The Cambridge Diet

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The Cambridge Diet is a weight management programme ranging from 440 to 1500 kcal/day. It is manufactured in the UK.

The Cambridge Diet was rebranded as Cambridge Weight Plan in January 2010. The diet is available in more than 35 countries around the world. It is not affiliated to the US version of the diet - Cambridge Original and Cambridge Food for Life.

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.[1] It later came under scrutiny from regulators and health authorities after potential health concerns were raised.[2] 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)[3]


The core of the Diet in the UK is a very-low-calorie diet (VLCD), as low as 440 calories/day, combined with minerals, vitamins and fatty acids to reduce the loss of nutrients typical of low calorie restriction.

The diet formula is intended to imitate the weight loss properties of starvation, while providing enough protein to protect lean tissue, the right level of carbohydrate to promote a mild ketosis and eliminate a sense of hunger, and the right levels of vitamins, minerals, trace elements and essential fatty acids to maintain good health. The meals are intended to combine all necessary food groups to satisfy a body’s nutritional needs, in order to allow a person to stop craving foods and overeating. Initially, the diet only makes use of meal replacement supplements in the form of porridges, shakes and soups. Gradually solid foods are introduced into the meal plan.

Linear Algebra can be applied to the Cambridge Diet to estimate the amount of each particular food group an individual needs to fulfill the diet restrictions. Using Linear Algebra methods, the amount of each nutrient required by the Cambridge Diet can be written as a scalar multiple of a vector, which produces a linear equation. A matrix can be formed using these linear equations, and desired serving suggestion for each food group can be calculated by augmenting these matrices with the daily requirements.[4]


  1. ^ "Dietician Describes Cambridge Diet as 'Wishful Thinking'". Los Angeles Times. 24 June 1982. Retrieved 18 February 2009. 
  2. ^ "Medical Researchers Urge Caution in Use of Cambridge Diet". The New York Times. 25 November 1983. Retrieved 18 February 2009. 
  3. ^ "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)". 
  4. ^ California State University Long Beach, Plascencia