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The Overnight Diet: Lose Weight While You Sleep, No Exercise Required

Jessie Whitman | April 18th, 2013

Overnight DietMost physicians say that exercise is an essential part of shedding excess pounds and living a healthier lifestyle, but a new diet book published this past April offers an alternative weight loss strategy that requires zero physical activity.

Dr. Caroline Apovian, author of “The Overnight Diet,” claims you can lose up to 9 pounds in one week by eating proteins for 6 days and drinking smoothies, while getting a sufficient amount of sleep. Is Apovian’s program just another in a long line of fad diets or does the plan really work?

Dr. Michael Kaplan, founder of The Center for Medical Weight Loss, the nation’s largest network of non-surgical weight loss physicians, questions the validity of such claims. Kaplan recommends avoiding ‘quick-fix solutions’ proffered by many of today’s more popular diets. ‘A more effective method is a physician-guided weight loss program, which is tailored to a client’s unique needs and goals,’ Kaplan says. The average person on the center’s program loses 28 pounds in just 12 weeks – results that have been documented in the American Journal of Medicine.

Lose weight with high-protein diet

Dr. Caroline Apovian, the director of nutrition and weight management at Boston Medical Center, states that benefits of the Overnight diet include a faster metabolism and becoming more sensitive to insulin production, in addition to reducing the risk of weight-related conditions such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease. The diet also promotes the advantages of getting enough sleep.

According to Apovian, you can lose up to 2 pounds on the first night of the diet and up to 9 pounds during the first week. There is a wide variety of foods you can eat on the low-carb, high-protein diet. The recipes listed in the book were designed to make you feel full while providing boosts of energy. The Overnight diet doesn’t exclude any food groups and you are allowed unlimited fruits and vegetables. Dieters must consume high-protein meals for 6 days and smoothies for one day of the week. The book provides different smoothie recipes that purportedly reduce insulin production and help you lose weight.

Other criticisms of the Overnight diet

Doubts regarding the merits of the diet and its ability to help people shed pounds at such a rapid rate are being raised by nutritionists and other physicians. Keith Ayoob, associate professor of pediatrics at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, told ABC News that the two pound weight loss is mostly attributed to water weight. Losing 2 pounds of body fat overnight requires burning 600 – 700 calories, and the body doesn’t expend that many calories while sleeping. Dr. Apovian isn’t disputing Keith Ayoob’s assertion. She states that the initial two pound weight loss mostly consists of  excess water and salt. Dr. Apovian believes that immediate weight loss results are important because they encourage people to stick with the diet and continue to lose more weight.

Health experts are also skeptical about the diet’s claims that adequate sleep will help people lose weight. Research has shown that getting enough sleep may be helpful in preventing additional weight gain, but Dr. Apovian’s assertions may be misleading. A study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine stated that people who only slept for four hours a night wanted to eat carbohydrate-rich foods such as candy, cake, pasta, and bread. The participants who slept for up to 10 hours did not crave those foods and were the least hungry.

Another study at Stanford University demonstrated that people who slept close to 7 hours a night had a higher body mass index (BMI) than the people who slept at least 8 hours a night. Further research at Columbia University concluded that people who sleep 2-4 hours each night were 73% more likely to be overweight when compared to people who sleep 7-9 hours per night. However, none of the scientific studies provided evidence showing that you can actually lose weight while sleeping or that the act of sleeping burns up the calories needed in order to reduce body fat.

Physician-guided weight loss programs

The Overnight diet may be one of the most popular diets on the market, but the most effective weight loss plan differs for each individual.  Health experts at The Center for Medical Weight Loss design customized programs that take your medical history, lifestyle and long-term goals into consideration. The programs come with impressive results as more than 95% of the center’s clients are able to maintain weight loss for more than a year, according to the American Journal of Medicine. To learn more about the program, visit