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Review of Dr Siegal’s Cookie Diet

Posted by James on Sep 15th, 2008 and filed under Reviews. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

Photo by scubadive67

Mmmm, cookies. Who does not love cookies? They come in any shape, color and flavor imaginable. Without a doubt, there is a cookie tailored to the needs of even the pickiest of eaters. These delightfully evil treats are a key contributor to the obesity epidemic in the world today. When somebody, a doctor in this case, comes up with a diet based around the cookie, it’s going to get the attention of every cookie lover looking to lose weight.

As a result, the aptly named “Dr. Siegal’s Cookie Diet” has received a great deal of media attention. No doubt you have heard of it. Now it’s my turn to review the Cookie Diet and whether it should used in the spirit of eating every three hours, or avoided entirely.

Dismissed it Because of the Name

The first time I heard the phrase “Cookie Diet” was a few years ago. I immediately tuned out after hearing the phrase. Back then, I was an obese man still trying to figure out how to lose weight. The idea that a diet can be centered on cookies was outrageous to me. I tuned-out and forgot all about the Cookie Diet, that is until a review of the Cookie Diet popped up on the blog Lazy Man and Health.

About the Cookies

Dr. Siegal chose cookies because he was looking for a snack that was portable, durable and does not require refrigeration. It really is a good idea if you can get your head around that your diet will consist mostly of cookies.

These are not your traditional cookies consisting of large amounts of sugar, chocolate or peanut butter. The Lazy Mandescribed the cookie as nothing more than a “nutrition bar”. I agree with that assessment in the sense that the cookies Dr. Siegal is pushing are not traditional cookies, but I do believe them to be cookies in the sense they are a round, flat-ish and baked product.

I have not personally sampled these cookies, but there is some indication that they probably don’t taste great. There is very little information on their web site. Most useful information is scattered throughout the Cookie Diet Blog. One snippet caught my attention:

If you’re serious about finding truly delicious cookies, or weight loss through magic and miracles, then you probably aren’t serious about doing what is necessary to achieve a healthy and sustainable weight. If that’s the case, you might want to wait until you’re ready. The last thing you need is another diet failure.

Wow. Dr. Siegal indicates if you are looking for a deliciouscookie, you are not serious about losing weight. I agree that one needs to be in the correct mindset in order to lose weight, but he can’t blame people for asking if his cookies taste good. People want the Cookie Diet to be about eating the tasty and unhealthy cookies that we know and love. Maybe Dr. Siegal should have called the diet the “Healthy Cookie Diet”. But if he had done that, his sales would be much lower.

The blog goes on to say “Delicious foods make people overeat and get fat“. I generally disagree. I’m more from the camp that believes having unclear goals and not eating enough calories on a diet will lead to overeating because of a starvation response. I will concede that in a general sense, it’s difficult to eat only one delicious cookie. I’d rather have 2.

Are the Cookies Healthy?

Possibly. There are numerous references to these cookies containing some amount of protein. If they don’t taste ”delicious” then there is probably a limited amount of sugar, if any. The Cookie Diet web site does not provide any information about the nutritional content of its products, which includes drinkable shakes. I’d imagine there is a nutritional label located directly on the product packaging. If anyone has access to one of these labels, please send me the information and I will update this article.

The site does indicate you will eat six cookies a day and they will total about 500 calories. My college education allows me to conclude the cookies are just around 83 calories each. With so few calories there is likely little fat and sugar in the product. There may also be good starchy carbs in addition to the protein in their secret cookie formula.

I don’t think Dr. Siegal is including protein in the cookie for the benefits protein provides, but rather protein has been known to make a person feel fuller and more satisfied. It makes sense that if you are only going to give someone 80-85 calories to last them a few hours, giving them protein may help that person feel less hungry than if you were to give them the same calories in carbohydrates or fat.

Even with the limited information, some might determine the cookies can be called “healthy” based on the fact there are only ~83 calories. There is little chance of gaining weight on these cookies; you would be hard pressed to gain weight even if you scarfed your entire day’s supply in one sitting.

What the Diet Really Involves

The goal of the cookie is to provide a very small number of calories to keep your stomach from shriveling up like a prune during the day. From what I gather, the cookies are only there in an attempt to keep you from eating anything else during the day. I can imagine followers tearing into their 83 calorie cookie as if they were on crack struggling to get their next hit.

The real food comes in the evening when you get to have a 300 calorie dinner consisting of “six ounces of lean chicken, fish or turkey and one cup of non-starchy, green vegetables“, according to the Cookie Diet Blog. This 300 calorie dinner will be your primary source of nourishment for the entire day, and there are no cookies for dessert.

I can’t argue with that type of dinner, it is a good balance of lean protein and fibrous carbohydrates. My problem is a dieting person will have to go hungry (even with the cookies) during their most active hours, which for most people is the morning and afternoon.

Realities of the Cookie Diet

The Cookie Diet is an intriguing idea, but I feel it suitable for a very small number of people. Here are my conclusions about the diet: 

  • You will be hungry during the day when most people are active. Eating a super low calorie cookie every couple of hours will not keep you from feeling hungry.
  • 800 calories is dangerously low to sustain for any length of time. Before too long, your metabolism will slow in response to these low calories. A slower metabolism means it will be easier to gain weight when you do go back to eating as you did before the cookie diet.
  • Men should avoid this diet because of the extremely low calories. I personally think its too low for women as well.
  • Forget about exercising, there are not enough calories while on this diet to fuel exercise or any active person.
  • You will lose some weight because of the low calories, but the hunger and slowing metabolism make it a certainty that the weight will be gained back.
  • You will be tired all of the time.
  • This diet should only be attempted by the most sedentary of people.

    In my opinion, I believe the cookie diet to be more about selling cookies under the disguise of a diet, rather than the benefits of a healthy lifestyle. The Cookie Diet is not a lifestyle. The Cookie Diet web site is only pushing cookies and does nothing to educate their customers about weight loss. I had to piece together tid-bits of information scattered around their site just to get an idea of what the diet is about. Perhaps they include some dietary information with their products, but it would seem to me that is something they would mention on their site.

    Obviously, I do not recommend the diet. There is no reason to starve while losing weight. Take the Cookie Diet dinner, which does not include cookies, and eat it four or five times a day. You won’t be so hungry and you’ll probably be at a calorie deficit.

    Have any of you tried the Cookie Diet or known someone that has? Were they successful in losing weight and keeping it off?

    11 Responses for “Review of Dr Siegal’s Cookie Diet”

    1. Thank you for taking the time to blog about Dr. Siegal’s COOKIE DIET, James. While I appreciate your interest in my weight loss methods and hunger-controlling cookies, I find it a bit odd that one would undertake to “review” a product that he admits he has never tried. As for your opinions that one would feel hungry; that 800 calories is dangerous; and that the cookies are not appropriate for men, you don’t explain why you hold these beliefs. However, I can tell you that my beliefs are those of a medical doctor who has helped more than 500,000 of his patients lose weight safely, quickly, and without hunger. Although it’s little more than a year old, now has 59,000 registered users and is adding thousands more each month. We must be doing something right!

      Sanford Siegal, D.O., M.D.
      Miami, FL

    2. Thanks for commenting Dr. Siegal. My readers will appreciate your comments.

      I believe one can provide a high-level review of the Cookie Diet fundamentals without having tried it out.

      In the context of a blog article, I supplied a link that described some of the problems to the metabolism a low calorie diet can cause. I did not need to explain it myself.

      Men have substantially higher calorie requirements than women. It’s a fact, not my opinion.

      It’s my opinion that evey person has a unique set of calorie requirements based on their specific lifestyle. Suggesting that all people (both men and women, young and old), can SUCCESSFULLY lose weight (and keep it off) on the same calorie requirements is outrageous to me. Again that is my opinion. There are other articles on the site to explain my point of view.

      I doubt you have personally examined 500,000 people and verified their lost weight did not return once they stopped using the Cookie Diet.

      I agree your company is doing something right, and people are losing weight. My point is that most of them will gain the weight back when they get tired of eating one meal a day.

      The fact you are a medical doctor (osteopathy) does not make your diet safe or appropriate. Even of you don’t agree, I’m sure you would agree there are doctors around that would dispute 800 calories can be sustained for any length of time.

      We’ll leave it to the audience to decide for themselves. There are plenty of links to the Cookie Diet site in the article. ;-)

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