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The Cookie Diet: Too Good to Be True?

Jacky Gale | April 4th, 2013

The Cookie DietMany people struggle on a diet because they find it difficult to give up their favorite desserts or other indulgences. But is it possible to eat dessert all day long on a diet and still lose weight? Such is the claim of the Cookie diet, but it may involve a lot less indulgence than the name would have you believe. In fact, this meal plan can be deficient in key nutrients, which raises the question of medical concerns. Instead, dieters who would rather not give up their favorite desserts would do best to work one-on-one with a physician who can develop a customized plan for dropping pounds, such as those offered by The Center for Medical Weight Loss.

Overview of the Cookie diet

There is actually more than one of these popular diets, including the Hollywood Cookie Diet, Dr. Siegal’s, and the Smart for Life diet. These diets purport that followers will lose weight while eating sweets that are intended to suppress the appetite. However, dieters cannot eat any cookie they choose from the supermarket; they must eat prepackaged diet cookies. Dieters are discouraged from eating regular meals, save for dinner. Some of these diets recommend taking vitamin supplements in an attempt to compensate for the nutritionally deficient meal plan.

Sample meal plan

On most Cookie diets, the majority of regular foods are avoided. In fact, dieters only eat one meal, dinner, which may be 300 to 1,000 calories, depending on the particular plan. Dr. Siegal’s diet instructs followers to consume no more than 800 calories daily, including the cookies. The cookies are consumed throughout the day, but not necessarily for breakfast or lunch. Rather, dieters only eat cookies when hunger pangs strike. Here’s a look at a sample meal plan with Dr. Siegal’s guidelines:

Snacks

  • Six diet cookies (at any point during the day)

Dinner

  • 6 oz. fish, chicken, turkey, or seafood
  • 1 cup vegetables

Nutritional profile of diet cookies

These cookies are intended to be meal replacements that suppress the appetite with fiber and amino acids. Here’s a snapshot of the nutritional profile of Dr. Siegal’s Classic Oatmeal Raisin Cookie:

  • Calories: 90
  • Calories from fat: 30
  • Total carbohydrate: 11 g
  • Dietary fiber: 3 g
  • Sugars: 2 g
  • Protein: 4 g

Potential risks of the Cookie diet

Critics have charged that there are several downsides to the Cookie diet. The goldstandard for a starvation diet is widely considered to be anything less than 800 calories. Some of the meal plans for these diets skim the edges of this threshold, which means that followers are prone to fatigue, lightheadedness and dizziness. They may also be more susceptible to gallstone development and cardiovascular conditions, including stroke, heart attack, and heart failure.

Those who follow these diets for too long are also putting themselves at risk for nutritional deficiencies, including deficits in fiber, calcium, and vitamin D. It’s also a bit abnormal for a diet to advocate consuming no more than one cup of vegetables per day, as vegetable and fruit consumption is typically encouraged on well-balanced diets.

Is it the best way to lose weight?

Aside from the potential nutritional deficiencies and other possible drawbacks, these types of popular diets may not be the most effective way to lose weight. Due to the extreme calorie restrictions, dieters will no doubt experience rapid weight loss. However, fad diets that produce quick results tend to result in rebound weight gain.

The most effective and sustainable method of losing weight is working with an experienced physician. At The Center for Medical Weight Loss, we devise a healthy, balanced weight loss program that works for your unique needs. Get started today by entering your zip code in the box to find a Center near you. Introductory offers are available for first-time clients at select locations.