A restricted calorie plan, the Cambridge diet has been popular for over twenty years. It is a total package that includes an eating plan, formula foods, and the support of a counsellor.
The Cambridge diet includes six steps of progressively increasing calories, as follows:
- Step 1: 415-554 kcal
- Step 2: 790 kcal
- Step 3: 1000 kcal
- Step 4: 1200 kcal
- Step 5: 1500 kcal
- Step 6: Maintenance
In step one of the Cambridge Diet, you eat proprietary formula food in place of meals in order to keep your calories really low - this is really hard to maintain for long, but can be an effective way to kick start weight loss.
Eating only the proprietary packaged food is also a good way to avoid the temptations of conventional food for a short while. It is recommended for people with a BMI above 25, or those who need to lose at least a stone.
Step two, the 'green and white' stage, adds selected lean protein and vegetables to the 3 or 4 meal replacements, while in step three fruit and carbohydrates are added.
By the time you reach step four (1200 calories) a much greater variety of conventional food can be added to your daily menu as long as you stay within the total calories for the day.
This is a plan that follows many basic principals of good, healthy eating including:
- Avoiding fat
- Restricting salt
- Eating fibre
- Reducing sugar intake
- Restrict alcohol
- Avoiding fast food
With its emphasis on eating healthy foods, and structured maintenance programme, this can be a good option for those who want to lose weight and keep it off.