Cambridge Weight Plan: What is the Cambridge Diet?
The Cambridge Diet was the first weight loss plan to offer drinks as a replacement for food. But can a shake ever offer the same nutritional and health benefits of regular meals? Dietician Nigel Denby investigates...
The Cambridge Diet was the original 'meal replacement’' weight loss plan. It replaced food with nutritionally complete, low-calorie drinks and gave fast results. Having been around for over 40 years it’s stood the test of time and still has a loyal following today, though critics say it is too extreme and can provoke health problems. Developed in the 1960s at Cambridge University by Dr Alan Howard, the diet was re-launched in 1984 as the Cambridge Weight Plan.
What is the Cambridge Weight Plan?
The plan has six steps which all include Cambridge products like shakes, soups, snack bars and porridge. The products are used as the only source of nutrition in the most restrictive first step of the plan. The five other progressive steps include more food but you still have some Cambridge products.
Basic Cambridge Weight Plan Food Guide
Step 1 of the Cambridge Weight Plan is very extreme – unless you are clinically obese you should miss this step. The NHS has a weight calculator (opens in a new window), which can help you to measure your weight and provide you with advice on losing weight healthily.
Step 1 starts at a tiny 415 calories per day (the NHS recommends that an adult woman should get around 2000 calories per day (opens in a new window)) with a daily intake of three to four Cambridge shakes and no food - the shakes provide the amount of protein, vitamins and minerals you would normally get from food. Cambridge Weight Plan guidelines say that you can only stay on Step 1 for a maximum of 12 weeks, and that you should not exercise during this period.
After Step 1, the food increases by 200 to 300 calories for each step until you reach maintenance at Step 6. The maintenance plan provides 1500+ calories and involves a normal, healthy diet and just one Cambridge product a day. The shortest time you can take to move through all six steps of the plan is eight weeks.
Is the Cambridge Weight Plan Safe?
The Cambridge Weight Plan, like the Atkins diet, works by forcing your body into ketosis – a state in which you are undernourished and your body must process your fat stores in order to survive.
If you decide to try the diet it’s essential that you are honest with the consultant about your starting weight so that you start on the right step, because starting on a step that provides too few calories for your body could be dangerous. Side effects to extreme dieting include nutritional deficiencies, light headedness and fainting, nausea, irritability, diarrhoea, muscle loss, bad breath, temporary hair loss and constipation.
Latest Post :