What is the Cambridge diet and is it safe?

THE Cambridge diet is popular with those looking for rapid weight loss, thanks to its strict structure and low calorie products.

Users consume shakes, soups and bars that have been specially tailored to their weight loss goals. Here's the lowdown…

What is the Cambridge diet?

The Cambridge diet was developed by Dr Alan Howard at Cambridge University in the 1970s, and was launched as a commercial product in the US in 1980 followed by the UK in 1984.

It involves followers buying a range of meal-replacement products which are said to promote rapid weight loss.

Users can choose from six flexible diet plans ranging from 415 calories to 1,500 calories or more a day, depending on your weight loss goal.

The bars, soups, porridge and shakes can be used as your sole source of nutrition or together with low-calorie regular meals.

Depending on your products, weekly cost are around £48.30 but can be as low as £2.30 per meal for three meals.

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How does the Cambridge diet work?

The diet can only be done by getting in touch with a Cambridge Weight Plan consultant, who weighs and measures you to determine which programme is best for you and provides you with your chosen products.

Your consultant provides you with not only the products, but guidance and support as you progress with your diet and transition into maintenance.

The Cambridge products can be used on their own or used with regular meals for a more gradual weight loss.

Many feel that the plan is a short term option, as giving up normal meals and swapping them for a snack bar or a shake can be boring and feel socially isolating.

Is the Cambridge diet safe?

A very low calorie diet that involves eating 1,000 calories a day or fewer should not be followed for more than 12 continuous weeks without a break.

If you are eating fewer than 600 calories a day, you should have medical supervision and there are protocols in place that your Cambridge consultant must follow to ensure this is sought.

Initial side effects can include bad breath, a dry mouth, tiredness, dizziness, insomnia, nausea and constipation from cutting down on carbs and fibre.

Are there are success stories of the Cambridge diet?

Many people on very low calorie diets find the weight loss to be sudden and quite dramatic.

The meal replacements are all nutritionally balanced, so you’re likely to be getting all the vitamins and minerals you need, albeit not from real food.

One woman, who was a self-confessed crisp addict and "ate a multi-pack a day to deal with the loss of her mum" lost seven stone by following the diet.

Another woman used the diet to drop five dresses sizes and said the programme helped her to lose a stone every four weeks and she slowly introduced healthy meals back into her diet.

While former Eastenders star and Loose Woman Martine McCutcheon has revealed she followed the Cambridge diet and lost a stone in five weeks.

Martine revealed that she decided to make a change in her life because she wanted to be healthy for her husband, Jack McManus, and their son, Rafferty, two.

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