Can You Really Lose Weight With The Cookie Diet?

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The latest diet craze to be sweeping across the nation involves an unlikely food item as the focus of it's core nutritional intake - Introducing The Cookie Diet.

Dr. Sanford Siegal first developed the cookie diet in 1975 as a way to treat chronically obese patients (patients who are unable to keep off any weight lost due to exercise/dieting). He has treated more than half a million patients with the sugary diet and claims that there is less risk of obesity in the very low-calorie diet.

"I have yet to see the first case where anyone suffered any ill effect from eating a low-calorie diet," said Dr. Siegal in an ABC News report.

The 1,000-calorie a day regimen, which ABC News has reported celebrities like Jennifer Hudson, Denise Richards and Kelly Clarkson have all reportedly tried is dangerously lacking in nutrients found primarily in vegetables and fruits.

Dr. Siegal's Cookie Diet may result in quick weight loss, it's nutritionally unsound and can even result in weight gain, experts say.

Cookie Diet followers drink water and eat six uniquely developed 90-calorie cookies each day, followed by a 500-calorie dinner of lean protein and sparse vegetables. With reports being mixed, there have been a bunch of documented success stories.

Josie Raper told "Good Morning America" that she went from being a size 24 to a size 6 in a little close to six months by following this diet.

"When I started the Cookie Diet, there was no splurging or sneaking little snacks," Ms. Raper told "Good Morning America."

I was very strict in keeping to the diet including waiting until the Monday of Thanksgiving to start this program so that I could get through every single holiday without snacking or caving in to my cravings."

According to Josie Raper, she has been on the Cookie Diet for two years now and hasn't regained the weight.

Weight loss experts say the Cookie Diet's basic flaw is that it does not help dieters to retrain their eating habits, this results in a greater chance of the dieter falling off the diet or 'cheating.'

"If you lose weight through diet and exercise alone and don't change anything else in your life, you are probably going to gain the weight back," says registered dietitian Anne Fletcher, author of "Thin for Life" and "Weight Loss Confidential."

When you don't deal with the underlying reasons for why you're overeating, you're definitely more likely to gain weight. This is like putting a band-aid on a gunshot wound, it fails to treat the core reason for why the individual is overweight in the first place.

The diet also worries Dr. Louis Aronne, director of the Comprehensive Weight Control Program at the New York-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center, because it lacks in serious good nutrition.

"I am concerned that if someone were to follow this over the long term, there are many different nutrients that they would be missing that you would normally get by eating regular food," he told "Good Morning America."

Cookie consumption as a weight-loss strategy is just another fad diet, says Dr. Stuart Fischer, who wrote "The Park Avenue Diet."

"Every study shows that when people change foods only and rely on that to lose weight, they have a 95% failure rate. This cookie diet relies heavily on sweets but to lose weight you need to forget what sweet tastes like. When you lose your sweet tooth, you are about a fourth of the way to reaching weight-loss success."

"It just doesn't exist." But Fischer says the diet is so low in calories that followers won't have the energy to do any of the necessary exercise, which he says is important to maintain good heart health. He also added that staying on a cookie-heavy diet will most-likely result in dieters falling into a rebound phenomenon.

"The body goes into a starvation state," Fischer explains. "And it holds onto every morsel and calorie until the person's weight goes higher than it was before."

Dr. Siegal is frequently in the news. Over the years he has been featured on ABC's Good Morning America, New York Daily News, CNN, and the Fox News Channel. Thanks to the recent resurgence of interest in hypothyroidism ("super-foods") that was sparked by Oprah Winfrey, multiple media outlets have aired features on Dr. Siegal and his work.

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Having spent the better part of his life searching for new ways to stay healthy, Tom frequently posts fitness and nutrition related articles at the Health Watch Journal.

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