Post-Christmas Slimdown: The Cookie Diet

  • Parents Only

Indulged a bit over the Christmas break and are now looking for a bit of a kick-start in the diet department? You're not alone!

Healthy eating and exercise, plenty of water and sleep is, of course, the baseline we should be hitting as absolutely mandatory, but you bet there's some interesting ways of kickstarting that new year, new you - and the Cookie Diet is just one of them. 

The Cookie Diet you ask? Eat cookies, lose weight? We know! Sounds crazy, so we had to know more. Let's dive in:

What exactly is the Cookie Diet?

In a nutshell, the Cookie Diet is a program that restricts the calories you eat in order to help you lose weight. A specially-formulated cookie is eaten as a meal replacement for breakfast and lunch, and you eat a lean meat and salad/veggie dinner. Calories are to equal about 1000 - 1200 per day (4000 kilojoules), for both men and women.

The Cookie Diet was invented by weight loss specialist physician, Dr. Sanford Siegal, and it was sold in more than 400 medical practices in South Florida before being available online in 2007. Dr Siegal dealt mainly with overweight patients who battled hunger, and looked for a solution where they could still eat what they wanted to eat, but lose weight at the same time.

Why would I want to follow the Cookie Diet?

Cookies! No, but seriously, these are the reported benefits of the Cookie Diet:

  • The cookies supposedly taste like the regular, sugar-filled ones, but are made up of a special mixture of proteins that "naturally suppress hunger"
  • You get to eat nine cookies a day (1-2 every two hours)
  • It has apparently been effective at reducing weight in almost half a million people since 1975
  • You have a sweet tooth and find a predominantly savoury diet or meal replacements untempting
  • Cookie flavours include Chocolate Brownie, Maple Pancakes, Cinnamon Oatmeal, and Butterscotch
  • Only light exercise is recommended, due to the body being in caloric deficit - if exercising is not your thing or you find it hard to stick to a regime, this may feel like it suits you better
  • It is suggested Cookie Dieters lose 5-7 kilos a month
  • There is a small Facebook support group for those undertaking the diet
  • You are free to eat your choice of a healthy meal at night, and have tea, coffee and sweetener in them
  • The diet is simple - no counting calories, no worries when eating out (dinner is your choice, and the cookies at other times of the day are very portable)
  • You can order from home and have the cookies delivered straight to your door

What are the downsides of the Cookie Diet?

  • This is essentially a calorie-restricting diet, which could arguably be furnished with real, unprocessed food at the same calorie density
  • The maximum calories allowed on this diet contravene current Australian calorie intake guidelines, which for a woman aged 30-50 falls into the 2000 calorie (or 8000kj) range
  • Weight-loss plans are aiming for a diet of below 1000 calories can result in potassium deficiency, gallstones, heart palpitations, weakened kidney function and dizziness.
  • The Cookie Diet is essentially a fad diet, which concerns eating disorder activists, who have long criticized diet crazes for weight loss. This can pose an issue if you have struggled with eating disorders in the past, or do currently.
  • Cookies are only available online, exclusively disturbed by OzHealth Pharma. You can't just nip down the shops and grab a box!
  • This may not be a cost-effective way of dieting. A one-month supply can be anywhere from $169.99 to $299.95. Of course if you break it down it seems cheap as chips for a meal, but if you're also shopping for a family, the cookies would generally be considered an extra expense
  • The cookies are individually wrapped, creating excess packaging waste
  • Regardless of the amino acids used in creating the cookies in order to reduce hunger, you may still feel quite hungry on such a calorie-restricted plan
  • They are not gluten- or lactose-free, so you may find the diet unsuitable if you have issues in these areas. There are currently no plans to make the cookies in Australia gluten- or lactose-free.
  • Not a great option for diabetics, or anyone who needs to be careful of cholesterol, salt, or protein.
  • The Cookie Diet isn't a lifestyle overhaul and you may find it difficult to continue the diet long-term
  • There's not a lot of variety in cookie flavours available in Australia, and it could contribute to boredom with the program
  • It can pose a bit of a problem if you don't want your children seeing you eat cookies all day while you expect them to eat healthy foods instead. 

Where to next?

Check out thecookiediet.com.au for more info on the Cookie Diet itself, investigate OzHealthPharma, the new owners of Dr Siegal's Cookie Diet, and have a look at similar diets: Smart for Life Cookie Diet and the Hollywood Cookie Diet.

You can also calculate your own personal calorie needs with the daily energy requirements calculator at eatforhealth.gov.au, and how to balance your kilojoule intake here if you prefer a more tailored approach to calorie restriction.

We also recommend you do your own research on both sides of the Cookie Diet - pro and con - to get a well-rounded view of exactly what it is and how it may affect you.

It's also a great idea to chat to your GP about your situation and your interest in this diet to see if it is suitable.

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