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Stick to a cookie diet

health-and-fitness Updated: Aug 05, 2010 15:15 IST

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Cookies? On a diet? Apparently so.

Ask Christina Kane, who has tried every kind of diet with no success. Then she heard about Dr Siegal’s Cookie Diet, which involves eating six prepackaged cookies a day, plus one meal — say skinless chicken and steamed vegetables.

“I thought, ‘That diet looks so easy,’” said Kane, 43, who started eating prepackaged cookies in June, when she weighed 255 pounds. Three months later, she was 40 pounds lighter.

Simple diet
Siegal’s diet is simple — Eat cookies and lose up to 10 pounds a month.
In blunter terms: Consume a substance whose ingredients and nutritional value are somewhat vague and drop weight, because how can you not when you’re only consuming 800 to 1,000 calories a day?

Siegal’s cookie diet business is so lucrative that other companies are now selling it: Smart for Life (six 105-calorie cookies a day; the Hollywood Cookie Diet (one 150-calorie cookie three to four times a day, plus a light dinner).

The popularity of cookie diets is not surprising in this culture of quick fixes. Who wouldn’t want to lose weight by consuming something verboten on most diets?

A quick fix?
“The diet legalises the cookie, a food that is banned from most weight-loss programs,” said Jenni Schaefer, author of a diet book. “The diet gives people a false sense of control, simplifying balanced nutrition into one food: the cookie,” she added.

But critics are not convinced. Weight-loss plans that centre around a diet of below 1,000 calories do not, they say, lead to long-lasting weight loss and can result in potassium deficiency, gallstones, heart palpitations, weakened kidney function and dizziness.

The cookie diet also concerns eating disorder activists, who criticise fad diets. “It’s the mixture of proteins that does the job,” Siegal said. “All foods do not handle hunger the same way, and high protein foods curb hunger.” The cookies, he said, contain protein derived from meat, eggs, milk and other sources. They also contain microcrystalline cellulose — a plant fibre that acts as a bulking agent, emulsifier and thickener.