It’s the diet that is taking Hollywood by storm, Dr Sanford Siegal’s Cookie Diet is a popular eating plan that already boasts A Lister stars such as Denise Richards, Jennifer Hudson and Guy Ritchie, but nutritional experts are not convinced. The diet involves you eating only six specially prepared biscuits a day, and costs around £41.50 per week, claiming to help you lose 10lb a month. And although it might seem that all your Christmases and birthdays have arrived in one day, dieticians are skeptical.
You are allowed to eat one one healthy dinner per day, alongside the six biscuits, as long as your total calorie intake does not exceed 1,200 calories, but you cannot eat breakfast, lunch or any snacks in-between.
The Miami based Dr Siegal has been a weight-loss expert since 1975, and is renowned in the U.S for helping millions of people to lose weight, but UK nutritional therapist Jo Lewin is not so sure of his latest effort. She spoke to the MailOnline, where she voiced her concerns: “Eating six cookies a day, with only one proper balanced meal is not seen as a healthy approach to weight loss.
This looks like another fad diet which is misleading to the public. Restricting the diet and food choices like this is more like to hinder our health than help it. Restricting calories on a diet like this is unlikely to lead to long-term weight loss and may result in nutritional deficiencies.
Since when has balanced nutrition been represented by a biscuit? For sustained, healthy weight loss you need adherence and compliance with a pattern of eating that works for you over time. You’re better off starting a food diary, watching portion size and cutting out high sugar snacks than reaching for the cookie jar.”
And although Guy Ritchie was a fan of the diet, his wife to be at the time, Madonna, famously commented that while he was on the cookie diet, he lost his sex drive.
The cookies are made from grains which contain a lot of fiber, such as oats, fruit and amino acids, and they come in a variety of flavors, including Chocolate, Oatmeal Raisin, Blueberry, Banana, and Coconut.
Dr Siegal made the diet food into a cookie because a biscuit is convenient to carry around and easy to eat, as it takes no preparation, and speaking to the MailOnline, he believes that his Cookie Diet is safe: “Decidedly, yes. Any diet that safely takes weight off someone and gets them to their proper weight is a safe diet, because nothing is more unhealthy than being overweight. People on the Cookie Diet are not getting the nutrition they need, but that’s the purpose.
To lose weight you need to eat fewer calories than your body needs. But there’s no question they are getting the vitamins and minerals they need because one of the instructions is to take a multivitamin – and in the US we give free vitamins with packs of cookies. As far as remaining healthy I have enough evidence of that over the years. I’ve been treating obesity for 50 years and using the cookies since 1975. I’ve treated half a million patients and we have yet to have the first case of someone not getting enough vitamins.’
And his son Matthew, who is the CEO of the Cookie Diet, says: “And as for whether people will regain all the weight they lost when they resume “normal” eating…. well, if “normally” means their previous eating habits that got them overweight to begin with, then of course they will gain weight.
But I’m a big believer in exercise as a means of maintaining goal weight. One of the biggest misconceptions when it comes to losing weight quickly is that once come off the diet you will regain the weight immediately. That’s just silly. Once you reach your goal weight the only thing that will determine whether you gain weight is what you do from that point on.
The method by which you lose weight has nothing to do with whether you go back to being overweight after. The Cookie Diet takes you to a goal weight quickly and safely, but what you have beyond that is a lifetime of weight maintenance through healthy eating and exercise.”
The Cookie Diet is nothing new however, as it has been around since the mid seventies, but Dr Siegal has reinvented his cookies with a brand new recipe that helps to control the hunger pangs associated with dieting.
As he commented on his blog: ‘In the early 1970’s, after treating overweight patients exclusively for more than a decade, I came to the conclusion that hunger is the primary cause of diet failures. Of course, without strong hunger suppression, an 800 calorie diet would be difficult to follow due to hunger.
I knew that, if I could control their hunger, I could help my patients faithfully follow the low calorie diet that I favored. I decided to try to create a food that was particularly controlling of hunger while relatively low in calories. After several years of experimentation in my home kitchen, I developed a blend of particular amino acids (food proteins) that proved to be quite hunger suppressing and I baked it into a cookie.’
To buy Dr Siegal’s cookies in the US visit his website The Cookie Diet, for UK customers it is available on Amazon.