The Cambridge Diet or Cambridge Weight Plan as it is now known is a form of VLCD (Very Low Calorie Diet).
Originally created and developed by Dr Alan Howard at Cambridge University in the 1970s this diet has grown in popularity with celebrities such as Jennifer Ellison using it to shed her baby weight.
What is The Cambridge Diet?
The Cambridge Diet offers a range of products (shakes, bars, soups and porridge) that can be used either on their own or alongside your normal meals.
This diet itself involves a range of programmes that allow you as little as 415 calories a day to over 1500, with the aim of creating a calorie deficit that will cause your body to go into a state known as ketosis.
Ketosis is when your body starts to burn off your fat reserves for energy.
What programmes are available?
There are 6 different programmes available to anyone wishing to try the Cambridge Weight Plan themselves, although you will need to speak to a consultant before you choose which one is best.
For the first stage of this diet there are 2 options, first Sole Source will involve you needing to consume 3-4 products a day.
The second option is Sole Source Plus, which involves the consumption of 3 branded products plus a normal meal of 200 calories. While on Sole Source Plus you may also consume 4 branded products and 200 l of skimmed milk.
During this stage you will need to consume 3 branded products plus protein rich food, skimmed milk and vegetables, equating to around 810 calories a day.
This stage is for a minimum of 1 week.
For this third stage your daily calorie limit is 1000, which will consist of 2 branded products, skimmed milk, along with breakfast and salad.
This stage is recommended to last for 2 weeks.
By the fourth stage more traditional food will be allowed into your diet.
You will need to consume 2 branded products per day along with skimmed milk and a calorie controlled lunch and dinner.
You are allowed to stay on this stage for as long as you like.
By the fifth stage you will be allowed 1500 calories every day. This equates to 1 branded product, breakfast, dinner, lunch and a snack.
Again you can stay on this stage for as long as you wish.
The sixth stage is the final stage of the Cambridge Weight Plan and is known as the maintenance stage as you should have reached your weight loss goal by now.
Although you should be eating a healthy diet now it is also recommended that you continue to see your consultant and to have 1 branded product a day.
Each programme also involves you drinking 2.25 litres/4 pints of fluids (water/tea/coffee) over the course of the day.
How much weight did Jennifer Ellison lose?
Following the birth of her second child Harry back in July 2013, Jennifer was the target of Twitter bullies who stated how ‘massive’ she had become and that she had ‘let herself go.‘
Following this abuse Jennifer decided to try the Cambridge Weight Plan for herself with incredible results.
After just over 2 months the 30 year old actress has lost 2 stone and is now able to wear size 10 clothes.
Potential issues with the Cambridge Diet?
VLCDs like the Cambridge Diet are not suitable for everyone, and are often only for those with a high BMI.
There are also many that would not recommend their use for more than a 4 week period as this will increase the risk of side effects such as fatigue, nausea, constipation and diarrhoea.
The Cambridge Weight Plan allows up to 12 weeks maximum, although your consultant will be able to give you advise.
Will the Cambridge Diet help you to lose weight?
If followed correctly then there is little doubt that the Cambridge Diet will help you to lose weight.
Having to speak to a consultant beforehand may seem to make the diet less accessible than most but this has its benefits as the diet will be tailored to your needs.
The price is also affordable and is actually cheaper than some of the alternatives currently on the market, such as LighterLife and Slim-Fast for example.
One issue with these types of diet is the act of giving up meals to replace them with a shake or soup.
Many will struggle with this so may be better off sticking to more ‘traditional’ methods of eating healthily and getting regular exercise.
Is there an alternative to the Cambridge Diet?
A similar diet to the Cambridge Diet/Weight Plan is the Exante Diet. It is also a VLCD that involves replacing meals with low calorie alternative products.
With the Exante Diet though you do not need to see a consultant and it is cheaper too.
You can buy these products from only £3.87 per day (£27.09 a week), which when compared to the £44.10 a week that the Cambridge Weight Plan is offered at is a huge saving.