Yes, you read that right. A weight loss program using cookies as meal
replacements. Note there are several similar programs which use
nutritional bars or liquids. They are known as
very low calorie diets and can cause a quick
weight loss. But the weight loss retenance from this type of diet is
exceedingly poor and also, there is some evidence which suggests that
VLCD's can damage the metabolism for years after the diet has been stopped
(which may cause the person to gain more weight than s/he originally
lost). We see this effect in gastric bypass patients some of who, even
weighing 300 lbs cannot eat more than 1000 calories a day without gaining
The cookie diet and it's knock offs,
sound good. Dr Siegal, a distinguished looking elderly gentleman tells us
he has successfully, treated thousands of obese patients using this diet
which he admits, he invented in the 1970's. Although this diet, the
newest thing in 2009, has gone somewhat out of public favor, many
knock-offs have come up with the same type of thing which is why it is
worth it to have a closer look.
The diet is simple, according to aficionados. You eat six cookies - not
necessarily at mealtimes during the day but when you get hungry. And then
you have a "sensible meal" for supper.
Dr Siegal said he put his high protein mix into cookies because - "well,
people like to eat cookies and they are convenient to carry to work etc".
Dr Siegal has been on tours promoting his book,
"Dr. Siegal's Cookie Diet Book: How a Doctor and His Cookie Helped 500,000
People Lose Weight Fast" (2009, Hyde Park Publishing Ltd.).
He toured with a poster kid also, Josie, who lost 100 lbs on this diet
in 6 months. Josie claimed to have maintained her goal weight for 18 months by
continuing to live on "the cookie diet" and was featured on "Today Show's
Joy Fit Club" with her mother who lost 50 lbs on the program.
Siegal points out that if the weight loss isn't fast, people "give up" and
"obesity is more dangerous than a low calorie diet".
But in an interview on the "Mike and Julia Show", Dr Siegal admitted
that his diet is 800 calories a day - 500 calories from the 6 cookies
eaten during the day and another 300 calories in the "sensible supper".
Another doctor, Mark Siegal, on the show pointed out that a super low
calorie diet can cause all kinds of health problems including bleeding,
vitamin deficiencies, immune challenge and mental confusion and another
nutritionist said that it's nearly impossible to keep the weight off after
a super low calorie diet.
Dr Siegal's answer to all objections was that he's treated a half million
patients and has seen no problems like heart problems etc. "Have you ever
seen someone exhibit the problems you describe?" Dr Siegal asked the
Dr Mark. Dr Mark said he did not recommend the diet in his practice but
that he's heard of several developing health problems from the Cookie
Dr Siegal also says that the diet is meant to take off the weight quickly
and not be a maintenance lifestyle but Josie admitted that she still lives
on the cookie diet even while maintaining her size 0 weight. She also runs
now on the treadmill, she told the "Today Show" ladies.
Dr Argonne, another diet guru, opined (in an ABC news story about the
Cookie Diet) that he felt people living on the
"Cookie diet" for long term would lack in several important nutrients. Dr Siegal countered by pointing out that cookie diet members take a multi
According to his website, Dr Siegal's Cookie diet is not inexpensive...
you pay $60 bucks for the starting kit. And a week's supply of cookies also costs
Argonne pointed out that there was no evidence that people kept weight off
for the long term on meal replacement diets.
I actually have an acquaintance who went on a similar program to Dr
Siegal's cookie diet (she used candy bar meal replacements for most of her
meals - also averaging around 800 calories a day).
In 6 months, she'd
lost an impressive 80 lbs but then, she stopped losing and even though she
kept on the program for the next several months, she only maintained
despite several colon cleanses and quick starts etc. The weight at
which she stopped losing was about 50 lbs over her goal weight. She
finally told me she was going on vacation from the diet. A year
later, she had regained most of the weight back and was over dieting.
Needless to say, be very careful of "quick fixes". As Beverly
Sills (opera singer)
said, "there is NO SHORTCUT to a place worth going to".
"Do the cookies taste good?" asked the Today show host. "well, they aren't
Oreos," said the other lady, her voice trailing off, as if she seemed to
not know exactly HOW to describe the taste of Dr Siegal's cookies.
Lynn Doyle asked Dr Siegal how the cookie tastes. "Well," answered Siegal,
"it er... tastes good - it's not the best tasting cookie but..."
When asked about maintenance, Dr Siegal stated "of course you gain back if
you return to your old way of eating."
"It's a diet designed to take off the weight quickly," said Siegal's son
who admitted the maintenance diet is totally different from the weight
In the 1970's when Siegal first invented the diet, he was cutting edge in
realizing that eating many small meals throughout the day has some
advantages in keeping the metabolism up and dealing with hunger.
However, the one meal a day diet (with meal replacements inbetween) is not
unique to the "Cookie Diet" - one can find several of those type of
programs on the web.
And most in the medical profession agree that one should not go below 1200
calories a day and that 5-7 portions of veggies are appropriate to
maintain good health.
Unfortunately, in an society obsessed with a horror of obesity, there will
always be a "diet du jour" which seems to short cut the slow and healthy
way of losing weight by changing one's lifestyle and this diet will have
many takers, until they realize it's not working for them. By the time
many people realize that, the creator of the "diet du jour" will have gone
to the bank many times laden with money from sales.
http://www.cookiediet.com/ (Dr Siegal's website)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kLCcBXp7aMU (Lynn Doyle interview
with Dr Siegal and his son who is CEO of their corporation)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VzHfnq7VkB4 (part 2 of the Lynn
Dr Siegal and the poster kids on the "Mark and Julia show" on Fox TV:
Featured on ABC news:
Dr Siegal sues a reality show star who claimed that she wouldn't be on
Siegal's diet because she feels it's unhealthy: