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The Cookie Diet
The cookie diet is the brainchild of Dr. Sanford Siegal, a weight-loss doctor with clinics in Florida and Montreal.  Dr. Siegal launched the cookie diet in 2001 in his book, Is Your Thyroid Making You Fat?  He continues to publicize it in magazines articles and appearances on television, in which he touts the cookie diet as a fast method of weight loss, claiming that his patients lose an average of 15 pounds a month.  Dr. Siegal proposes that a dieter go on an 800-calorie diet for 21 days as a test for a thyroid problem.  The loss of only a few pounds at the end of three weeks indicates a dysfunctional thyroid, for which the patient will then be treated.   

The cookie diet plan consists of six specially formulated cookies to be eaten each day whenever the dieter is hungry.  The dieter also drinks eight glasses of liquid of any type.  Dinner is made up of six ounces of protein (lean chicken, turkey, fish, or seafood only) and one cup of vegetables.  This cookie diet plan contains 800 calories and 70 carbohydrates, an extremely low-calorie and low-carbohydrate diet.  The cookies, which come in chocolate, oatmeal, and coconut flavors, are made of oats, rye, bran, and whole wheat flour.  Dr. Siegal claims that the cookies contain amino acids which will suppress appetite.  Cookies are not available in retail outlets, but must be purchased at Siegal’s cookie diet clinics.   The cookie diet plan also includes a 1200-calorie maintenance diet, which the patient goes on after reaching ideal weight.

Critics of the cookie diet contend that anyone will lose weight if they cut their caloric intake so radically and that a safe level of weight loss per month is five or six pounds, rather than the 15-pound average claimed by Siegal.  They also point out the health dangers of eliminating fruits and cutting back so drastically on vegetables.  The cookie diet does not contain enough vitamins, minerals, and fiber to maintain energy and health for any period of time.  Dr. Siegal admits that the cookie diet is not a long-term solution to weight loss maintenance.  Critics also point out that 60 percent of the patients on Dr. Siegal’s $400-a-month cookie diet plan are given appetite-suppressing drugs and 25 percent are given thyroid supplements.  Other diet experts point out that resumption of normal eating habits after weight loss on the cookie diet will probably result in regaining the weight.

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