The Skinny Bitch Diet is a fad diet that former model Kim Barnouin and author and animal advocate Rory Freedman created.

The Skinny Bitch book was first published in 2005 and has since sold over 2 million copies.

Although the book gained popularity among women looking to lose weight, it also drew criticism from the medical community for its extreme dieting principles.

On the Skinny Bitch diet, people are encouraged to follow a strict vegan diet that excludes processed foods.

Diet review scorecard
  • Overall score: 1.5
  • Weight loss: 2.5
  • Healthy eating: 1.5
  • Sustainability: 1.5
  • Whole body health: 1
  • Nutrition quality: 1.5
  • Evidence-based: 1

BOTTOM LINE: This diet is overly restrictive, shames people for their food choices, and encourages an unhealthy relationship with food. People can get the same benefits by following a healthy plant-based diet instead.

The authors describe the Skinny Bitch book as a “no-nonsense, tough-love guide for savvy girls who want to stop eating crap and start looking fabulous.”

The authors use belittling language throughout the book in order to “motivate” readers to make dietary and lifestyle changes in order to lose excess body fat.

The Skinny Bitch Diet is a vegan diet that restricts the intake of:

The diet also recommends forgoing eating out for the first 30 days of the regimen, eating slowly, chewing food thoroughly, and quitting “gross vices” like smoking.

It recommends eating only organic fruit for breakfast and partaking in juice or raw food fasts that last anywhere from 24 hours to 10 days “depending on how light, clean, and healthy you want to get.”

What’s more, the plan recommends that Skinny Bitch dieters “stop interfering with Mother Nature” and forgo taking medications like aspirin and cold medication.

Lastly, the book encourages Skinny Bitch dieters to engage in at least 20 minutes of cardiovascular exercise a day, 5 days a week as a starting point.

Summary

The Skinny Bitch book outlines a vegan diet, tips for weight loss, and encourages exercise. However, it uses belittling language, and the diet is very restrictive.

It’s not surprising that people who follow the Skinny Bitch book are likely to lose weight.

The extreme and restrictive nature of this eating plan will result in a significant calorie deficit, which will induce weight loss (1).

Research has consistently linked plant-based diets, such as vegan and vegetarian diets, with weight loss and weight maintenance (2, 3, 4).

Diets low in refined foods and added sugar can have the same effect (5).

However, the Skinny Bitch diet is an example of an unhealthy and restrictive vegan dietary pattern that’s not based on sound science.

Following this diet may lead to short-term weight loss.

However, it may also induce metabolic changes in the body, such as loss of muscle mass and fluctuations in appetite-controlling hormones, that can make it difficult to maintain weight loss (6).

Summary

The Skinny Bitch diet can lead to weight loss. However, this type of unhealthy, restrictive diet can make long-term weight maintenance difficult.

The potential health benefits that may result from following the Skinny Bitch diet are associated with plant-based diets in general, not this diet specifically.

Plant-based dietary patterns, including vegan diets, have been linked to a number of health benefits.

These include a reduced risk of heart disease risk factors, healthier blood sugar levels, and reduced chronic disease risk (7, 8).

Limiting alcohol consumption, quitting smoking, and reducing intake of processed foods may also prolong life, protect against disease development, and benefit overall health (9, 10, 11).

However, extreme and low calorie diets like the Skinny Bitch diet come with significant downsides that may counteract the potential health benefits of following a plant-based dietary pattern.

Summary

People can get the benefits of the Skinny Bitch diet, without the downsides, by following a more healthful version of the plant-based diet.

The Skinny Bitch Diet has numerous downsides.

First, the diet uses derogatory language like “don’t be a fat pig anymore” throughout the book to “motivate” readers to lose weight.

Not only is this inappropriate, but research has also shown that criticism and negative talk is harmful and counterproductive for weight loss success (12).

Shaming people into losing weight doesn’t work. Period.

Furthermore, the book promotes a disordered relationship with hunger and food.

One section of the book reads, “After a few days, you’ll grow to love that empty feeling in your stomach and know that the initial headaches, nausea, and hunger were just your body’s cleaning crew.”

The book encourages readers to embrace extreme hunger and partake in Skinny Bitch practices, such as only eating organic fruit for breakfast, even if you’re hungrier for more.

These practices can be harmful as they can encourage an unhealthy relationship with food.

Throughout the book, the authors use words like “poison” and “rotting, decomposing flesh” to describe foods and beverages like coffee and animal proteins and tell readers that eating dairy and eggs will “make you fat.”

This may promote disordered eating tendencies and cause readers to restrict healthy foods out of fear of gaining weight.

As mentioned above, extreme calorie restriction will likely occur.

Following the Skinny Bitch diet can also lead to metabolic changes, such as loss of lean body mass, increased hunger hormones, and a decrease in the number of calories burned on a daily basis.

All of these changes can cause weight regain over time, making long-term weight loss maintenance difficult (13).

The book also encourages unhealthy and potentially dangerous practices, such as long-term juice fasts.

Additionally, although the authors reference some studies to back up their far-fetched health claims, this diet is not based on sound science.

Aside from Barnouin’s qualification in holistic nutrition from the now- defunct Clayton College of Natural Health, the authors have no background or education in nutrition or science in general.

Nutrition and weight loss are highly individualized and depend on a number of factors, including genetics, age, lifestyle, and more, which is why working with a knowledgeable healthcare provider is so important.

Lastly, vegan diets are extremely restrictive and take careful planning, especially when it comes to figuring out necessary supplements for vegan diets to cover all of your nutritional needs on a daily basis.

Vegans are at an increased risk for deficiencies in a number of nutrients because some nutrients are low in plants.

These include:

  • vitamin B12
  • zinc
  • iron
  • iodine
  • calcium
  • omega-3 fatty acids

Poorly planned vegan diets, like the Skinny Bitch diet, can lead to deficiencies in protein, vitamins, minerals, and essential fatty acids (14).

In addition, those with soy allergies or intolerances will find the diet and accompanying meal plan very difficult to follow.

Overall, the Skinny Bitch diet is an overly restrictive, one-size-fits-all fad diet that’s likely to cause an unhealthy relationship with food.

Summary

The Skinny Bitch diet shames people for their food choices and encourages an unhealthy relationship with food. It’s also low in nutrients and not based in science.

When following the Skinny Bitch diet, people must avoid the following foods:

  • Animal proteins: e.g. chicken, fish, eggs, turkey, and duck
  • Dairy products: e.g. milk, yogurt, and cheese
  • Animal-derived additives: e.g. casein, whey, and gelatin
  • Refined carbohydrates: e.g. white flour, white bread, muffins, cookies, white sugar, and white pasta
  • Refined sugar: e.g. corn syrup and table sugar
  • Artificial sweeteners: e.g. aspartame and sucralose
  • Caffeine: e.g. coffee and energy drinks
  • Most alcohol: except for organic, no sulfites added wine
  • Junk food: e.g. chips, ice cream, candy bars, and fried foods

The Skinny Bitch diet recommends eating the following foods. Note that the authors recommend buying organic food whenever possible.

  • Vegetables: e.g. broccoli, cauliflower, asparagus, spinach, tomatoes, eggplant, Brussels sprouts, and onions
  • Fruits: e.g. blueberries, bananas, grapefruit, oranges, apples, strawberries, and avocados
  • Whole grain products: e.g. organic whole grain cereals, oats, whole grain breads and baked goods, and brown rice
  • Soy products: e.g. organic soy milk, tofu, and soy yogurt
  • Vegan meat replacements: e.g. tofurky, vegan bacon, and Gardenburgers
  • Nuts, seeds, and nut butters: e.g. peanut butter, flax, almonds, and pumpkin seeds
  • Dairy replacements: e.g. vegan cheese, nut milks, and tofu cream cheese
  • Legumes: e.g. lentils, black beans, and chickpeas
  • Fat sources: e.g. olive oil, sesame oil, coconut oil, canola oil, and avocado
  • Sweeteners: e.g. stevia, sucanat, and molasses
  • Packaged and ready-to-eat vegan foods: e.g. soups, flax crackers, and non-dairy frozen desserts
Summary

The diet excludes animal products and processed foods, while encouraging vegetables, legumes, nuts, and seeds.

Here is a 3-day sample meal plan straight from the Skinny Bitch book.

Although the authors recommend only fruit for breakfast, the meal plan offers suggestions for other breakfast items as well.

Monday

  • Breakfast: Mango, banana, kiwi and soy yogurt
  • Lunch: Spinach salad with shredded carrots, chopped almonds, red onion, fresh garlic, cubed tofu, and sesame oil
  • Dinner: Pasta with zucchini, tomatoes, garlic, fresh parsley, pine nuts, and olive oil

Tuesday

  • Breakfast: Freshly squeezed orange juice, whole grain muffin with soy butter, banana, and strawberries
  • Lunch: Tabouli salad with marinated tofu, eggplant, and red peppers
  • Dinner: Veggie nachos! Corn chips with veggie chili, soy cheese, guacamole, scallions, and tomatoes

Wednesday

  • Breakfast: Freshly squeezed grapefruit juice and slow-cooking oatmeal with blueberries, strawberries, and raspberries
  • Lunch: Veggie burger on whole grain bun with red onion, lettuce, tomato, avocado, and alfalfa sprouts and served with vegan potato salad
  • Dinner: Fake chicken patty with brown rice, lentils, and steamed kale
Summary

The Skinny Bitch book offers a range of sample meal plans like the ones listed here.

The Skinny Bitch diet is a restrictive vegan diet that encourages an unhealthy relationship with food.

The book uses derogatory language to push readers to give up certain foods. It also demonizes healthy foods, promotes potentially dangerous practices like long-term juice fasts, and attempts to normalize extreme hunger.

There are many healthful plant-based dietary patterns that can help improve health and help you lose weight and keep it off for good. However, the Skinny Bitch diet is not one of them.

If you’re interested in following a plant-based diet, ditch the fad diets and instead work with a knowledgeable healthcare provider, such as a registered dietitian, to reach your goals in a healthy way.