Diets are, sadly, quite a common thing among K-Pop idols, and many have shared stories of restricting what they eat to extreme levels. The beauty standards that idols are expected to reach are extremely high, and it can cause a lot of stress for those that feel like they don’t fit that description. Here are 5 K-Pop idols who have gone through extreme diets that we would absolutely not recommend to anyone.
1. Xiumin (EXO)
While most people might think mostly about female K-Pop idols when it comes to extreme diets, there have been plenty of male idols that have gone through them too, and Xiumin is one of them. He was cruelly criticized about his weight ever since he debuted, and this led to struggles with his weight and “yo-yoing” (losing and gaining weight rapidly) at the time.
It was during promotions for “Growl” back in 2013 that the EXO member went through his most extreme diet: The coffee diet. This consisted of eating only one meal every other day, and drinking excessive amounts of coffee to assist in rapidly losing weight. He dropped to his lowest weight during promotions, but thankfully gained some back to a healthy level afterwards. Since then, he has advised against skipping meals to lose weight.
2. T.O.P (BIGBANG)
T.O.P is another male idol who has struggled with his weight and dieting, no thanks to pressure from YG Entertainment. When he was still a trainee at the company, he weighed more than what was “acceptable” by idol standards, and was told he would only debut after he reached the ideal weight.
This led to T.O.P starting a dangerous diet that only consisted of unsweetened jelly, mineral water, and occasionally red beans as a snack. On top of this, he also worked out excessively every day. While he did reach the weight that the company forced him to reach, it certainly wasn’t a healthy or maintainable way to do it.
3. Momo (TWICE)
Pictures and videos of pre-debut Momo make it hard to believe that she was ever expected to go on a diet, but in fact, she did go on what is considered one of the most extreme diets in the industry. Prior to debut, JYP Entertainment told her that she had to lose 15 pounds… In just a week. There is absolutely no healthy way to lose 15 pounds in that short of a period of time, and having that expectation for anyone is ridiculous.
For that entire week, Momo not only ate just ice cubes, but was constantly at the gym as well. She even expressed that she was scared for her life at one point. She was also severely dehydrated, and had trouble sleeping due to the fear that she might not wake up.
Despite this extreme dieting, Momo didn’t lose 15 pounds in a week (which, honestly, doesn’t even seem humanly possible), so she was given three more days to reach it. Even her fellow members were scared for her, and said that she was so pale that they were afraid she would faint.
Thankfully, she no longer has to maintain such an unhealthily low weight, and these days she looks absolutely stunning with how toned and healthy she is!
4. Jimin (BTS)
Jimin isn’t the only member of BTS that has struggled with weight and dieting, but it does seem like he went on the most extreme diet of all the members. He revealed in 2018 that he’d lost a large amount of weight due to over-exercising and a dangerous diet. This was during the “Blood Sweat & Tears” era, and the other members became extremely worried for Jimin because he would pass out during practice.
And his “diet” during this time? Eating nothing at all except for one meal over a period of 10 days. He confessed about this during an appearance by BTS on an episode of Please Take Care of My Refrigerator, in which he explained that he didn’t like his “chubby” appearance, presumably because of his naturally full cheeks. His fellow members even asked him to come have meals with them during this time, but he refused and continued to persevere despite his ill health due to the extreme diet.
Thankfully, Jimin hasn’t gone on this dangerous of a diet since that time, and we hope that he’s become happier with his handsome visuals and perfect body just the way it is!
Not only did IU share the dangerous diet that she went through at one period of time, but it actually led to YouTubers and others trying to replicate the diet. The talented idol was understandably hurt when a person in the audience at her solo debut stage in 2008 — when she was just 15, mind you — called her a pig, and because of this, she stared the extreme diet.
In 2013 on Night of TV Entertainment, she shared what she ate during this time. Even the name of the diet — called the “MyProAna” diet — seems to suggest that it’s spread among communities that promote anorexia. It consists of eating an apple for breakfast, one or two sweet potatoes for lunch, and a protein shake for dinner.
Side effects of the diet can include weakness, fainting, and just overall unwellness, which isn’t surprising given the restrictiveness of it. Fortunately, IU realized that it was harming her body and stopped the diet after a period of time, and she has since consulted with professionals to help keep herself eating healthy for her body.
The kinds of extreme diets that some K-Pop idols have gone on should never be replicated by anyone, and there are much safer and more maintainable ways to go about achieving a healthy lifestyle!