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K-pop Idol Extreme Diet

If you are interested in Korean pop culture, you will know that being a K-pop Idol is not easy. The nation is strict on the artists, not only talent-wised but appearance too. A slim figure becomes a “must” for the idol, and they are not allowed to have even a little bit of fat. 

To achieve that, many K-pop idols go through extreme diets to lose weight in a short period. Let’s see what kind of diets they are undergoing. 

  1. IU Diet

IU’s diet plan is one of the most famous among all and has been imitated by many people. Simply search “IU diet” or “IU diet challenge” on YouTube, and you will find a lot of YouTubers who tried and showed their results. 

Do they succeed? Yes, most of them successfully lose weight after trying it! Let’s see what is inside IU’s diet. 

Breakfast: An apple

Lunch: 2 sweet potatoes

Dinner: A cup of protein drink

I guess you know why it works. It’s simply too low in calories. However, this cannot sustain for a long time. 

  1. Twice Momo’s Diet 

The girl group member used to go through an extreme diet when she was asked to lose 7kg in 7 days. (How is that even possible??) Guess what she eats to achieve this impossible mission?

Only ice cubes.

Yes, you didn’t read it wrongly, only ice cubes. 

What’s worse is that she spent most of the time in the gym, and even worried that the ice cubes would make her fat. She even thought she wouldn’t wake up again when she tried to sleep. 

 This is not just a diet issue, it can be fatal. 

Luckily, Momo didn’t do it anymore after that, she maintains her health and body figure by implementing a good diet and regular exercise.

  1. Paper cup Diet

“Paper cup diet” was brought up by the girl group “Nine Muse” and went viral.  It literally means eating food that is the size of a paper cup. This is how it works:

Breakfast: a paper cup of any healthy food

Lunch: a paper cup of any healthy food

Dinner: a paper cup of any healthy food 

Instead of sticking with calories, you can put anything in the food, as long as it is natural and healthy food. This sounds not bad but let us come back to the portion: a tiny paper cup. 

It can be easily filled up with just a few large pieces of lettuce and that’s all. 

  1. One meal a day Diet 

Many Korean idols have tried this diet, such as ex-girl group members Soyou and Dasom, BTS’s Jimin and EXID’s Hani. 

The content of the meal is unknown. But basically, they limit themselves to eating just one meal per day, and include a high volume of exercise to shred body fat quickly. 

  1. One food Diet

As the name said, the diet works by just sticking with single food for the whole day. I.O.IJeon So Mi’s “Banana diet”, Red Velvet’s Seulgi “Soymilk diet”, Dasom “Cucumber diet”, and “sweet potato diet” were implemented by many. 

This kind of diet is extremely unacceptable. Not only is it too low in calories, eating only one type of food can lead to nutrient imbalance. 

What do these diets have in common? 

Very low in Calories

No matter in what form, these diets are just too low in calories. The meals are known as “Very Low Calories Diet (VLCD)”, providing 800 kcal or less than 800 kcal per day. It was introduced in the 1970s, to promote rapid weight loss. 

Not sustainable 

In common sense, you should burn more than you eat in order to lose weight. However, the calories consumed should not be lower than your basal metabolic rate (BMR). BMR is the energy that your body requires to perform basic functions like breathing, blood circulation,  brain function, maintaining body temperature and so on. 

Everyone’s BMR is different, depending on their age, gender, muscle mass, physical activity level and many more. Eating lower than BMR in the long term can disrupt body function and causes a lot of unwanted side effects. 

Lack of protein

Protein is important in getting our body to function properly. Not eating or not eating enough protein can lead to consequences like low immunity, hair drop, and tiredness easily. 

Besides, as these idols are eating too few calories and protein, this might lead them to lose muscle mass.

Lack of nutrients  

Besides protein, it is hard to obtain adequate other important nutrients with this amount of food. The body needs different types of nutrients for it to function normally. 

For example, calcium to maintain healthy bones, iron for blood production, and vitamin C for immunity and wound healing.

Restrictive and Not Flexible

These kinds of diets are usually restrictive and boring. As it is fixed, you can’t eat other food except for the one on the list. This makes the weight loss journey not enjoyable but suffering, and might affect your social life if you are eating with others. 

Should I try the K-pop idol diet?

It is not recommended to follow the K-pop Idol diet. Long-term restrictive diets may lead to some consequences. 

Weight rebound or Yo-yo effect

Research has shown that people who are at their normal weight, and who try to lose weight by dieting, are likely to experience weight gain in the future. 

It can affect your metabolism. Once you started dieting, your body adapts to the “low energy mode”, conserving energy to make you survive. Once you started eating normally, your body will treat the food as an “extra calorie” and lead to weight regain. 

May lead to eating disorder

Constant restriction in diet can cause an unhealthy relationship between you and food. Your life will be preoccupied with eating and thinking of food the whole day. 

 It may lead to binge eating (overeating in a short period of time) when you see food as you are controlling for too long. 

It may also bring feelings of guilt, low-self esteem and dissatisfaction with oneself,

Should I even lose weight? 

We are overly influenced by social media nowadays. We see a lot of artists, KOL, and health coaches touted about the pursuit of a “skinny”, if not “toned”, “fit” body. 

Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels”, stated UK famous supermodel, Kate Moss. 

This kind of diet culture makes a lot of people shame of their bodies, and think that they are unfit and need to lose weight. But wait, do you really need to lose weight? 

If your weight already affects your daily life, and you have some weight-related diseases like diabetes, heart disease, sleep apnea and knee pain – you should lose weight to improve your health. 

Asian Pacific BMI chart




18.5 – 22.9


23 – 24.9


25 – 25.9

Obese Type 1 (obese)

30 – 40

Obese Type 2 (morbid obese)

40.1 – 50

Obese Type 3 (super obese)

> 50 

(Note: BMI is not the only and the most accurate indicator to check on your health status)

Some people eat healthily, stay active, and have a healthy lifestyle, but still consider themselves in need to shred more kilograms. If you are like this, most probably you don’t have to. 

However, if you want to achieve a body goal, do it in a correct, slow and steady way. Do not try a harsh fad diet that promises to lose a lot of weight in a short period of time. 


Normal people are different from K-pop idols, we are not demanded to stay in skinny figures in order to secure our jobs. Even the idols stated above said they no longer practice those diets as that harms their body and mind. 

Besides, from this we can see that “cyberbullying” and “fat shaming” is really a thing these days, we must be aware of what we say. 

Lastly, there are around 7.8 billion people on the earth. Not everyone is born with the same size and body figure. Stop comparing yourself with others and focus on living healthily for yourself!

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