Why The Cookie Diet Is So Concerning

If you're looking for a weight loss plan, you may have heard of the cookie diet. This eating plan draws consumers in with the promise of up to nine cookies per day as meal replacements. But there are some serious concerns about the diet, especially whether or not it sets an individual up for long-term weight loss success.

The cookie diet was developed by Dr. Sanford Siegal in 1975 to help his patients with maintaining a reduced-calorie diet, according to the company's website. The cookies are made with a proprietary blend of amino acid proteins which they claim helps control hunger. Aside from that, they are regular cookies, albeit reduced-calorie, that come in four flavors. Each cookie contains no more than 60 calories, according to Healthline.

To follow the diet, an individual eats nine cookies per day, along with a healthy dinner of lean protein and vegetables. The diet requires small "meals" on a frequent basis — every one to two hours — to stave off hunger. Because of the calorie restriction, people who follow the cookie diet generally do lose weight, but whether it is sustainable and a healthy way to lose weight is questionable.

Important elements of successful weight loss are overlooked

No studies have been conducted on the health, safety, or efficacy of the cookie diet, so it is not supported by science. One major downside is that it is extremely restrictive, and could limit you from getting all the nutrients needed for a healthy body. To combat this criticism, the makers of the cookie diet recommend taking a multi-vitamin every day.

The diet also overlooks exercise. Though Siegel suggests moderate exercise, like walking, he warns against anything more challenging since the body isn't getting enough calories to provide for it (via U.S. News & World Report). The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends about 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise, or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity, to maintain a healthy weight. More than this amount is suggested for weight loss.

Overall, the cookie diet doesn't address the long-term changes need to your diet that help with weight loss or healthy living in general. Adopting healthy habits and avoiding a "diet" mentality are keys to maintaining a healthy weight for life (via the Cleveland Clinic).