Dr. Siegal's Cookie Diet is a popular, but controversial, very low calorie diet, which is by no means ideal, yet many people have lost a lot of weight on it. The diet was created in 1975 by renowned physician, author and weight-loss expert Sanford Siegal, D.O., M.D. and more than half a million overweight people have used it since.
The diet works by eating 3 cookies (or 1 cookies and a shake) to replace breakfast and lunch plus a lean dinner--for a recommended intake of around 1,000 calories (plus or minus a bit depending on your profile). Dr Siegal notes you can expect to lose up to 10-15 pounds in a month, though we think that may be ambitious.
There are some merits to this diet, but it's certainly not ideal in many ways, and seems to be growing massively of late due to faddish media attention. The cookie diet won't teach you to eat healthily, the skills you'd need to keep the pounds off. We can understand why it is appealing in a quick fix/embrace the forbidden food sort of way. In many ways it's similar to a crash cabbage diet approach, which may work for awhile and yield short term losses, but is not sustainable or long-lasting. Very low calorie diets around the 1000 calorie mark are notoriously difficult to stick with, and can also have some nasty side effects. We're the first to admit the idea sounds novel, and it may well be worth giving it a whirl to see what it's like, but if you're looking for a long-term, life-changing diet plan, we don't believe the cookie diet is it.
Dr. Siegal's big idea is " Hunger Wrecks Diets", and when he developed the diet in 1975, he believed that if he could control his patients' hunger he could help them stick to their diets and lose weight. He claimed to have discovered a mixture of proteins that offers unusual hunger control per calorie. He used his discovery to create his now-famous diet cookies and, soon afterwards, shakes and soup with the same hunger-controlling qualities. However, until recently, the only place to get the products was at Dr. Siegal’s clinics in Florida or from several hundred doctors to whom he provided them. The diet's rather compelling story is told on his website, which notes that to this day, Dr. Siegal mixes every batch of his secret amino acid protein blend with his own hands in his private bakery.
However, despite the cookie diet's long history, there are no clinical trials examining its effectiveness or side effects. The cookies contain protein derived from meat, eggs, milk and other sources. They also contain microcrystalline cellulose, which acts as a bulking agent, emulsifier, and thickener, and are sweetened with sugar.
CookieDiet.com was launched in May 2007 and has gone from strength to strength. In June 2009, Dr. Siegal's Cookie Diet Book was published, including recipes and meal suggestions. The diet has been featured on ABC’s Good Morning America, Fox News, CNN, the New York Post and dozens of other media outlets in the U.S. and Canada. Likewise, endorsements from celebrities like Kim Kardashian, Jennifer Hudson and Kelly Clarkson have driven 2009 revenues to approximately $18 million. Naturally, the popularity has also sparked many entrepreneur imitators introducing knockoff products. Again, with such great media exposure and many people trying it, we do believe it is possible to lose a fair amount of weight on the cookie diet, but it's not a long-term solution.
Menu: The menu is simple: you're allotted 6 cookies per day, which aim to replace breakfast and lunch, and you eat a healthy dinner with six ounces of lean white meat protein and one cup of vegetables. You also need to drink eight glasses of liquids a day (coffee or tea are permitted). Dr Siegal also offers diet control shakes (which take the place of two cookies) with the same amino acid protein fat controlling blend. If dieters stay on the program for over a week, we think they'll crave the variety of the shakes. Finally, a multivitamin is included with each cookie shipment.
The taste of the cookies won't be to everyone's liking--they're okay, but not divine, chock as they are full of protein mixes and such. Many dieters comment that the cookies taste much better when warmed in the microwave. The cookie flavors are oatmeal raisin, chocolate, blueberry, and banana, while the shakes come in vanilla, chocolate, strawberry, pina colada, and creme brulee.
Prices: Dr. Siegal's Cookie Diet cookies cost $59 for a weekly box (about $4.20 per replacement meal) and the optional shakes cost $59 per weekly box (about $2.80 per shake). His book, Dr. Siegal's Cookie Diet Book: How a Doctor and His Cookie Helped 500,000 People Lose Weight Fast, costs around $16 on Amazon.