says:

      I do breakfast for dinner all the time because I have no appetite early in the day.

  9. jules says:

    I’ve decided after 25 years to give my body something it needs…

  10. MissF says:

    Why are Americans so afraid of carbs? Carbs are glorious, pizza is the food of the GODS

    • Maria says:

      Not afraid of them, I think of them all day and dream of them at night.
      Unfortunately my body puts on weight easily. I have to eat low carb and maintain very strict calorie counts to even just stay at a size 12. It’s not fun, and I hate it. But if I “let myself go”, I hate the results of that more
      (For my body, not making a statement about anyone else’s).

    • questions says:

      If I eat carbs, I get chubbier. It does definitely change how the body looks. That said, if I see a pizza, I will eat it. But I do think it’s a myth I can be thinner eating them.

      • Anne Call says:

        I make homemade sourdough, bagels and brioche buns since covid started. And I eat in moderation and move about 13k steps a day. I’ve actually lost weight and my age it’s not easy. All things in moderation…

      • Maria says:

        To Anne: you know the saying- Even if we all exercised the same and ate the same, we’d still have different bodies.

      • Isa says:

        Carbs are glorious, but they make me gain weight and my stomach bloats like crazy.
        I still eat pizza in the form of cauliflower crust (which I actually enjoy) or a crust made out of almond flour.

    • Grant says:

      Plenty of people (not just Americans, how ludicrously silly, let’s refer to the industrial skinny complex pioneered by the fashion meccas in Paris and Milan) are careful with carbs.

  11. Robin says:

    What a miserable existence. All these female celebrities and actors on reduced eating – incredibly wealthy yet not permitting themselves one of the ultimate luxuries money can buy, which is great produce and enough to eat. Wasn’t Julianne Moore the one who was honest enough to say that she was starving all the time. I can’t think of anything worse than this – rich yet eating like you can’t afford food.

    • Becks1 says:

      I read an interview with Carrie Underwood years ago (I think around the time of her wedding maybe?) and she mentioned that sometimes she would have a granola bar in the afternoon. And that would be it. Maybe 4 oz of grilled chicken for dinner.

      For the most part these actresses aren’t skinny bc they’re so much healthier than us, they just don’t eat.

      • Robin says:

        Exactly. All this wellness is a front for disordered eating. Been there, done that, and never going back. It makes me so angry, because it is not honest and frankly dangerous. Some of these women are hungry 24/7. It’s also the hair extensions, make up, blow outs, cosmetic surgery and, probably most of all, edited photography that help hide the very ugly effects of not eating enough. Some unedited photography provides a true insight – look at the now unnaturally thin Kate Middleton et al when snapped without photoshopping.

      • Seraphina says:

        And I recall Debra Messing stating she looked back on Will and Grace reruns and recalls how unhealthy her thinness was and she engaged in very poor eating habits. And I remember a recent photo pf Kate where her chest bones could be counted. It was not a good look.
        I joined WW. With me being on the cusp of menopause and COVID I needed help. It took a month for me to get into habits that were good for me: portion control, eat when hungry, VERY limited processed foods and exercise. Lots of high protein foods (eggs, greek yogurt, lean meats) since muscle depletes as we age. It has not been easy.

      • Darla says:

        No, it’s not easy. It’s incredibly hard work and that’s just to stay at a healthy weight. Imagine having to be as skinny as all of these actresses have to stay. I do think there is also a lot of pressure on the men in that business. But the actresses are mostly all at very unhealthy weights and the truth is, that shows on their faces once they are what? 45? The latest? That’s why I don’t mock them for their injections and surgeries. They can’t win.

      • Isa says:

        Carrie Underwood is a vegetarian, bordering on vegan.

    • Dali says:

      Thats exactly what i was thinking. Imagine having all the wealth and going to the best restaurants in the world and all you can order is a salad??? Screw that life ffs! I understand that you have to watch your weight but 24/7 all week??? No cheat day?? What a horrible life! Shes old enough to relax, there are no more romcoms for her, she could produce films and enjoy her life but i guess that fame makes people addicted to it. Always staying relevant when this means nothing at the end of life! She still makes mediocre banal movies when she really doesn’t need it anymore? Shes rich af! I can’t comprehend at all!

  12. candy says:

    I threw out my back last year and it was pure hell! I never understood that expression until I was flat on the floor and couldn’t move. It never really recovers once you’ve done that. I had to change my workouts too, and I only do gentle walking, swimming, and easy yoga. I can’t handle the hard stuff anymore.

  13. Carmen says:

    Listening to her, I get the feeling she has absolutely zero between the ears.

    • lisanne says:

      She received a SAG award in 2019 for her role in The Morning Show. She’s a smart woman, but seems like it took a long time to come into her own.

  14. girl_ninja says:

    I like Jen. She’s just one of those folks that I’ve grown up with and It’s nice to see her seemingly doing well in her life.

    • candy says:

      I will always have a soft spot for her because she’s one of the only childfree, successful, unmarried, happy women to look up to.

      • Anne Call says:

        She’s pretty funny on the Smartless podcast. Jason Bateman and will Arenett seem to know her really well and it made for an interesting hour.

      • Elizabeth says:

        You need to look farther, there are plenty of more interesting women out there who actually do something meaningful with their time.

  15. Mabs A'Mabbin says:

    Me too. I haven’t had carbs since the 90s either. 😂🤣😭

  16. KNy says:

    I swear the food pyramid messed generations up by making it seem like we had to eat whole loaves of bread. It literally made it seem like carbs were more important than vegetables! I’m almost not surprised that some people decided to completely cut out carbs. How she did it for 2+ decades is insane to me, though. I’ve really been honing in on portion sizes recently and actually weighed out a serving of pasta (56 grams dried) and it was teeny tiny. I used to just poor a huge amount into the boiling water. Now I mix the serving of pasta with tons of vegetables so I get pasta with every bite but I’m full by the end.

  17. BusyLizzy says:

    As a French person I want to say, one would not survive a day here on a carb free diet. I mean to each their own but I am not into the elimination diet personally – moderation and exercise is key (to me).

    • Maria says:

      The numerous French women who still love the Dukan diet might disagree.
      Not that I endorse that, but no-carb diets have their niches worldwide sadly

      • Seraphina says:

        Is that the one rumored to be used by Carole before THE weeding of Carole’s dreams??

      • Maria says:

        The very same! To be fair, many people in the news have used it.

      • BusyLizzy says:

        Who are those numerous French women? Most of the women I know (friends, colleagues, acquaintances, etc.) would laugh at this diet. The French Vogue editor is a friend of mine and she eats pasta and bread on a regular basis (gasp! Don’t tell Jen).

      • Maria says:

        The millions of French women who made it famous and the ones who are still buying it? Lol. Anyway, I am not going to dispute your anecdotal evidence (although I have two French friends who go off and on it still despite me advising it’s not healthy) nor was that the crux of the point, which is that yes, women worldwide often follow no carb diets. While I wouldn’t advise going that far and moderation is indeed best, the eating habits that work for you work for you. Try not to assume about anyone else’s.
        And sorry but it’s also a fact that a lot of very thin women who claim to eat a lot and eat carbs are just lying. Not saying your friend is, but tons of women do (particularly in the fashion world which as we all know promotes toxic and disordered eating and stigmatizes larger bodies and has done so for generations). The implication that people’s methods of consumption of carbs etc is inherently flawed or else they’d be thin is a pretty harmful attitude but very pervasive, in fact it’s all over this post. If you can eat those things and not put on much weight then count yourself fortunate.

    • candy says:

      I am french too and I agree with you, it would be hard in France. There are so many sandwiches, potatoes, pastries etc. and they are bountiful and delicious. The french are pretty good about moderation, so it works for them. For example, you sit down to eat at a restaurant and the portions will be reasonable, making portion control easier.

      For me, now that I live in the states, moderation doesn’t work for me. If I have chips at home, I will eat it all, so I just have to keep that stuff out of the house. Restaurant food is often very rich, salty, or sweet, with many sauces and deep fried in oil, and then the portion is more for two people! It is harder to exercise moderation here, although there are far more options than there were in the past.

    • Anne Call says:

      Thank you! Moderation and exercise just doesn’t sell expensive diet books. Maddening how much time and money women spend on stuff like this.

    • Grant says:

      Tell that to all the French fashion people living in Paris who are rail thin. I studied abroad in Paris and there are plenty of Parisians who, frankly, don’t eat–and they certainly don’t eat carbs–and just smoke cigarettes.

      • Seraphina says:

        I witnessed that abroad too with friends and family. They made fun of over weight Americans, but were rail thin due to the coffee and cigarette consumption.
        Portion control, moderation and lots of exercise – most of which, especially right now – is very difficult in the States.

  18. Valerie says:

    Atkins is low-carb, not no-carb, though.

  19. Green Desert says:

    I rolled my eyes at the heading but read the excerpt and can actually relate to part of what she says, lol. My back got f-ed up from pregnancy with a large baby – disc bulge too. Once I finally figured it out I started doing Pilates, which is so great for strengthening the core which in turn helps the back. I also had a goal of being able to run again, and I just started running about a month ago. Pilates, combined with a great chiropractor have enabled me to get back to my first exercise love. So I totally get Aniston’s wavelength for once, haha. But yeah in my experience carbs in my diet help me feel better while running, so hopefully she can experience that.

    • Seraphina says:

      When I was pilates (need to start up again) we had men in the class because they were competitive runners and wanted to strengthen that core.

  20. LOL says:

    She could write a book on her ever so interesting life..

  21. TeeMajor says:

    Its always the same with her, her diet, her hair, what she eats.

    It seems as if she has no substance, even at this big old age.

  22. Jayna says:

    I can’t wait for Season 2 of The Morning Show. I believe it’s coming in September. I’ve just finished rewatching Season 1 to refresh myself. It’s not a perfect show, but I really enjoyed it. And Jennifer was really fantastic in her role. Billy Crudup was absolutely ah-mazing.

  23. ugh says:

    I’m sorry, but I can’t with her. She’s so phony.

    • Granger says:

      I’m not a fan but I don’t think she’s phony. I think she’s completely genuine — just really shallow and self-absorbed. She’s got a lot of good friends so I’m not saying she isn’t a generous, kind, and loving person. She just talks so much about all the time and energy she spends on self-care that it makes me think she’s got very little else going on.

  24. Meg says:

    I can’t imagine no pasta bread or carbs, ever. Even if you told me I’d have washboard abs and no back fat ever like magic-still not sure I could never have carbs

  25. Isa says:

    Low carb isn’t the same as no carbs. It’s not all iceberg lettuce and meat and cheese. There’s tons of options available now and so many recipes out there. While I do miss bread, i don’t think it’s a bad thing to replace it with cauliflower, broccoli, or zucchini noodles. I am envious of people that can have it in moderation and not look 6 months pregnant.