You can continue to eat the foods you like, enjoy a glass of wine, get a good night’s sleep and it all helps you lose weight.
This might sound too good to be true but has certainly got people talking. We take a look at the Overnight Diet to find out what all the fuss is about.
Will this diet plan help you, or is just the latest diet craze to hit the market?
How Do You Follow the Overnight Diet Plan?
The Overnight Diet has similarities with those intermittent fasting plans which are popular at the moment. With this one, you keep to a normal diet six days a week but instead of fasting for two days, as with the Two Days Diet and 5:2 fasting diet the Overnight Diet plan requires that you only restrict your diet for one day a week.
The diet is split into two sections. The Power Up Phase and the Fuel Up phase.
On the restricted diet day called the Power Up Phase, you eat only Smoothies – liquidised fresh fruit drinks which contain protein powder, for each meal. The rest of the week, you eat “normally” but with attention to your protein consumption and general diet.
According to the author, the “Power Up” phase will “rev up “ your metabolism and help your body burn fat. You are advised to do the Power Up phase on Sundays when most people have an easier day but it is up to you. Crucial to the diet is the importance of getting a good 8 hours sleep the same night. According to the author , this day of eating protein rich Smoothies followed by a good 8 hours sleep will result in overnight weight loss – sometimes as much as 2lbs the first night.
The following six days are titled the Fuel Up Phase and you are encouraged to eat what you like including as many fruit and vegetables as you possibly can. There is an added twist to the diet. Before you start, you need to calculate your daily protein requirements and keep to the recommended daily amounts.
The Power Up Phase
One day a week you replace your three usual meals with Smoothies These are easy to make and can be delicious. Blending fruit and vegetables together as a liquid meal or fruit drink is both filling and more satisfying than it sounds. The Overnight diet plan provides you with a range of easy smoothie recipes and if you live in the U.S., you can buy instant smoothie meals direct from the website.
As well as the natural fruit ingredients, you add a sachet of Physicians Protein Smoothie base mix. This contains added protein so that your Smoothies are filling and satisfying and you do not forgo your all important protein intake.
A sample recipe taken from the Overnight Website:
- Protein: 1 sachet of Physicians Protein Smoothie Base Mix (available from website)
- 2 medium carrots, peeled and sliced
- 1 medium sweet apple, cored, seeded, and quartered
- 2 pitted dates
- 1 banana, sliced
- 1/2 cup mango, peeled and diced
- 2 handfuls spinach (or kale, de-stemmed)
- 1 cup water to start (add more as needed for consistency)
You eat/ drink three Smoothies during the Power Up Day of your diet. You are allowed to drink coffee, tea and herbal infusions.
So What Is Physicians Protein Smoothie Mix?
If you are based within the USA You can buy ready-made sachets of Protein mix from the website. A 7 pack of Smoothie Base Mix costs $16.80. For consumers elsewhere you can make your own. Details are outlined in the book but the protein powder is a blend of whey and casein plus approximately 20 grams of added protein.
Fuel Up Phase
Protein is crucially important to this diet but this attention to protein does not make it like the Dukan Diet or Adkins where you eat only protein and little else.
During the six days Fuel Up Phase, fresh fruits and vegetables are encouraged and you can eat carbs. However one of the main rules is that you need to make sure you are eating the correct amount of protein, neither too little nor too much.
According to Dr Apovian, this is because you need protein in order for your body to burn off fat rather than muscle. She says that because protein provides the building blocks for muscle, skipping protein will result in loss of muscle tissue. This is because although we can store carbohydrates as fat to be used for future energy reserves, the amino acids we get from protein cannot be stored and instead go directly to rebuilding your muscles.
The problem with going on a normal restrictive weight loss diet, according to Dr Apovian, is that it can result in muscle wasting if protein intake is reduced. This leads to flabbiness and does not cause your body to burn fat.
Eating the correct amount of protein will make sure that you stay in good health as well as maximise the potential of the diet. You will burn off fat and lose weight without having to go hungry or feel any of the usual side effects of dieting such as low energy levels and hunger.
The Diet plan follows the Fuel Up Phase for six days. There is a menu planner and a range of Overnight goodies and snacks you can buy in order to support this phase. You are encouraged ensure you have plenty of “All-You-Can-Eat Fruits and Veggies”.
The recipes look delicious and include meals like chicken with olives tomatoes and salsa, pork chop with watermelon salsa and similar. You will notice that there is an American flavour to the style of the eating plan but you would probably be able to adapt your own menu and stay within the plan.
Your optimum protein intake will be personal to you and depends on your sex and height. (Figures do not take lifestyle, age body shape and activity levels into consideration).
Women’s Recommended daily protein intake:
- Height up to 5ft 5ins – 350g of protein
- Between 5ft 6 ins and 5ft 7 ins. – 375g protein
- Between 5ft 8ins and 5ft 9ins – 400g protein
- Between 5ft 10ins and 5ft11in – 425g protein
- Height including and above 6ft – 450g protein
Men’s Recommended daily protein intake:
- Height up to 5ft 7ins – 400g of protein
- Height 5ft 8in – 425g of protein
- Between 5ft 9ins and 5ft 10ins – 450g protein
- Between 5ft 11in and 6ft – 480g protein
- Between 6ft 1 and 6ft 2ins – 500g protein
- Height 6ft 3ins – 540g protein
- Height including and above 6ft 4ins – 570g protein
So Why is it Called the Overnight Diet Plan?
This is because you are expected to lose 2lbs overnight, following the first Power Up day spent feasting on Smoothies. Dr Apovian says that putting your body straight into fat burning mode by doing this, jump-starts your metabolism and weight loss overnight. You need to be aware that this initial weight loss is mainly water and salt so you need to ensure you drink plenty of fluids and stay hydrated for the six-day Fuel-Up phase.
Weight loss is expected to be around 9lbs per week if you stick with the diet. Once you reach your target weight, you just continue with the plan in order to maintain weight loss.
Are There Health Benefits?
According to Dr Apovian, the Smoothies are designed to reduce insulin levels and the drop in insulin as you sleep, is enough to benefit you all week. Excess insulin is a cause of many diseases including diabetes and heart disease.
The modern diet that includes processed food, sugar and refined carbs raises insulin levels and causes water retention and bloating. The loss of water the first night of the diet, flushes your system by removing some of this excess fluid and is a desirable side effect.
Overnight Diet Author: Dr Apovian
The author Dr Apovian has great credentials in the world of nutrition. She has been the Director of Clinical research at Boston University Medical Centre, is the medical advisor on the Dr Oz show and has been the nutrition consultant for NASA.
She has published books and medical papers and is an expert in the field of obesity.
So Does The Overnight diet Work?
Yes, it does and you will probably lose some weight. The author has great credentials as an obesity expert so has to be taken seriously and after all she is the nutrition consultant for NASA! The major problem with the Overnight Diet is that it may be good but it is all a bit fussy to live with permanently. This diet will work and has undoubtedly helped people lose weight while increasing their health and fitness levels. But it does look like a fad rather than a sensible way of living your life.
Another matter for concern is that it does go against all current dietary advice. The NHS recommends losing 2lbs a week for healthy and sustainable weight loss so the high loss of weight in such a short time is worrying. The Overnight Diet is very new so the medical bodies have not yet commented on it.
Can You Live With This Diet Plan?
Although the Overnight Diet sounds easy – and what could be easier than losing weight while you sleep , the diet is not really that “do able”. How long will you keep to the Power Up days and eat only Smoothies three times on Sunday? In addition, do you really want to live your life in a state of Fuel Up days and Power Up Days? It just does not sound very sensible long term.
Weighing out your protein may help you keep your weight down but surely just switching to healthier eating and lifestyle habits, doing some exercise and not worrying about it, is the “grown up” way to manage your weight? The Overnight Diet seems to be veering towards the world of obsession and a fundamentally unhealthy relationship with food.
David Katz, director of Yale University Prevention Research Centre, seems to think so. Speaking in an interview with the on-line paper the Huffington Post he said,
I keep waiting for us to get tired of going after the new fad diet. However, our appetite for these things is insatiable in the culture. The reason this can work in the short term is that it imposes rules. If you go from undisciplined eating, to any diet no matter what the rules are, chances are you’ll lose some weight. But it’s not a realistic way to live.
When it comes down to it, this is the vital point. You will probably lose weight by following the Overnight Diet but no doubt, this time next year, another new diet will come along and sound even better!