The Cambridge Diet

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The Cambridge Diet is a diet in which 600 to 1500 kcal are consumed per day, principally in liquids made from commercial products sold as part of the diet regime.[1][2] These products are manufactured in the UK and include shakes, meal replacement bars, soups and smoothies.

The diet does not help people achieve lasting weight loss and carries a number of health risks.[2]

Development and Reception[edit]

The Cambridge Diet was developed in 1970 by Dr. Alan Howard at Cambridge University, England. It was launched as a commercial product in the United States in 1980. The Diet was very popular in America but was also the subject of some controversy.[3] It later came under scrutiny from regulators and health authorities after potential health concerns were raised.[4] In the UK, the Cambridge Diet was launched in 1984. In 1986 the Diet was reformulated to adhere to recommendations made by the Commission on Medical Aspects (COMA)[5]

The Cambridge Diet is categorized as a very-low-calorie diet, starting as low as 415 calories/day, and as a fad diet.[2][1]

Although people taking the diet lose weight at first, the weight loss is not sustainiable.[2] The British Dietetic Association list the possible adverse side effects as including "bad breath, a dry mouth, tiredness, dizziness, insomnia, nausea and constipation", and say that any person eating fewer than 600 kcal per day should be medically supervised.[2]


  1. ^ a b Porcello LA (1984). "A practical guide to fad diets". Clin Sports Med. 3 (3): 723–9. PMID 6571242. 
  2. ^ a b c d e British Dietetic Association (14 December 2014). "Top diets review for 2016". NHS Choices. 
  3. ^ "Dietician Describes Cambridge Diet as 'Wishful Thinking'". Los Angeles Times. 24 June 1982. Retrieved 18 February 2009. 
  4. ^ "Medical Researchers Urge Caution in Use of Cambridge Diet". The New York Times. 25 November 1983. Retrieved 18 February 2009. 
  5. ^ "Report on Health and Social Scientific Co-Operation No 31. The Use of Very Low Calorie Diets in Obesity. Committee in Medical Aspects of Food Policy (COMA) DHSS 1987 (HMSO)".