What is the Cambridge Diet?

Key Summary: Cambridge Diet aka Cambridge Weight Plan is an extreme diet, in which people try to lose weight quickly by consuming a very small limited number of calories.

When one is trying to lose weight, there are millions of diets they are advised to follow. One such diet is the Cambridge Diet. It is an extreme diet, in which people try to lose weight by forcing the body into a state of ‘ketosis’, similar to other diets such as the Ketogenic Diet. The idea behind this is to deprive the body of the number of calorie that it usually requires in a day to function normally. If the body cannot access consumed calories then it is forced to turn to the fat deposits and burn them for energy instead. Hence, the Cambridge Diet is considered a type of VLCD plan, i.e. very low calorie diet.

The diet was developed by Dr. Alan Howard at Cambridge University, England; hence, the name, Cambridge Diet. The diet was developed in 1970, and is still quite popular today. Many people tout its benefits and swear by the weight that they lost thorough it. In fact, the diet is now available in more than 35 countries worldwide. The name of the diet however was changed to Cambridge Weight Plan in January 2010. 

For the diet, one can choose a daily calorie consumption limit between 415 to 1500 calories, depending on their weight loss goals, gender, and tolerance. This is all the calories that they are allowed to consume.

Furthermore, these calories must be consumed in the manner of products that can be purchased from the developers of the diet. These products, which usually come in the form of protein shakes, soups and nutritional bars, are intended to be meal replacements. They cannot be purchased through a store on online, and can only be purchased from a Cambridge Weight Plan consultant.

The diet can be dangerous if not followed through properly. The main reason for this is the fact that the body does not get the adequate amount of nutrition it requires to function on a normal basis. Hence, the diet can only be followed under a Cambridge Weight Plan consultant, who will monitor the dieter, ensure they don’t suffer from nutrition deficit or any side effects. The diet cannot be followed independently, as the food one is allowed to eat can only be purchased from the consultant.

The diet has six different plans that the person can follow. The consultant will talk with the diet, measure them, take their weight and weight loss goals into consideration before suggesting which plan they should follow. In the later stage of the diet, the dieter can also incorporate regular meals to the pre-packaged meal replacements. The consultant can recommended the recipes and limitations.

Additionally, these types of VLCD plans are often criticized for being get skinny quick schemes. In these plans, a person does lose weight and loses it quickly, primarily because the dieter does not consume enough calories. However, when the dieter stops following the diet and starts eating enough calories, they tend to regain all the weight they succeeded in losing. The Cambridge Weight Plan addresses this by following a 7 step transition to introducing normal food back into the regime.


Cambridge Diet

Renamed to

Cambridge Weight Plan

Type of

Diet Plan

Type of Diet

VLCD, i.e. very low calorie diet


Eat a very low limited number of calories to put the body in ketosis, i.e. to live off on body fat

Daily Calorie Consumption

415 calories a day to more than 1500


3 times a day

Food allowed

Nutritional bars, soups and shakes purchased directly from the company

Food purchased from

Cambridge Weight Plan Consultant

Reference: Wikipedia, Cambridge Weight Plan, Diets in Review, Marie Claire, WebMD
Image Courtesy: cambridgeweightplan.com

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