Health & Fitness | May 8, 2021 6:30 am

Mark Wahlberg Has Abandoned His Plant-Based Diet to Eat 7,000 Calories a Day

The soon-to-be 50-year-old is transforming his body yet again for a role

mark Wahlberg weight gain
Wahlberg's plant-based diet has gotten the axe.
Photo by BG015/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images

Try to keep up: Mark Wahlberg has changed his wellness regimen once again. The soon-to-be 50-year-old actor has sampled it all — 2:30 a.m. wake-ups, performance tourniquets, cryotherapy chambers — and this time around, he’s radically changed his diet.

In preparation for a biopic called Father Stu, in which the actor plays a ripped boxer-turned-schlubby priest (based on the real-life Father Stuart Long), Wahlberg has started eating 7,000 calories a day. According to a recent Instagram post, the new diet is really working. See below. The photo on the left is Wahlberg just three weeks ago.

How has he done it? Well, his plant-based diet has gone completely out the window. Last summer, Wahlberg announced that he had more or less eradicated meat from his diet. At one point, he didn’t touch a piece of meat for four straight months. He shifted his protein intake to plant-based protein shakes, fish dishes and occasional faux burgers and reported feeling more energetic for his workouts. A normal breakfast would include: “… plant-based sausage with a sweet-potato patty and avocado, followed by three juice shots: greens, turmeric, and apple-cider vinegar with raw garlic and ginger.”

The news was surprising. For one, Wahlberg literally owns a national burger chain, Wahlberger’s (which now includes the plant-based Impossible Burger). But the Dorchester-born star is also known for being hothead who has frequently portrayed manliness in war movies, disaster blockbusters and “guys being dudes” TV programs for years. Considering how meat-eating is lionized in this country, usually as some macho endeavor, something about Marky Mark sticking with vegetables, even if just for athletic reasons, just felt too good to be true.

And apparently, it was. Call it the nature of the job — Wahlberg’s peers have to transform their bodies for roles all the time — but Wahlberg is firmly back in the carnivore’s circle. To get to 7,000 calories, Men’s Health reports, he’s eating eight meals a day or about every three hours. The dietary onslaught includes a combination of dark leafy greens, at least a dozen eggs, rice, protein shakes, cooked beets, steel-cut oatmeal and almond butter. But it also includes six strips of bacon, ground beef, ground turkey, veal chops, pork chops, salmon, sea bass, halibut and steak.

Wahlberg’s personal chef Lawrence Duran deserves credit for his devotion to real ingredients — Wahlberg had hinted at a “super size me”-esque plan to Jimmy Kimmel last month, saying he would just eat “20-piece chicken nuggets and 20-piece hot wings from Kentucky Fried Chicken with a six-pack of beer.” It looks like Duran’s designed a different route forward, and good thing that he did. Gaining this much weight in this little time is dangerous enough as it is.

Ultimately, Wahlberg’s latest shift somewhat trivializes his foray into the plant-based diet, which probably deserves more credit than its trendy “performance fuel” status. A lifestyle (not just a summer) that cuts out meat or cuts back on meat truly is the healthiest way forward — for you and our planet. It’s a salient reminder to forgo taking nutritional advice from a Hollywood star, who is likely subject to the whims of his/her brand, or whatever the next role is.