Nearly 40 years ago, the Cambridge weight loss plan was considered revolutionary. Fast forward to 2016 and it is now available in 35 countries worldwide.
Devised by Dr Alan Howard at Cambridge University in 1970, the Cambridge diet entails buying low carb weight loss products in the form of soups, shakes and bars from the company and adhering to a strict programme of 415 -1500 calories per day for 12 weeks, with a week of solid food before the next 12 week regime.
It is not a cheap diet (starting at around £200 per month for products) but no one disputes it achieves impressive weight loss results for those who can stick to it.
However a quick internet search and you will find countless Cambridge dieters (when not complaining about hunger and other side effects), complaining about hair loss and seeking advice. Many cease the diet as a result. The Cambridge Diet’s own website Q&A page responds: ‘Hair loss as a generalised thinning of the hair across the head can be associated with weight loss. The thinning can occur during and sometimes after the weight loss phase. Weight loss is not the only reason for hair thinning and we would therefore recommend you seek medical advice from your GP if you are concerned.’
The CD was particularly popular in US but became the subject of some controversy, and latterly, scrutiny from regulators and health authorities after potential health concerns were raised, particularly relating to the physical effects of such a low calorie intake. In 1986 the Diet was reformulated to adhere to recommendations made by the Commission on Medical Aspects.
However side-effects remain common and it is recommended that dieters not follow any low-calorie diet (including CD) without medical supervision. If you notice any undesirable side-effects, report them to your GP immediately and also to the company whose weight loss plan you are following as they need your feedback if there is a problem with their products/instructions.
Finally, perhaps think about trying a different diet until you find the one that’s right for you – minus all side effects except the one that you want! Though this may need backing up with regular exercise and other healthy habits – as we are no longer so naive as to suppose that a diet alone will make us slim and toned as people were back in the day when the CD was devised.