My Not the Cambridge Diet

So I’m investigating the science behind the Cambridge diet and inventing my own version which is not based on me being sold vast quantities of miracle food in a cup. Then I’m going to base the summer around this & see how it goes. I’m not promising anything, but it can’t hurt to try. That and I can’t stand counting calories, syns and god know what else.

Before we went away, I was 86.9kg and convincing myself that I was fine with it (yeah, I’m not). In two weeks of reducing down the carbs and general size of meals (mainly due to the heat!) I’ve dropped to 85.5kg this morning after the long flight home. I’m at a stage where I’m ready to do something properly to drop the rest before I start the new school term.

This means I’m at a BMI of 27.9 (down from 28.4). To dip into the ‘healthy’ range of under 25, that number on the scales should read 76kg or lower. That’s 1st 7lbs (See? Imperial looks way easier than 9.5 kilos!).

The Cambridge diet works on the basis of reducing carbs, ingesting protein based liquid foods and massive calorie restriction in order to put the body into a starvation state of ketosis which means that it will turn to the body’s fat reserves to keep running. I’m going to be blunt. It’s a crash diet. It flies in the face of all standard information about slow weight loss and regular eating. It’s probably not that healthy, but then neither is walking around being twice the woman I want to be.

There are a number of phases of the diet which starts off at the extreme end and gradually adds in more ‘real’ food until you are eating ‘normally’ but with a reduced stomach capacity and an understanding of your actual eating habits (eg. Why you snack or eat until you hurt).

I’m still not totally convinced.

The phases are:

Sole Source: 3-4 Cambridge Diet meal products. 415-554 cals a day (1 week minimum, 12 weeks maximum) – only advised of you are clinically obese (I am clinically ‘overweight’ by 9 kilos, so no fortnight of crying from total starvation for me!)

Sole Source +: 3 Cambridge Diet meal products plus 200ml of skimmed milk. 615 cals a day – only advised of you are clinically obese

Step 2: 2 Cambridge Diet meal products plus protein-rich foods, skimmed milk and some vegetables. 810 calories a day. (1 week minimum) – this is where I’m starting

Step 3: 2 Cambridge Diet meal products plus skimmed milk, breakfast, salads for lunch and dinner. 1000 calories (2 weeks)

Step 4: 2 Cambridge Diet meal products plus skimmed milk, breakfast, lunch and dinner (2 weeks)

Step 5: 1 Cambridge Diet meal product plus skimmed milk, breakfast, lunch, dinner and snack (2 weeks)

Maintenance: A healthy diet plus your choice of Cambridge Diet products. (Indefinitely)

Ok, so what’s so special about these particular food supplements? (More so, I am not visiting my own personal food salesperson – it seems way to much like a drug pusher for me!). Well, the calories are set, there are additional vitamins to help keep you alive and there’s no faffing with portions, cooking or weighing.

So the nutritional information of one of these Cambridge shakes is:

1 sachet + 230 ml water (+ ice if you’re turning it into a frappe)
Prices are estimated at £2.10 per ‘meal’ (but you have to sign up to the £44.10 per week price)

Main ingredients: soya protein & skimmed milk

146 kcal
14.1g protein
14.4g carbs
2.9g fat
3.3g fibre

Random vitamins & minerals

USN Diet Fuel low GI Shake
(1kg tub – we reckon around 20 servings…)
If we’re right on servings, that’s £1.40 per ‘meal’, although buying at 1kg costs £28 in Tesco

2 scoops + 250ml water + 10 ice cubes

Main ingredients: whey protein & soya protein

193 kcal
25g protein
16g carbs
2g fat
5g fibre

Random vitamins & minerals

With the higher protein content, no ‘diet consultant’, and no financial tie in, albeit slightly higher calories, I’ve opted for the low GI shakes. And it turns out I can’t actually stomach a whole one anyway – so instead I’m going for 3-4 half portions throughout the day with extra water in between as they’re really flipping filling! I’m then combining that with the usual evening meal which I won’t be counting calories on, just eating generally healthy food.

I’ve not included Slimfast in this as after seeing the 30g of carbs which are all pure sugar, I’ve disregarded them completely. That’s more sugar per serving than Cola!

Wish me luck!

4 thoughts on “My Not the Cambridge Diet

  1. Cutting out carbs and sugars and moving more is how I’ve been able to lose my 23 lbs so far (maybe more as I haven’t weighed myself in over a week but have been doing some intense workouts). There is nothing “crash diet” about cutting carbs for me. I see it as a life time thing for me and have no problem never eating again or severely reducing my bread and pasta intake.

    I’ve tried meal replacement shakes and they all taste like ass. “Frosty Chocolate” my foot! They are gross. I do notice that I’m eating more fruits and vegetables now since I can’t snack on cookies, sweets or any kind of bread product.


  2. I went low-carb last September, and dropped around 40 lbs. I don’t own a scale, so can’t be certain, but it feels to me like about a 40 lb. loss. A couple of months ago I upped my carb intake a bit, but for 6 months I kept them to around 20 g per day. I wouldn’t call it a crash diet, as the weight comes off gradually. You tend to see a larger loss in the first week due to the water retention coming off quickly. However, I have a history of diabetes in my family, so it’s just smart for me to reduce my carb intake. I have a hard time staying away from ice cold beer in the summer though! Also, I haven’t had even one low blood sugar incident since I began eating this way. 🙂 I am including a link with some basic info which I found quite helpful, in case you’re interested. Good luck!!


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