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