Dr Siegal's cookie diet

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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 weight.

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 Diet.

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 vitamin daily.

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 $60.

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 loss diet.

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 Doyle show)

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: