These are all nutritionally balanced programmes, meaning that there likely is a programme to suit everyone. This versatility means that Cambridge diet meal replacement products can be used as the sole source of nutrition or can be combined with conventional food for more gradual weight loss and weight management.
Cambridge Diet Plans
The Cambridge diet offers a 6 step programme for safe and steady weight loss whilst minimising the chances of weight regain after the diet is completed. Dieters can start the plan at any step, but should follow each step in order, slowly increasing the number of calories consumed daily until they reach their target weight and the number of calories they consume is stabilised to equal their metabolic rate.
Step one provides the dieter with two options, called sole source and sole source plus.
Sole source involves eating three or four meal replacement options per day, which equates to consuming around 440-555 calories.
Sole Source plus provides around 640kcal per day, and involves eating four Cambridge meal replacements supplemented with either 200ml of skimmed milk, or eating three Cambridge meal replacements, as well as one Sole Source Plus 200kcal meal.
Both these plans, as well as all later stage plans, also require the dieter to drink around 4 pints of fluid over the course of each day. This can be in the form of water, black tea, black coffee, herbal teas and Cambridge water flavourings. Once dieters are in the later stages of the Cambridge diet, they can also occasionally consume “low calorie/ diet drinks, flavoured waters or squashes”.
Steps two, three, four and five all progressively introduce more food into the menu, whilst slowly reducing the number of Cambridge meal replacements that are eaten per day. By the time the dieter is in the fifth stage, they will only be consuming one Cambridge meal replacement per day, but this as well as consuming a 300 kcal breakfast, a 350kcal lunch, one portion of fruit worth 100kcal, one 350kcal dinner, a 150kcal dessert, and around 3/4 of a pint of skimmed milk. The introduction of a milk allowance from stage two allows for tea and coffee to be drunk with milk, making it somewhat easier to drink the four pints of water required throughout the day.
Finally, step six begins when the dieters target weight is reached; this is called weight maintenance. The dieter’s Cambridge diet consultant will discuss with them how to best maintain their weight. The calorie-banded steps of the Cambridge diet are designed to help with stabilisation and then long term weight management.
Food on the Cambridge Diet
The Cambridge diet offers several different meal replacement products. These include soups, shakes, bars, vanilla rice pudding and porridge. With this range of both hot and cold options, as well as a mixture of liquid, solid, sweet and savoury, the Cambridge diet offers more choice than some of its competitors, namely Slimfast. Products ordered from the official website are delivered promptly to the dieter’s home, making it easier to be fully prepared for the diet. Because the food is delivered directly, it removes the need to search for the product in shops and supermarkets, and allows dieters to have a stock of convenient transportable meals available to them.
One on one support is a part of the package when signing up for the Cambridge diet. Each dieter is assigned a Cambridge consultant, who will help to keep the dieter motivated and on track. Their support also includes discussing how to maintain the dieter’s weight once they have completed the diet programme. Whilst this support does not necessarily suit every dieter, there are many testimonials that heavily credit their consultant with being the difference between success and failure on the diet.
Are there Any Side effects?
There are some side effects that are associated with very low calorie diets. Because of the lack of calories, it is possible that some people will feel lethargic, light headed, dizzy or even nauseous at some points of the day. Leg cramps are also possible, especially when first adapting to the diet.
The advice to drink at least 2.25 litres/4 pints of fluids over the course of each day will help to minimise these side effects, and will also help to reduce hunger cravings throughout the day.
It is also possible that when starting a very low calorie diet that the body will enter ketosis, which is a state in which fat stores are burnt for energy rather than carbohydrate stores. Whilst this is positive for weight loss, it also sometimes causes bad breath, which is obviously unpleasant. More can be read about the side effects specific to the Cambridge diet on the FAQs page of the official website.
Cambridge Diet Costs
The cost of the Cambridge diet varies depending upon the food choices made, as well as the plan followed. Each meal replacement product costs upwards of £2.10, making it an expensive choice of diet, but, according to the price comparison page of the official website, cheaper than other meal replacement programs.
Considering that a person on the sole source program (step 1) will be eating three or four of these meal replacement products per day, the cost adds up quickly. This means a minimum weekly bill of £44 for three meals per day, or much more if four are required, or if more expensive food options are chosen. For people who are following the later steps of the Cambridge diet, the cost of meal replacement products will be less, but they still need to purchase food for their other meals throughout the day.
Many people find the cost of the Cambridge diet to be prohibitive in the long run, stopping them from following the plan until their target weight is reached, despite positive weight loss results. There are many comments on internet forums looking for cheaper alternatives to the Cambridge diet.
Our Verdict on the Cambridge Diet
Overall, the Cambridge diet offers a safe and relatively easy way to follow a very low calorie diet. Because of the six step programme, the number of calorie consumed daily is slowly increased, which minimises the chances of fat retention and fast weight regain, which is often the problem with following highly restrictive diets. The extensive list of side effects does make the Cambridge diet less appealing, and means that it may not be suitable for many individuals. Finally, because of the restrictive nature of very low calorie diets, it is likely that many people will struggle to follow the Cambridge diet in the long run. To be successful with the Cambridge diet, and other total meal replacement plans, the dieter will need to have plenty of determination and self-control, especially to avoid deviating from the diet.