The Four-Day Diet


Do you get bored with eating the same foods on a diet?  Do you find yourself quitting because you just can’t take the monotony anymore?  Then, you are not alone and are likely the reason Ian K. Smith, MD, a diet expert for the VHI show Celebrity Fit Club created The 4 Day Diet.  Smith believes “Losing weight is 80 percent mental and 20 percent physical,” and has set up the 4 Day Diet to address both the psychological as well as the physical factors that play a role in losing weight.  

Smith is also the creator of the 50 Million Pound Challenge, a project geared toward motivating African-Americans to lose 50 million pounds.


You can lose 10 to 12 pounds over a 28-day period by completing Smith’s seven-phase approach to weight loss.


This is a low-calorie focused plan, which focuses on controlling a participant’s food environment so they avoid temptation and lose weight.  Participants are directed to eat specific foods, and perform certain exercises during each of the seven four-day phases outlined in Smith’s book, The 4 Day Diet.  

Program Overview

This diet involves seven specific phases, each lasting four days.  While phases 1 and 2 need to be done at the start of the program, the remaining phases can be completed in any order the participant wants.  Each phase focuses on eating from specific food categories, therefore, meal plans will vary.  

During Induction (Phase 1), participants work on removing accumulated toxins from the body.  Dieters eat lots of fruits, leafy greens, non-starchy vegetables, brown rice, beans, and low-fat or non-fat yogurt and milk.  No fish, poultry, or meats are permitted.  

Transition (Phase 2) teaches participants how to break old habits and eat differently.  During this phase, lots of unprocessed foods that are high in fiber are eaten.  Participants eat around 1,300 calories a day, with a heavy emphasis on eating more fruits and raw vegetables.  Also allowed is 4 ounces of poultry or fish.  

During the “Protein Stretch” (Phase 3), lean meats, fish, milk, and eggs are added, which will help participants avoid hitting their weight loss plateaus.  By the “Smooth” transition period (Phase 4), Smith assumes participants have started to pick up a little bit about the importance of portion control and healthy eating, so foods such as pizza or a turkey burger are permitted.  In this phase, moderation will be the key to continued success.  

“Push” (Phase 5) leads participants back to a more restrictive diet.  There are four daily menus specifically outlined that need to be followed.  The emphasis returns to eating lots of fresh fruits and vegetables.  During “Pace” (Phase 6), a few more foods are again added.  With the final phase called “Vigorous”, participants are pushed to lose those last few stubborn pounds.  An example of a meal plan during this phase would look like this:

  • 3 pieces fruit
  • Half a cucumber
  • 3 cups green salad
  • 1 1/2 cups broth-based soup
  • 2 servings of cooked veggies
  • 2 snacks

The diet approach also stresses the importance of exercise, specifically in effectively combining aerobics with strength training. Participants are encouraged to progress through the exercise recommendations at their own pace.  No more than 30 minutes of exercise a day is recommended.


Plan Strengths

The 4-Day Diet stresses variety and the importance of switching things up.  It helps participants remain focused and motivated while tackling hard issues such as food triggers and cravings.  It works to address the psychological aspects of losing weight and provides several strategies such as using affirmation, thinking thin, and moving away from just using a scale to determine weight loss success. It stresses the importance of setting goals throughout the weight loss process, and overall, ranks high in terms of providing motivation.   

Smith applies an 80/20 rule that participants may find attractive.  Smith believes that as long as you stick to the program 80 percent of the time, and only stray occasionally (20% of the time) by eating the occasional “forbidden” food, participants won’t likely sabotage their long-term success on the plan.

Plan Weaknesses

This is a low-calorie plan, which could prove restrictive for some participants.  As most modules only allow between 1,000 and 1,800 calories a day, there are concerns that some participants may not receive the vital nutrients and minerals needed, as some foods are restricted on this plan.  

The diet does provide various meal plan lists of foods for each phase, but it does not break down those foods into individual meals.  Participants wanting more structure and guidance as to what foods to eat and when may find this off-putting. 

The plan focuses on a 28-day period but does not address long-term weight loss.  While Smith hopes that participants will develop healthy eating habits during that month, for some, more support and guidance may be needed during maintenance to continue losing.  


The Four Day diet provides several useful strategies for making good food choices and exercising.  It also does a great job of addressing the psychological side of weight loss, which many plans fail to do.  Participants who decide to jump between the various phases may find it confusing and may be disappointed at the lack of support provided when it comes to actually maintaining their weight loss.  However, for dieters looking for a break from the standard diet routine, i.e. eating the same foods day in and day out, this approach may warrant a closer look.

The information provided here is for educational or informational purposes only.  Dave DePew does not endorse any of the programs/services reviewed here.  

Additional Resources

The 4 Day Diet, WebMD,

4 Day Diet: Tame temptations, lose weight, 

4 Day Diet Review,

Every Other Day Diet


The Every Other Day Diet, often referred to as the QOD or EODD diet, actually refers to two diets, which are similar in their approach to weight loss.  Retired kidney specialist, Dr. John Daugirdas wrote The QOD Diet (QOD), and former overweight turned-fitness-experts Jon Benson and Janis Hauser collaborated on The Every Other Day Diet (EODD).  Though the programs vary slightly, both are based on the idea of caloric cycling to lose weight.  While Dr. Daugirdas cautions that the program is not suited for everyone, Benson and Hauser claim almost anyone can do it, and even go so far as to offer a money-back guarantee to sweeten the deal.

Other similar weight loss approaches following the same principle of caloric cycling include the Alternate Day Diet, Intermittent Fasting, Fasting Every Other Day, and the Longevity Diet. Given that both approaches are similar, they are reviewed jointly in broad terms here.  If you would like to research either plan and compare the pros and cons of each, it would be best to read their books and check out each plan’s website.  


You can lose weight at a faster pace, without having to go through the hardships of a traditional diet plan.


By using caloric cycling, participants are able to keep their metabolism high and effectively burn more calories, ultimately leading to weight loss.

Program Overview

Daugirdas and Benson support the idea of caloric cycling and put forth a cycle of eating that spans a typical seven-day period.  The idea is for participants to maintain a high metabolism so that the body burns fat for energy instead of storing it.

While the approach is similar, the difference is found in the execution.  For the QOD, Daugirdas believes participants should eat normally for one day, and then follow that with one day of very light eating.  Very light eating is defined as eating no more than 300 and 400 calories. If you are not active, no more than 300 non-protein calories are allowed, whereas if exercising, you are allowed 400.  Daugirdas provides a so-called protein allowance to control hunger and maintain muscle mass. 

The EODD from Benson also has what he refers to as burn and feed days.  On burn days, participants consume fewer calories than the body requires.  This is generally anywhere from one-half to two-thirds of your baseline caloric intake.  Participants eat low-calorie foods, like veggies and other fiber-rich foods, and eat plenty of lean proteins.  Participants on a feed day are allowed to eat their favorite foods and consume more calories than they would typically need.  Women, can consume between 1,200 and 1,800 calories, and men can eat between 1,800 and 2,400 calories.  Benson’s weekly cycle follows along the lines of 2 days feed, 2 days burn, 1-day feed, and 2 days burn.

Plan Strengths

Participants in both plans find this approach easy to follow.  Calorie counting is not necessary, and portion sizing is not an exact science.  For example, Benson’s EODD program tells participants to use their hands to measure portions, i.e. protein should equal the size of their palm and condiments the length of their thumb.  

Others are attracted to the idea that they do not have to give up the foods they like to eat.  Sure, they cannot consume mass amounts and expect to lose weight, but the idea of still being able to eat pizza, ice cream, and chocolate, but in moderation, is not just attractive but potentially psychologically appealing to many folks.

Both Benson and Daugirdas put emphasis on physical activity, especially if the goal is to lose weight.  For Daugirdas, the exercise of choice is walking and he recommends walking at least two miles every day.  For Benson, cardio is highly recommended.

Plan Weaknesses

Daugirdas cautions his approach is not for everyone and that individuals suffering from diabetes, heart disease, and kidney disease should not follow this diet.  The diet is also not suitable for individuals needing to lose more than 25 pounds.  Additionally, Daugirdas is upfront is stating that the diet has not been tested extensively.

Benson’s version promises you can lose up to 21 pounds in 21 days; however, this rapid weight loss is not in line with the recommended weight loss guidelines of 1 to 2 pounds per week.  Therefore, the likelihood of gaining weight back once you get off the diet is high.  

Some participants have reported feeling tired and experiencing difficulty carrying out everyday normal activities on the low calories days.  Constipation is also a likely side effect on days when food intake is reduced, but this is easily corrected by just consuming a larger amount of dietary fiber.


The approach put forth in both the EODD and QOD is probably going to result in weight loss for the majority of people who try the program, though it is not necessarily because of some secret magic formula for jump-starting your metabolism.  Limiting caloric intake and exercising are the stars of weight loss here, and are in most any successful weight loss approach for that matter.  

For those looking for rapid weight loss, you may have little to lose in trying the program, especially given the fact that Benson offers a 60-day money-back guarantee for his EODD program.  However, long-term weight loss may likely not be sustainable, if you ever decide to go off the diet.  

The information provided here is for educational or informational purposes only.  Dave DePew does not endorse any of the programs/services reviewed here.  

Additional Resources

Every Other Day Diet (Benson) –

QOD Diet (Daugirdas) –

Eat-Clean Diet


The Eat-Clean diet is based on the personal experiences of Oxygen Magazine columnist Tosca Reno.  Once weighing in at over 200 lbs. and lacking in energy, Reno decided to chronicle her approach and journey of weight loss in her book, Eat Clean Diet.  Two years later, she followed up with her Eat Clean Diet Recharged bestseller. 

Reno believes there is a beautiful body formula.  A beautiful body is the result of good nutrition (80%), training (10%), and genes (10%).   For Reno, achieving that beautiful body means learning to control the parts of the formula we can, i.e. eating the way nature intended, and exercising regularly.   To that end, she created the Eat-Clean Diet and incorporated those essential elements.


By eating a diet rich in natural, whole foods and following a regimen of consistent exercise, you can achieve long-term sustainable weight loss.


A diet rich in lean proteins, complex carbohydrates, and healthy fats will assist in maintaining stable blood-sugar levels and ensuring proper nutrition, coupled with a program of daily exercise (at least 30 minutes) will help you either shed the pounds or maintain your current weight. 

Program Overview

Under the Eat-Clean Diet, which Reno and supporters argue isn’t a diet but a lifestyle, participants eat foods that are natural, unprocessed, and whole.  Emphasis is placed more on the quality of food eaten and less on counting calories.  Participants partake of six small meals a day, averaging between 300 and 400 calories each.  Each meal is composed of clean foods and contains complex carbohydrates and protein.

Fresh fruits and vegetables are the foundation of this approach.  Added to that base, are complex carbohydrates such as legumes (brown rice and oats), lean proteins (chicken breast, turkey, and fish), and healthy fats (olive oil, avocado, and raw nuts).  

Foods to avoid like the plague include processed foods, refined grains, sugar, foods containing saturated and trans fats, and alcohol.  

Plan Strengths

If you are not a fan of calorie counting or dealing with pre-packaged foods, then this diet would likely appeal.  Unlike some other plans, which call for certain food groups to be eliminated, the diet encourages a balanced intake of all food groups.  The consumption of whole, unprocessed foods is definitely a healthy way to eat, and the stress placed on the importance of daily exercising is a positive approach to sustainable weight loss.  Sure, weight loss may occur more slowly, as counting calories is not big on this program’s agenda, but over the long term, the weight will likely stay off because of this more healthy approach.  

Given the variety of foods available, people suffering from specific allergies can still participate without feeling deprived.  The same applies to vegetarians as well.

Exercise is an important part of this plan’s overall approach, and participants are encouraged to increase their level of activity as much as possible.  A weight-training program for a minimum of 30 minutes on 3 days each week is also highly recommended.  

Plan Weaknesses

One of the major criticisms leveled against the Eat Clean Diet is that the approach is too stringent and requires a tremendous amount of discipline.  Very little variation or straying off the proverbial path is allowed.  In fact, participants are only allowed one “cheat meal” a week.  This dramatic overhaul of both lifestyle and diet is often too much for some individuals looking for a more gradual and friendly approach to weight loss.  

Some critics also take issue with Reno’s recommendation to remove all saturated fat intake, especially when there is some evidence to suggest that these fats do play an important role in our diets.  Her further advice to add ten rather expensive supplements, which she believes are a necessary part of the approach, has some calling foul, given no scientific support regarding their effectiveness is available and therefore does not warrant the added cost.      


High marks go to the Eat Clean Diet for the high nutritional quality of its program and its emphasis on the importance of daily exercise.  The diet’s approach is, for the most part, sound, but its rigidity and inflexibility may prove challenging for many who may lack the high level of discipline needed to undertake the program.  

The information provided here is for educational or informational purposes only.  Dave DePew does not endorse any of the programs/services reviewed here.  

Additional Resources

Eat Clean Diet Official Website,

The Eat Clean Diet, Diet Blog, Review:  Eat Clean Diet,,

Cabbage Soup Diet


Versions of this diet abound, with many claiming it was designed by a hospital (Sacred Heart, Mayo, etc.) for patients needing to lose weight quickly for surgery.  However, no hospital has ever stepped forward and “claimed” it as its own.  Over the last few years, several books have also been written offering up a variation of the plan as well such as The New Cabbage Soup Diet by Margaret Danbrot and The Ultimate Cabbage Soup Diet by Madeline Cooper.  While definitely not a long-term weight loss solution, it has remained a popular option for many who swear by the results.


You can lose up to 10 to 15 pounds in 7 days, by eating all the fat-free homemade cabbage soup you can stand, and by supplementing it with a small list of allowed foods on alternate days.


Participants are encouraged to eat as much of the homemade cabbage soup as they can stomach.  Doing so will not only stave off hunger cravings but ensure that they remain satisfied enough to stay on this low-calorie plan for the week.   

Program Overview

The Cabbage Soup Diet is a modified fast.  Participants ingest so few calories during the week that weight loss is bound to occur.   The meal plan is restrictive and you must follow the program to the letter.  There are many variations, depending on the source you consult, but here is one seven-day meal plan to give you an idea as to what to expect:  

Day 1: Homemade cabbage soup, plus any fruit, apart from bananas. 

Day 2: Homemade cabbage soup, plus other vegetables, including a baked potato with  butter for dinner (potatoes are off-limits on other days) 

Day 3: Homemade cabbage soup, plus other fruits and vegetables. 

Day 4: Homemade cabbage soup, plus anything up to six bananas and fat-free milk. 

Day 5: Homemade cabbage soup, plus 6 tomatoes and up to 450 grams of meat or fish. 

Day 6: Homemade cabbage soup, plus meat (beef) and vegetables. 

Day 7: Homemade cabbage soup, plus brown rice, pure fruit juice, and vegetables. 


Carbonated beverages, alcohol, and bread are not allowed on the plan.  

There are several variations of the homemade cabbage soup recipe as well. 

One variation is provided below:

Six large green onions

Two green peppers

1 or 2 cans of tomatoes (diced or whole)

1 bunch celery

1/2 head cabbage

1 package Onion Soup Mix

1 or 2 cubes bouillon (optional)

1 48 oz. can V8

Juice (optional)

Season to taste (salt, pepper, parsley, curry, garlic powder, etc).

Plan Strengths

Rapid weight loss is likely to occur given the limited number of calories ingested.  However, keep in mind that the weight lost may be nothing more than water and not fat.  

The program may also prove effective in terms of changing poor eating habits and can provide a great jumping-off point for a more moderate long-term diet approach.  Some studies also suggest that vegetables such as cabbage, broccoli, and cauliflower have proven effective in preventing some types of cancer.

Plan Weaknesses

The biggest drawback of the Cabbage Soup Diet is that it is not a suitable long-term solution to weight loss.  It simply lacks the necessary good nutrition needed.  Most experts agree that ANY diet approach that allows for no more than 1,200 calories a day is going to be unsafe unless under a doctor’s care.  Given that you are probably only getting between 800 and 1,050 calories a day on the Cabbage Soup Diet, your body is definitely going to suffer from a lack of the needed nutrients.

Secondly, the diet is nothing more than a meal approach.  It provides no recommendations about exercise, how to affect long-term behavioral changes, or even how to change poor eating habits.

Participants would definitely have to have tremendous willpower to eat the same thing day in and day out, and given that many report the soup to be a bit bland, this may prove challenging!  

Some participants have also reported experiencing light-headedness, fatigue, weakness, and difficulty concentrating.  Gastrointestinal problems including gas were also experienced.  


Sure, you may very well rapidly lose that promised 10 to 15 pounds of weight, but unless you follow up with a more sensible program of nutrition and physical activity, expect the weight to creep back on once you return if you intend to return to your previous lifestyle.

The information provided here is for educational or informational purposes only.  Dave DePew does not endorse any of the programs/services reviewed here.  

Additional Resources

The Cabbage Soup Diet, WebMD

Cabbage Soup Diet, Wikipedia 

Truth About Cabbage Soup Diet

Burn the Fat Feed the Muscle


Seven-time Mr. Natural Bodybuilding champion, certified strength and conditioning specialist (CSCS), and personal trainer, Tom Venuto created the Burn the Fat Feed the Muscle (BFFM) program about six years ago.  Since then, it has become one of the bestselling downloadable health books on the internet.  

The program is not specifically a weight loss tool, so the casual dieter who just wants to lose a few pounds may find the commitment needed to learn the program a bit more than what they want to invest.  However, those looking for a comprehensive program that extensively covers nutrition, exercise, goal setting, and more will not be disappointed.


You can burn the fat and lose weight while gaining lean muscle mass.


In general, the BFFM program could best be described as a moderate carbohydrate, moderate protein, low-fat diet that places heavy emphasis on exercise in order to build muscle.  With that said, it is important to note that there is no strict formula, and participants are encouraged to find what works best for them.

Program Overview

Tom Venuto believes no single food plan works for every person, and that people need to find what will work best for them.  His program supports the belief that there are three distinct body types (mesomorphs, ectomorphs, and endomorphs) and they all burn calories and store fat differently.  This means that to achieve permanent weight loss, you will need to eat the right foods for your specific body type in order to burn fat.  Participants learn how to evaluate their body type, and create a nutritional plan that effectively burns and re-energizes their metabolism.

The 300+ page downloadable book is a comprehensive guide that covers everything from fat loss and nutrition to the types of exercise needed for each body type.  At the core of the program is the belief that you need to build and maintain lean muscle in order to lose weight.  Therefore, feed your body what it wants, the way it wants, and it will reward you with a fired-up metabolism that will help your body melt away the fat.

Plan Strengths

The BFFM is comprehensive in scope.  It is not a diet.  You aren’t encouraged to cut out all fats from your diet, or only eat proteins.  Instead, it teaches participants how to determine their own ideal intake of protein, carbs, and fats.  

The downloadable book covers every aspect of exercise and nutrition participants need.  It offers chapters on weight training and cardio exercise, as well as detailed nutritional meal plans geared to specific body types.  

The program also does not make any false promises regarding massive weight loss or startling results.  It’s a straightforward, easy-to-understand approach that lets you know there is no quick weight loss fix.  Venuto doesn’t push any magic pills, supplements, or “hidden agenda”, which is refreshing.

The unconditional eight-week money-back guarantee is also attractive for those hesitant to spend the money to try a new program.

Plan Weaknesses

The BFFM program is not one that you can start immediately.   It will take time to read, assimilate and implement all the information learned.  

This program is best suited for the highly motivated.  While there are a few forums that offer some support, participants are basically on their own.  If you lack motivation and the ability to “police” yourself, then you may not find much success with this program.

Another drawback for novice exercisers is that there are no illustrations and/or pictures.  Therefore, unless you have a personal trainer or friend who can explain the various exercise positions you do not know, this can prove to be an obstacle.

Finally, the cost may be an issue for some participants.  The instantly downloadable book costs about $40, but on the flip side, it comes with a satisfaction guarantee that may make that initial cash outlay more palpable.


The BFFM is not for the casual dieter looking to lose a few pounds.  It is not a program you can learn quickly, and it does require a high level of self-motivation. However, it is very comprehensive, thorough, and straightforward in its approach.  Participants interested in changing their diet and committing to a consistent cardio and weight training exercise regime will not be disappointed with the results.  Even if for some reason you are, then simply request a full refund within eight weeks.

The information provided here is for educational or informational purposes only.  Dave DePew does not endorse any of the programs/services reviewed here. Before starting a new exercise regime or weight loss plan, talk with your doctor.

Additional Resources

Burn the Fat,

Burn the Fat Feed the Muscle – Complete Review, Fitness Tips for Life, 

Dr. Phil’s Ultimate Weight Loss Solution


Self-improvement guru and psychologist, Dr. Phil McGraw spent eight years counseling people who were up to 300 pounds overweight.  Those experiences created the foundation for his best-selling book The Ultimate Weight Solution:  The 7 Keys to Weight Loss Freedom.  In the book, he outlines his “seven keys to weight loss freedom.”


You can achieve long-term weight loss by addressing the potentially toxic and negative behaviors that originally contributed to past weight gain.  This can be accomplished by following Dr. Phil’s “seven keys to weight loss freedom,” which also incorporates a  low-calorie diet plan and intense exercise.


Weight gain is largely the result of negative and toxic psychological and behavioral factors.  McGraw believes individuals have the ability to change those behaviors, and provides a program that combines positive thought and a strong circle of support, with well-balanced and healthy eating, and regular exercise.  Once someone is able to change the behaviors and actions that led them down the weight gain road, McGraw says weight loss is sure to follow.

Program Overview

McGraw’s approach is not a diet plan per se, but more of a long-term approach that advocates several key components. 

Those include:

1.    Right Thinking – learning how to eliminate self-defeating thoughts, patterns, and behaviors, and then embracing the idea that success is possible.

2.    Healing Feeling – advocates the idea to stop self-medicating with food, if dealing with emotional issues or stress.  Learn how to make choices that will allow you to stop the cycle of emotional eating.

3.    No-Fail Environment – create an environment around you that does not encourage binge eating, or makes it easy for you to grab food at every turn.

4.    Mastery Over Food and Impulse Eating –Simply put, do not allow food to master you.  You need to master food.

5.    High-Response Cost, High Yield Foods – McGraw promotes eating foods that are high in fiber, nutritious, and filling.  

6.    Intentional Exercise – McGraw points out that exercise is a way for people to gain control over their bodies.  He points out that people who have learned to manage their weight effectively and stay fit exercise as a matter of habit.

7.    Circle of Support – weight loss is not a DIY deal.  To be successful, you need to build nurturing relationship will people who share your views, and reaffirm your goals of changing your life for the better.


As mentioned, an actual diet plan is not the focus of Dr. Phil’s approach.  It is but one small component.  However, this is not to suggest it is not an important one.  Dr. Phil advocates eating what he refers to as High-Response Cost, High Yield Foods.  These are foods, which require a great deal of preparation, cannot be eaten quickly, and are not convenient.  High-yield foods include colorful fruits and vegetables, whole grains, eggs, fish, lean meats, legumes, tofu, non-fat milk products, soy products, soups, herbal teas, and water.

Dr. Phil finds the occasional meal replacement beverage or bar as a “grab and go” food to be acceptable.  He says they can keep busy, tired, or overcommitted people from straying from the plan.  He, however, stresses these products should not be relied on heavily, as they cannot substitute a balanced meal.

Plan Strengths

The Dr. Phil approach, in general, advocates building a foundation of good eating habits.  Many nutritionist support Dr. Phil’s approach to eating and point out that it is in line with national guidelines.  It supports a low-calorie diet and offers up several good exercise tips.

The approach also gets kudos for using a cognitive behavioral approach to weight loss.  It addresses the psychological and behavioral aspects of weight gain and provides a game plan for modifying those behaviors so that participants can move toward life-long weight loss.

Plan Weaknesses

The approach is neither new nor groundbreaking.  Most people who are serious about losing weight will be familiar with the concepts presented.  Another criticism, which is leveled at the meal plans, is that they tend to be high in cholesterol and lacking in some important vitamins and minerals.  Using meal replacement shakes and bars further compounds the problem and is therefore discouraged by some nutritionists.  Overall, the meal approach advocated by Dr. Phil is generally a low-calorie-eating plan.  However, when combined with intense exercise could potentially lead to certain problems such as fatigue and weakness.

The book claims to base its findings on “quality research found in the psychological and medical literature … from the most current research.”  However, the American Dietetic Association, takes issue with this, asserting that more than half of the book’s references (34 out of 66 books and articles) were five years old or more and that sources such as, Psychology Today, and Associated Press Wire Service Report did not qualify as peer-reviewed journals and reliable current references.  


Very few people would argue with Dr. Phil’s premise that behavior modification and cognitive restructuring combined with a sound healthy diet and exercise program would not lead to long-term, healthy weight management. This is pretty much a no-brainer.  While his approach to weight loss includes eating a well-balanced and nutritious diet, getting plenty of regular exercises, and modifying destructive behaviors, it is really nothing new having been advocated by weight loss specialists for years.  

For some people, affecting long-term behavior change may prove difficult without the guidance and expertise of qualified professionals.  Sure, a supportive circle of friends can make a huge difference when working toward achieving your weight loss goals, but unless some of those friends have “technical expertise” in terms of getting to the root of specific behavioral or cognitive issues such as emotional eating or binging, you may not be able to successfully overcome those issues.   

With that said, Dr. Phil should at least receive kudos for providing a realistic approach to weight loss.  An approach that hammers home the reality that weight loss is not an overnight thing.  It takes time, effort, and diligence on the part of anyone wanting to effect life-long change.  An approach we can all support.

The information provided here is for educational or informational purposes only.  Dave DePew does not endorse any of the programs/services reviewed here. Before starting a new exercise regime or weight loss plan, talk with your doctor.

Additional Resources

Dr. Phil’s  Ultimate Weight Loss Solution,

Dr. Phil’s Ultimate Weight Solution by Katherine Lee, Every Day Health

Dr. Phil’s Ultimate Weight Solution, Reviewed by Lisa Dorfman, MS, RD, LMHC

American Dietetic Association,

Blood Type Diet


Naturopath, Dr. Peter D’Adamo wrote the bestseller Eat Right 4 Your Type in the late 1990s.  In the book, D’Adamo claims that blood type is “the key that unlocks the door to the mysteries of health, disease, longevity, physical vitality, and emotional strength.”  From his book and research, the Blood Type Diet (BTD) was born.  Today, celebrities such as Liz Hurley and Courtney Cox-Arquette swear by the program, but the majority of experts (i.e. nutritionists, medical doctors, etc.) find D’Adamo’s theory to be unsubstantiated by scientific evidence.


You can lose weight, feel healthier and lower your risk of succumbing to various diseases by following a diet specifically geared to your blood type group.


Blood typing can be used to implement a dietary plan biologically suited to your individual makeup.  Replace specific foods that are bad for your blood type, and you will begin to benefit from a leaner, cleaner, and more energetic body.

Program Overview

According to Dr. D’Adamo, each blood group has its own unique antigen marker.  Antigen markers are substances that the body recognizes as being foreign to the body.  These markers react badly to certain foods containing powerful proteins called lectins.   These bad food lectins (of which there are supposedly over 1,000) actively interact with your blood type, and can often cause weight gain or lead to other health concerns.  By replacing these bad-targeted foods with foods more suitable to your blood type, your body can more easily digest and absorb food more efficiently, which will ultimately lead to weight loss.

D’Adamo provides dietary recommendations, according to ABO blood groups, of which there are four.  The dominant Type O’s, which D’Adamo classifies as meat-eating hunter-types, the Type A’s, labeled as docile vegetarians, dairy-eating Type B omnivores, and the Type AB enigmas.  

Each blood type has its own unique diet, which briefly, would look something like this:

  • Blood Type O – this group should be eating a diet high in protein.  Meat, fish, vegetables, and fruit are allowed, but grains, beans, and legumes should be limited.  If an individual wants to lose weight, they should avoid wheat, corn, kidney beans, cabbage, cauliflower, and mustard greens.  Kelp, seafood, salt, red meat, spinach, and liver though would help with weight loss.
  • Blood Type A – this group should be eating a vegetarian diet.  Vegetables, tofu, seafood, grains, beans, legumes, and fruit are allowed.  To lose weight, these participants should avoid meat, dairy, kidney beans, and wheat, while eating soy foods, vegetables, and pineapple.
  • Blood Type B – these individuals are classified as balanced omnivores.  For better health, they should eat meat (not chicken), dairy, grains, beans, legumes, vegetables, and fruit.  If wanting to lose weight, individuals in this group should avoid corn, lentils, peanuts, seeds, and wheat.  Greens, eggs, venison, licorice, and tea assist aid in weight loss.
  • Blood Type AB – A well-balanced diet is a mixed diet in moderation for a blood type AB individual.  If interested in losing weight, red meat, kidney, and lima beans, seeds and corn should be avoided, while tofu, seafood, dairy, greens, and pineapple should be eaten.

Dr. D’Adamo asserts that a change in diet can occur gradually, and that to reap the rewards, most individuals need to follow these eating habits only 70 percent of the time.

Plan Strengths

The BTD does receive positive marks in recommending that people try to eat fresh natural foods and reduce or eliminate processed foods from their diet.  Exercise also plays a prominent role in D’Adamo’s approach.  Additionally, the diet does a good job of getting you to sit down and really take a good hard look at what you are eating.  

Plan participants are likely to lose weight initially, but this may be more the result of eliminating specific food groups such as breads and cereals, dairy, and meat and fish, than the diet itself.

A survey of participants by D’Adamo and available on his website claims that 8 out of 10 individuals on the BTD report a positive result from following the program.

Plan Weaknesses

The biggest criticism lobbied against the BTD is that it lacks a well-documented research base, and there are no clinical trials to back it up.  Experts almost universally agree that the plan is nonsense, stating there is no scientific basis for the claim that blood type can determine one’s diet.  A few even refer to his approach as nothing more than “blood type astrology”.

Nutritionists remain concerned that the diet’s recommendation to limit or cut out major food groups will ultimately result in a poor intake of vital nutrients that could potentially harm participants in the long term.   Also alarming are recommendations, such as the advice given to non-Caucasian Type Bs to incorporate dairy into their diet.  Asian Type B’s, who are lactose deficient due to the normal disappearance of lactase enzymes in their intestinal cells, could find this recommendation painful, as it could lead to “severe bouts of abdominal cramps and diarrhea.”


Short-term weight loss is possible, given the restriction of certain food groups; however, long-term weight loss is probably not sustainable.  BTD receives a gold star for its recommendations to eat fresh natural foods and to incorporate exercise, but with very little science or clinical evidence supporting the diet’s success, all that exists is sheer speculation and conjecture in regard to its effectiveness.  

The information provided here is for educational or informational purposes only.  Dave DePew does not endorse any of the programs/services reviewed here. Before starting a new exercise regime or weight loss plan, talk with your doctor.

Additional Resources

Blood Type Diet,

The Blood Type Diet: Fact or Fiction? 

The “Blood Type Diet”: Fact or Fiction?  by Michael Klaper, M.D. 

Raw Food Diet


The “mother of living foods”, Ann Wigmore, was an American self-taught nutritionist, whole foods advocate, and health educator who has been accredited with popularizing the raw food diet in the 1950s.  However, it was not until the 1990s when celebrities such as Demi Moore, Gwyneth Paltrow and Sting started advocating the benefits of an unprocessed and uncooked plant-based diet that it truly caught the attention of mainstream America.  

Today, the diet approach remains popular throughout several European countries such as the United Kingdom and Germany, as well as Australia and the western U.S.  Numerous books and cookbooks have been published on the topic, and in larger cities, more than a few restaurants have jumped onto the raw food bandwagon.


Significant weight loss is possible by eating a diet that is comprised mostly of living or raw foods.  


The raw food approach is based on eating whole, living, nutritionally dense organic, uncooked, unprocessed foods – approximately 75 percent or more of your diet to be exact.  By eating such a diet, you reap the rewards of eliminating toxins, energizing your body, and ultimately losing weight.

Program Overview

Raw food proponents insist that cooking food destroys important enzymes needed in the digestion and absorption of foods.  Cooking food is believed to diminish its nutritional value, as well as its life force.  Instead, a diet of mostly living or raw foods is advocated.

Participants of a raw food diet focus on eating unprocessed and uncooked plant foods.  Typically, at least 75 percent should come from living or raw sources.  Primary foods ingested on this diet include lots of fresh fruits, vegetables, sprouts, seeds, nuts, grains, beans, dried fruit, legumes, and seaweed.  Vegetable and fruit juices are also encouraged, as they are considered an effective way of absorbing nutrients into the body.  

Most followers of this approach tend to be vegetarian and do not eat animal-based products such as meat or dairy.  However, some followers do include raw, organic animal products such as free-range organic chicken, sashimi (raw fish), meat (carpaccio), and organic eggs and yogurt.  Foods and drinks that are considered taboo include almost all other meat, fish and dairy products, as well as distilled liquors, caffeine, and refined sugars.  

While the primary tenant behind the raw food diet is that food should not be heated above 116- 118 degrees Fahrenheit, some other forms of “cooking” techniques are permitted.  Juicing, blending, soaking, and dehydrating foods to make foods more palpable is allowed.  

Plan Strengths

Compared to the typical Western diet, the raw food diet contains fewer trans and saturated fats.  It is also lower in sodium and higher in potassium, magnesium, folate, and fiber.  One study in the Journal of Nutrition also found that the consumption of a raw foods diet assisted in lowering total cholesterol and triglyceride concentrations.

Advocates of raw food diets believe the health benefits of this approach are numerous.  For those proponents, the diet has brought increased energy, improved skin appearance, and digestion, reduced risk of heart disease, the elimination of unwanted toxins, and weight loss.  

Additional one comprehensive study, which reviewed over 50 existing medical studies of raw versus cooked food diets found that eating a diet loaded with raw vegetables was instrumental in reducing the risk of oral, pharyngeal, laryngeal, esophageal, and gastric cancers.  

Plan Weaknesses

This is not an easy program for many people to follow.  It does take a lot of time, energy and commitment in terms of having to prepare many of the foods.  Depending on where participants live, some allowed ingredients might be difficult to find and the seasonality of fresh produce may also impact diet variety.  Cost may also be prohibitive for some participants as organic and fresh foods tend to be more expensive.

The American Dietetic Association (ADA) has also challenged the program’s assertion that cooking foods above 116-118 degrees Fahrenheit kills enzymes.  The organization insists that the body, not what goes into it, is what produces the enzymes necessary for digestion.  Furthermore, by not cooking food above the 118 degrees Fahrenheit mark, participants may potentially open themselves up to harmful, food-borne bacteria found in some foods.

Mild headaches, digestive problems, dizziness, nausea, and food cravings often occur and sometimes last for several days if not weeks.  Additionally, for individuals coming off a richer diet, a detox reaction when first starting the program may prove severe.  The raw food diet is not appropriate for all people.  Children, pregnant and nursing women, people with anemia, and people at risk for osteoporosis are also discouraged from undertaking the plan. 

Certain nutritional deficiencies are likely to occur on a diet that is predominately comprised of raw, unprocessed foods.  Participants often struggle with calcium, iron, vitamin B12 and D, and protein deficiencies when staying on the diet for an extended period.   

One Washington University study also found that participants following a raw food diet were prone to lower bone mass.  However, a more positive finding that overall bone quality was good was promising.  


The verdict is mixed on whether the raw diet is truly a healthy long-term approach to a healthier lifestyle. It truly depends on whom you talk to! Advocates are passionate and committed to the approach, while some experts advise caution in staying on such a program long-term.

While there is strong evidence to suggest it has some very significant and notable health benefits, the practicality and feasibility of being able to sustain such a diet are questionable.  No doubt, a diet rich in fresh vegetables and fruits will prove beneficial, but given the deficiency in protein and other essential vitamins and nutrients associated with this approach, it may not provide participants with the best-balanced approach to weight loss.   

The information provided here is for educational or informational purposes only.  Dave DePew does not endorse any of the programs/services reviewed here. Before starting a new exercise regime or weight loss plan, talk with your doctor.

Additional Resources

The Best of Raw Food, 

Raw Food Life,

Raw guru, www.rawguru.comRaw Food Diet Review, WebMD,

Gluten Free Diet


The Gluten-Free Diet did not start out as a weight loss plan, but a diet followed the approximately one percent of people who suffer from celiac disease.  Some “experts” believe that a gluten-free diet may assist people with losing weight, and have even convinced some celebrities like Oprah and Gwyneth Paltrow to try a gluten-free detox diet.  There is no data however to support claims a gluten-free diet can lead to weight loss.


Eliminating gluten from a diet will assist those who suffer from the symptoms of celiac disease.  


Gluten damages the small intestine and impairs its ability to absorb nutrients.  

Program Overview

The Gluten-Free Diet is straightforward.  Avoid eating any grains that contain gluten. Gluten is a protein naturally found in a number of starches, most notably wheat, barley, rye, triticale, and spelt.  Additionally, some food additives, health and beauty products (lipstick and toothpaste), and medications contain gluten.  For beer lovers, this means no more indulgence in your beverage of choice, unless, of course, it is a gluten-free beer.

Gluten-free choices include corn, rice, potatoes, soybeans, amaranth, buckwheat, quinoa, flax, buckwheat, and wild rice.   Most fruits, vegetables, meats, fish, and dairy products are free of gluten as well.

Plan Strengths

If you medically need to avoid gluten, then this is a very good diet for you.  If followed correctly, it can be a healthy way of eating. Fortunately, as demand for gluten-free products has grown, more and more manufacturers are churning out products, which means a wide variety of choices.   

Two small studies suggest a gluten-free diet may have a slight effect on reducing the symptoms associated with autism.

Plan Weaknesses

This plan is not designed for mainstream dieters.  In fact, it isn’t even promoted as a series diet program.  Unless you suffer from celiac disease, you really have little need to follow this plan.  

While there are many foods marketed as gluten-free, they are unfortunately often lacking in fortified vitamins and minerals, and other important nutrients.  As many also contain added fat and sugar to improve the taste, the extra calories will likely do little for you in the area of weight loss.  

This is not a program you can pick up and start tomorrow.  People who follow this diet will tell you that you must be well-informed and research all products thoroughly.  Even for the most informed gluten-free diet follower, sifting through an ingredients list and identifying the “hidden” gluten can be frustrating.

There are no studies supporting the premise that a gluten-free diet leads to weight loss.  In fact, in some situations, people who follow a glue-free diet have actually gained weight because many of the gluten-free products are loaded with extra fat and/or sugar to make them more palatable to the taste buds.


For people suffering from celiac disease, following a gluten-free diet makes sense.  However, with no research to back up claims, it is an effective weight loss program, this fad diet should receive nothing more than a passing glance if that.

The information provided here is for educational or informational purposes only.  Dave DePew does not endorse any of the programs/services reviewed here.  

Additional Resources

Gluten-Free Diet: a Cure for Some, a Fad for Most, U.S. News 

Do Gluten-Free Diets Take Off Pounds? 

The G-Free Diet, WebMD

Cookie Diet


In 1975, Dr. Sanford Siegal, a Miami obesity physician, developed a cookie formula for his patients who were struggling to lose weight.  The meal replacement approach gained mainstream popularity over the decades, and today more than 500,000 people have used Siegal’s Cookie Diet.  

Other cookie diet programs have sprung up in recent years as well including the Hollywood Cookie Diet and the Smart for Life Diet.  Most of the diets are similar, though each claim to have the best proprietary cookie formula around, guaranteed to help you lose 10 to 15 pounds in a month.


You can lose weight and not be hungry while enjoying convenient pre-packaged cookies.


The cookie diet is simply another variation of a meal replacement approach to weight loss, which severely restricts caloric intake levels.

Program Overview

All of the Cookie Diet programs generally follow a similar approach.  Eat one of their pre-packaged cookies for breakfast, lunch, and snacks, and then eat a sensible dinner.  The cookies, loaded with fiber, protein, and other ingredients have a low glycaemic index, and therefore break down more slowly in the bloodstream.  The benefit to participants is that they feel fuller longer.  

On average, most participants will eat between 4 to 6 appetite-curbing cookies during the day.  Most programs offer a variety of flavors and participants simply pick out one of the many flavored cookies that they want to eat for breakfast, lunch, and snacks.  Participants are on their own for dinner and are expected to eat a “sensible” or “reasonable” meal.  For most, that will include a 4 to 6-ounce serving of some type of lean vegetable and a serving of fresh or steamed veggies.  

Participants are also encouraged to drink eight glasses of water, or non-calorie coffee and tea each day.  Alcohol, sweets, fruits, and dairy are generally not allowed.

The cookies account for about 500 of your daily calories, and dinner could range anywhere from 300 to 700 calories, depending on that program’s specific guidelines.  That means participants have a daily total caloric intake of between 800 and 1,200 calories.

Plan Strengths

The Cookie Diet is a calorie-restrictive diet, and typically, participants who follow a calorie restrictive plan will lose weight.  Individuals concerned about taking drugs or harmful substances to lose weight may also appreciate the diet, as there are no harmful weight loss drugs or ingredients found in the cookies of the programs discussed.  (Although there have been some reports of programs encouraging the use of weight loss supplements to be used in conjunction with the cookies.

For many who struggle over what to eat at mealtime, the Cookie Diet provides a simple and stress-free option for eating, allowing many participants to feel in control.  Another benefit is that the cookies are highly portable.  You can easily take them anywhere and store them in your purse or briefcase, as they do not require refrigeration.  

Individuals that have found meal replacement diets to be effective may find success with the Cookie Diet as well.

Plan Weaknesses

Participants who rely on these cookies, and follow such a low-calorie diet, may find that they become deficient in important vitamins and minerals.  The plan does not allow for sufficient servings of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.  If you’re lucky, you may get one serving of vegetables a day!  Therefore, it is essential that participants regularly take a multivitamin.  

Cookie Diet programs that advocate a daily intake of only 800 calories are dangerous, falling well below the recommended level for safe and effective weight loss.  If a Cookie Diet plan restricts calorie intake to this extent, it is imperative that the participant follow such a program only under the careful medical approval and supervision of a doctor.  

Besides the possible boredom factor associated with eating cookies every day of the week for months on end, the program lacks one very important component, and that is a transitional plan.  Cookie Diets do not provide a plan for participants that want to transition from the diet to make a life-long lifestyle change to healthier eating.   Additionally, these plans tend to lack any specific exercise or physical activity element, essential to any long-term health and fitness plan.  Sure, a few plans encourage physical activity but provide no specific guidelines in terms of how long and what type of activity is recommended.

Finally, the cost of the program may be prohibitive for many.  While the Hollywood Cookie Diet sells a box of 12 cookies for $19.99 (that’s basically two days’ worth of cookies), Dr. Siegal’s cookies cost approximately $56 for a one-week supply. Smart for Life offers a two-week program for $129.  If you need to eat 4 to 6 cookies a day, you can easily do the math and figure out you are spending big money for cookies that many people claim aren’t even that tasty.


Replacement meal programs like the Cookie Diet may be helpful for those who struggle to make wise food decisions and who are looking for a quick and convenient way to jump-start weight loss.  In that respect, the Cookie Diets may prove beneficial as a short-term approach for some people.  However, even the father of the Cookie Diets, Dr. Siegal, on his website is quick to point out that the weight loss people experience isn’t a result of eating cookies.  Instead, it’s a consequence of adhering to a reduced-calorie diet.  With that said, the question then becomes, do you really need to buy expensive cookies to achieve this goal, or would you be better served to reduce your caloric intake by following a sensible meal plan and simply increasing your physical activity level?

The information provided here is for educational or informational purposes only.  Dave DePew does not endorse any of the programs/services reviewed here. Before starting a new exercise regime or weight loss plan, talk with your doctor.

Additional Resources

Dr. Siegal’s Cookie Diet 

The Hollywood Cookie Diet 

Smart for Life Cookie Diet

Exploring the Cookie Diet:  Is the Latest Craze from Thyroid Doctor Sanford Siegal a Weight Loss Miracle? By Mary Shomon

WebMD:  The Cookie Diet