The ‘Half-Baked’ Cookie Diets

The latest diet craze is all about cookies.  In fact, cookie diet companies are not just fighting for your attention…they’re fighting with each other.  See an overview of the cookie wars from Calorielab, and check out WebMD’s recap of the various cookie-based weight loss plans — including Smart for Life, Hollywood Cookie Diet and Dr. Siegal’s.

Maybe you’ve seen those annoying commercials for Smart for Life with newly slim dieters singing about stealing cookies from the cookie jar.  The latest version of the ad talks about how much money you’ll save on groceries if you eat these cookies for breakfast and lunch in place of real food.  What a cheap shot to appeal to people’s cost-saving mindset by suggesting you’ll save $1200 a year if you buy these cookies instead of shopping in a grocery store.  


All of these cookie plans are basically the same — trade your breakfast and lunch for cookies and then eat a sensible dinner.    Sure, these are “special” cookies — fortified with nutrients, protein and “hunger-suppressing” ingredients.  But all of these plans are simply another fad diet trying to entice people with the promise of eating cookies all day.  Dr. Siegal’s Cookie Diet is dangerously restrictive — only 800 calories a day.  None of the plans are nutritionally adequate.

There are some valuable nuggets buried in this approach — portion control, managing hunger and small, frequent meals.  But for me, these cookie diets fall flat.  Yes, you can lose weight on these plans if you’re eating fewer calories. And there are plenty of cookie-dieting success stories that these companies tout.  They even have celebrity endorsements, which are always amazingly powerful.  The Hollywood Cookie Diet has been mentioned in an episode of “Lipstick Jungle” and regularly appears on the pages of celebrity magazines. Dr. Siegal’s Cookie Diet, created by obesity doc Sanford Siegal in Florida, is opening its first full-fledged store in Beverly Hills.

dr-siegal-cookieThese cookie diets may seem enticing, but they’re not really teaching you about portion control.  They’re not helping you change your habits or prepare you for long-term success. To me, they’re setting you up for failure.

How long can you stick to eating 6-8 cookies a day.  A quick-fix approach almost always backfires.  Any type of severe calorie restriction can shed pounds.  But the hard part is keeping it off.  And what have you learned by eating cookies?  Plus, there’s nothing magical about the ingredients in these cookies. Curbing hunger is important to help you stay on track, but there are better, more nutritious ways to boost satiety.

I’m hoping this cookie diet trend soon fades away, but it appears to be gaining steam. Think twice before you start stealing cookies from the cookie jar.

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