Updated: 01/12/2018
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The Cambridge Diet offers a ton of benefits, so we jumped right into the ingredients and specific details of the weight-loss system. We noticed some documented research on the potential health risks and side effects of a diet like this. Our research team then marched straight into the scientific studies to determine whether the talk of ineffectiveness and adverse effects were unjust – or something we should seriously consider. Finally, we picked out the most useful information from our findings to bring you the truth about The Cambridge Diet.

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Overview

What is The Cambridge Diet?

Despite the fact that many experts believe this to be a “fad diet” we still felt the need to give this program a fair chance.

The Cambridge Diet is a weight-loss plan involving “flexible” programs that claim to work for both men and women. It offers pre-packaged meals, weight-loss counseling, and low-calorie food suggestions.

Similar to the Ketogenic Diet, this program is a VLCD (very-low-calorie diet) only allowing users to take in 450 kcal to 1500+ kcal calories per day. The plan claims that dieters can lose up to 14 pounds a month- that’s about 3.5 pounds per week.

Some of the ingredients in the pre-packaged foods include:

  • Skimmed Milk Powder
  • Maltodextrin
  • Guar Gum
  • Refined Fractionated Palm Oil
  • Acesulfame K
  • Sucralose
  • Carrageenan
  • Dried Glucose Syrup
  • Silicon Dioxide
  • Oligofructose

This diet was developed in 1970 by Doctor Alan Howard at Cambridge University, England. It offers customers a chance to lose weight quickly and maintain that weight loss with products like meal replacement shakes, soups, rice, nutrition bars, treats, and more. All of the pre-packaged food items claim to be very low in calories and, “contain the vitamins and minerals you need for balanced nutrition and healthy weight loss.”

The Cambridge Diet plan uses a balanced level of protein and carbohydrates to induce a “mild ketosis.” Ketosis is a normal metabolic process that happens when a low number of grams of carbohydrates are eaten. The body switches from burning carbs to burning fat for fuel. Eating under 50 grams of carbohydrates, for most people, will result in ketosis. Being in ketosis can suppress the appetite and reduce cravings as well. Although this can be a good strategy for weight loss, having excessive ketones in the bloodstream can lead to ketoacidosis, which is dangerous.

According to WebMD, “Ketoacidosis is what happens when ketosis goes too far. Ketones build up in your blood, and they become acidic. Ketoacidosis can cause a coma or death.”[1] So, how do we recognize ketosis vs ketoacidosis? Some signs of ketosis include:

  • Bad breath
  • Suppressed appetite
  • Increased energy and mental clarity
  • Mild fatigue

Ketosis is generally safe for healthy adults. Ketoacidosis is not healthy, however. Some signs include:[1]

  • Dry mouth
  • Excessive urination
  • Dry or flushed skin
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Fruity-smelling breath
Directions

Steps

This program requires you to follow their “steps to success.” These steps are designed to help you lose weight and keep it off. The plan includes working directly with a Cambridge Diet Consultant, who will guide users through the steps including preparation, weight loss goals, and long-term weight loss management. The “Independent Consultants” are people who have successfully used the Cambridge Diet to lose weight. Consultants help others choose and prepare for the right Cambridge Diet, provide guidance, support, understanding, and motivation. This guidance is one-on-one, as opposed to being in a group setting.

cambridge diet plan steps

  • Step 1, Sole Source Step: During this step, only Cambridge Diet foods and liquids are eaten. There are 2 steps to choose from here, Step 1A and Step 1B. Approved fluids can include water, coffee, and tea including black, green, herbal and fruit flavors.
    • Step 1A: Women under 5’8″ eat 3 Cambridge Diet food products and drink 4 pints of approved fluids, daily. Women over 5’8″ and all men eat 4 Cambridge Diet food products and drink 4 pints of approved fluids, daily.
    • Step 1B: 4 Cambridge Diet food products and 4 pints of approved fluids, daily.
  • Step 2: This stage mixes everyday foods with Cambridge Diet foods. Daily meals include 3 Cambridge Diet foods plus one 200kcal meal. Four pints of fluids are consumed. The fluids may include coffee, tea, Cambridge Water Flavors, occasional diet drinks, or a ready-to-drink shake.
  • Step 3: This allows for 2 of the Cambridge prepackaged meals, 150 calories for breakfast, a salad for lunch, 400 calories at dinner, and 200ml skimmed milk, and 4 pints of approved liquids.
  • Step 4: Stage 4 calls for 2 Cambridge prepackaged meals, 200 calories at breakfast, a salad for lunch, 400 calories for dinner, 300ml skimmed milk, a 100 calorie “bonus” and 4 pints of approved liquids.
  • Step 5: Stage 5 requires 1 prepackaged meal, 200 calories for breakfast, 400 calories for lunch, 500 calories for dinner, 300ml skimmed milk, a “bonus” 100 calorie item, and 4 pints of approved liquids.
  • Step 6: Now that you’ve reached your weight-loss goals, this stage is designed to help you maintain it for life. They tell you to eat a healthy diet of around 1500 (or more) calories per day and keep active. It is also suggested that people who include 1 Cambridge Diet prepackaged food daily stay more successful at maintaining weight goals.

These stages are meant to cater to all sorts of different weight-loss goals. These goals can be discussed with your assigned counselor who will guide you “through your weight loss journey” and prepare you for the program. The only problem is that very few customer reviews indicate this diet to be effective, and a much greater number of experts keep shutting it down. Let’s dig even deeper…

Ingredients

The Cambridge Diet Ingredients

We’re a little more familiar with the program now and we took a glance at the steps involved, but now we want to turn to the ingredients. Do they lead to any weight loss? Are they healthy? Do they have any benefits at all?

Skimmed Milk Powder

While skimmed milk is thought to be packed with vitamins, minerals, protein, amino acids, and carbs (lactose) [2] there is conflicting information out there.

Some say that skimmed milk is nothing more than a “sales tactic” used to push products. According to the Healthy Home Economist, “with Americans abandoning whole milk due to its high saturated fat content, skim milk was touted as the new heart-healthy food. Americans bought the scam hook, line, and sinker. Skim milk was the new king of the dairy aisle. This behavior pattern has continued for decades despite the average American getting fatter and fatter and the cases of heart disease showing no signs of abating.” [3]

Maltodextrin

This food additive is made from starch and can be used in beer brewing to increase the “gravity,” or it can be found in food as a filler or sweetener. {cite url= https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maltodextrin]

Maltodextrin is highly processed and can be considered a metabolism death food because it lacks nutritional value. It can spike blood sugar, suppress the growth of probiotics, and cause allergic reactions as well as other side effects. [4]

PLoS One published a study on this ingredient concluding, “consumption of processed foods containing the polysaccharide MDX contributes to suppression of intestinal anti-microbial defense mechanisms and may be an environmental priming factor for the development of chronic, inflammatory disease.” [5]

Controversy surrounds this ingredient because it’s made from corn starch. Ninety percent of corn starch is genetically modified. [6]

Guar Gum

This food filler is a fiber from the seed of the guar plant. It’s used as a laxative and as an additive in food and beverages. According to WebMD, guar gum “might help decrease the amount of cholesterol and glucose that is absorbed in the stomach and intestines.” [7]

Livestrong.com writes, “Because guar gum is a type of soluble fiber, it offers the benefits and side effects associated with fiber… consuming too much fiber causes gastrointestinal problems.” [8]

Guar gum may help with achieving the feeling of “fullness,” but can cause some pretty uncomfortable side effects that we’ll circle back to in a bit.

Acesulfame K

Acesulfame potassium is a calorie-free substitute for sugar that’s 200 times sweeter than sucralose. [9]

Because it’s an artificial sweetener, it’s also surrounded by some controversy. [10] [11]

Carrageenan

Carrageenan is another additive used to thicken foods. If you guessed that there’s some controversy behind this ingredient – you are correct. Going all the way back to the 1960’s, carrageenan has been thought to cause inflammation and gastrointestinal ulcerations, as well as damage to the digestive system. [12]

Environmental Health Perspectives published a review showing the harmful gastrointestinal effects of carrageenan. They concluded, “because of the acknowledged carcinogenic properties of degraded carrageenan in animal models and the cancer-promoting effects of undegraded carrageenan in experimental models, the widespread use of carrageenan in the Western diet should be reconsidered.” [13]

Products

The Cambridge Diet Products

Each step of the Cambridge Diet includes eating some of the “delicious tasting low-calorie formula food products.”[14]

Spicy Couscous: This product combines couscous, wheat protein, and seasonings.

cambridge diet spicy couscous

Bars: Flavors include toffee, chocolate, chocolate orange, cranberry, chocolate mint, strawberry and apple, peanut, lemon.

Pre-mixed, Ready to Drink products include 3 flavors: Banana Bliss, Chocolate Velvet, Strawberry Silk.

Yogurt Smoothies in a variety of flavors: Cherry & Strawberry, and Black Current & Apple

cambridge diet smoothie

Shakes and Soups- Shake flavors include:

  • Banana
  • Chocolate
  • Chocolate Mint
  • Fruits of the Forest
  • Key Lime Pie
  • Strawberry
  • Toffee and Walnut
  • Vanilla
  • Chocolate Orange
  • Cappuccino

cambridge diet soup

Soup flavors include:

  • Chicken and Mushroom
  • Oriental Chili
  • Vegetable
  • Mushroom
  • Leek and Potato
  • Tomato and Basil

Pasta comes in two flavors: Spaghetti Bolognese and Macaroni Cheese.

cambridge diet pasta

Savoury Rice can be purchased in Thai Green Style Curry and Chicken Tikka Style Curry flavors.

Porridge choices include Original, Apple & Cinnamon, Maple & Pecan.

cambridge diet porridge

Dessert on the Cambridge Diet Plan is Vanilla Rice Pudding

The Cambridge Diet also includes Extras, such as

  • Bonus Bars
  • Mix a Mousse
  • Cambridge Fiber
  • Kitchen tools like shakers, whisks, and bags
  • Water flavorings, in Vegetable, Orange, Lemon-Lime, Elderflower, and Raspberry flavors

cambridge diet mix a mousse

Finally, you can even get “Eat Easy” prepared meals in different flavors such as Chicken Curry, Mediterranean Style Chicken, and Vegetable Chili.

cambridge diet eat easy meals

Side Effects

The Cambridge Diet Side Effects

Now is a good time to dive into the side effects and the controversy surrounding this diet. When you read over dozens of dieter reviews of this program, there seems to be one glaring side effect:

  • Hunger

Because of the extremely low-calorie intake, users are left just wanting more. In case you didn’t already know, that’s a bad sign.

The-Cambridge-Diet-side-effects

The Cambridge Diet website lists 13 common side effects and an explanation for each one. While this is incredibly helpful to customers, we would prefer a diet or supplement that didn’t need a breakdown of all the possible ways we’re going to feel like crap. Thanks, though.

At any rate, the side effects are as follows:

  • Bad breath
  • Cold feeling
  • Constipation
  • Leg cramps
  • Diarrhea
  • Hair loss
  • Headache
  • Negative effect on menstrual cycle
  • Nausea
  • Rash
  • Insomnia
  • Loose skin
  • Excessive thirst

According to the British Dietetic Association, many people on a very-low-calorie, restricted diet experience fast and dramatic weight loss at first. However, the side effects of such a diet outweigh the benefits. In this case, side effects can include:

  • Bad breath
  • Dry mouth
  • Tiredness
  • Dizziness
  • Insomnia
  • Nausea
  • Constipation

They go on to mention that the most difficult part of the plan is sticking to it. They write, “giving up normal meals and swapping them for a snack bar or a shake can be boring and feel socially isolating. This isn’t a plan you can stick to in the long-term.” [15]

Now that we know the potential side effects of the diet, let’s dig even deeper into the ingredients to see what additional issues may be lurking in the shadows.

Skimmed Milk

Let’s face it, skimmed milk is harmless for the most part. But there are some known side effects that not everyone seems to be aware of.

They include: [16]

  • Gas
  • Diarrhea
  • Abdominal bloating
  • Nausea
  • Abdominal pain

Maltodextrin

Side effects include: [17]

  • Allergic reactions
  • Unexplained weight gain
  • Bloating
  • Gas

Specific allergic reactions include:

  • Rash
  • Asthma
  • Itching
  • Difficulty breathing

Also, maltodextrin from wheat can pose health concerns for those with celiac disease due to its gluten content.

Guar Gum

WebMD labels guar gum as possibly safe when consumed by mouth along with 8 ounces of liquid. The possible side effects include:

  • Increased gas
  • Diarrhea
  • Loose Stools

It’s important to note that WebMD warns that guar gum could affect blood glucose levels, writing that “there is a concern that it might interfere with blood glucose control during and after surgery. Stop taking guar gum at least 2 weeks before a scheduled surgery.” [7]

Carrageenan

This ingredient hosts its own list of negative side effects including: [18]

  • Inflammation
  • Bloating
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Glucose intolerance
  • Colon cancer
  • Food allergies

Is The Cambridge Diet a Fad?

Here’s a program that offers quick weight loss, weight management, healthy eating options, weight counseling, and a lot more. They claim that the diet works and, of course, that dieters are seeing results.

Well, none of that matters if the diet is a fad. A lot of experts and professionals think that it’s harmful to send your body into a state of ketosis. [19] In fact, most of them claim a specific list of side effects that seem eerily familiar to those we just listed above.

The Sidney Morning Herald wrote a piece on the diet, calling it “Australia’s dangerous new diet.” It wrote that a government regulator was trying to decide whether the diet should even be legally sold in Australia – saying “the diet is so low in nutrients it has been described as “dangerous” by a health professional, and it falls below recognized non-binding international standards for low-calorie diets.” [20]

Is It Safe?

Is the Cambridge Diet Safe?

The Cambridge diet is a very low calorie, low carbohydrate diet which creates a “mild ketosis” in the body. According to WebMD, [21] very-low-calorie diets may not be safe for everyone. People with a BMI (body mass index) of 30 and over are considered obese and should use a very low-calorie diet only with the supervision of their doctor. Overweight people, with a BMI of 27-30, should be careful about using very low-calorie diets if they have other medical issues. Nobody should follow a very low-calorie diet (under 1000 calories daily) for more than 12 weeks. Very low calories diets are not considered safe for:

  • Children
  • Teens
  • Pregnant or breastfeeding women
  • Seniors, especially those on medications

Some serious side effects of a very low-calorie diet include gallstones, lack of proper nutrition, and insufficient energy for daily tasks. While on the Cambridge diet, drinking alcohol is prohibited because it is high in calories while offering no nutrition. Diabetics should only follow the Cambridge diet under the supervision of a doctor so blood glucose levels can be monitored and properly maintained.

Exercise is encouraged while on the Cambridge Diet plan, except during Step 1, when calorie intake may not be sufficient for exercise other than gentle walking. The role of exercise in any weight loss plan is well known by now. All healthy lifestyles should include exercise.

Benefits

Cambridge Diet Benefits

Let’s look into some of the claimed benefits of the diet as well as any scientific research that might back it up.

The-Cambridge-Diet-benefits

According to the official website, the diet offers:

  • Delicious Meal Replacement Shakes
  • Only $1.38 To $1.71 Per Serving
  • Provides 100% Of Daily Nutrition
  • 420 To 440 Low Fat Calories Per Day
  • Flexible Diet to Fit Your Lifestyle
  • Choice of Soy or Lactose Based Products
  • Shakes Come In 27 Unique Flavors
  • Nutrition Bars Come In 4 Flavors
  • Nutricare Fruit and Tea Flavored Drinks

Now that the claimed benefits are out of the way, let’s look at the research out there on very low-calorie diets.

A meta-analysis on Obesity weighed low-calorie diets against very-low-calorie diets and didn’t see much of a difference. In fact, they concluded, “VLCDs did not produce greater long-term weight losses than LCDs.” [22]

Remember when we said the evidence was conflicting? Yeah, there’s a review by Obesity Research that says, “VLCD with active follow-up treatment seems to be one of the better treatment modalities related to long-term weight-maintenance success.” [23] However, that’s just a review and not a study.

With a VLCD you can expect to lose weight – fast. This isn’t the problem. The issue for us is the weight management because if you gain all your weight back, it isn’t much of a diet after all. Weight regain with VLCDs are said to be common. [24]

Does The Cambridge Diet Cause Weight Loss?

We’ll make this as simple as possible – yes. It will cause you to lose weight in the same way that eating a fistful of crackers each day will cause some weight loss. The idea is to lose weight fast and to maintain it through counseling, but experts say that the diet shouldn’t be followed for more than 12 weeks. [25]

The Daily Mail recently reported that “Loose Women” star, Martine McCutcheon, lost “a stone” (roughly 14 lbs) in 5 weeks by following the Cambridge Diet plan.[26] She reportedly lost 21 inches as well, despite the fact that weight loss diet plans have not worked for her in the past.

 

Cost

The Cambridge Diet Costs

The cost of using this diet is another concern among dieters. One week can set you back $64.53. That’s $285.04 per month – which is just ridiculous.

Let’s compare the cost of the Cambridge Diet with similar diets out there. According to the Cambridge Diet website, their plan will set you back about $64.53 per week. Weekly costs of other plans are as follows:

  • LighterLife: $96.72 per week
  • Slim-Fast: $91.65 per week
  • Diet Chef: $81.83 per week

The Cambridge Diet also claims to be cheaper than Weight Watchers, and that might be true depending on how many prepared meals you buy from Weight Watchers. However, Weight Watchers has a “support only” program which includes group support and recipes made from regular, non-packaged foods.

And as far as we could see, there is no money-back guarantee or discounts of any kind listed on the Cambridge website.

Where to Buy

Where to Buy the Cambridge Diet Products

Shoppers can purchase Cambridge Diet prepackaged foods from online retailers including Amazon, eBay, Bolt House Supplements and at the U.S. based website www.CambridgeDietUSA.com.

The Cambridge Diet Pros and Cons

Cambridge Diet Pros:

  • Fast, even dramatic, weight reduction when followed as outlined- up to 3.5 lbs per week
  • Slimmer look by the end of Step 5
  • Replacement meals are nutritionally balanced and include vitamins and minerals

Cambridge Diet Cons:

  • Medical experts feel this plan is not healthy
  • Low-calorie diets can burn muscle mass vs. fat stores
  • Plenty of side effects including bad breath, hair thinning/loss, nausea, dizziness, diarrhea
  • Meal replacements can be expensive

The Cambridge Diet Alternatives

Other very low-calorie diets include:

The Cambridge Diet vs Slimming World

The Cambridge diet and Slimming World share some similarities. Both eating plans were developed in the UK, and have been around for a good bit of time. Both offer group support and encourage exercise as part of long-term weight goal maintenance. That’s where the similarities end, though. The differences are:

  • Cambridge Diet relies on including their prepackaged foods; Slimming World has no required prepackaged foods
  • Cambridge diet is a strict, regulated diet plan; Slimming World offers many variations in food choices and diet plans
  • Cambridge Diet is low calorie, low carb; Slimming World users can choose from “Green Choice” (higher carbs, lower proteins) or “Original Choice” (veggie based, low carb)
  • Cambridge Diet focuses on eating prepackaged meals combined with very low-calorie foods; Slimming World focuses on eating “free foods” that are low in calories and adding higher calorie options as treats
  • Cambridge Diet promises 14 lbs of weight loss per month when followed correctly; Slimming World admits that “results may vary” depending on users food choices

The Cambridge Diet Developer

A biochemist at Cambridge University, Dr. Alan Howard, developed the Cambridge Diet during the 1970s, touting it as the “perfect diet.” In 1984, the Cambridge Diet became available in commercial form, and product manufacturing was relocated to Corby, United Kingdom. In 2014, the name of the diet was changed to “Cambridge Weight Plan Ltd” [27] and became a fully employee-owned company.

cambridge diet logo

What Users Are Saying

“Such a delicious and healthy product. I love adding fresh/frozen fruit to the vanilla shakes for my morning meal. I have reviewed these products with my doctor and nutritionist (I’m a diabetic), and they have given me their approval and blessing to use these.”

“I have been using Cambridge for one week, and I love it. But unfortunately, I received three damaged cans and lost most of the product.”

“The taste is quite pleasant, but after looking at the sugar content I’m not sure it’s something I would want to use often.”

Bottom Line

The Bottom Line – Does The Cambridge Diet Work?

So, have we seen enough to make a final decision here? Yes, we have. Do we think you should run out and start this diet immediately? We don’t think so. There are a few things to be said about the research behind a VLCD, but there are just too many negatives – not to mention conflicting evidence and talk of this diet being nothing more than a “fad.”

It also doesn’t seem like a diet that everyone can stick to. Of course, a diet is supposed to challenge us, but not to the point of quitting altogether.

What we didn’t like:

  • Much too expensive
  • Too many conflicting studies
  • There is no positive research showing long-term weight management

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The Cambridge Diet

Q:
Do I need to exercise on the Cambridge Diet?
A:

Although recommended, you don’t need to exercise on the Cambridge Diet. Adding fitness could possible improve weight-loss results.

Q:
Will I get bad breath from the Cambridge Diet?
A:

You may experience bad breath from the Cambridge Diet due to the development ketosis in your body from the eating plan.

Q:
How do I know if The Cambridge Diet is right for me?
A:

Choosing the right product is the #1 question asked by DietSpotlight readers. We recommend trying any product before buying it and know that finding a product with a sample offer is near impossible - so we created our own product, Burn HD, with scientifically backed ingredients.

Click here to get your sample of our powerful fat burner today.

Q:
Why do I feel cold on the Cambridge Diet?
A:

You feel cold on the Cambridge Diet due to the reduced caloric intake.

Q:
Does the Cambridge Diet come with a guarantee?
A:

There’s no information about a guarantee with the Cambridge Diet.

Q:
Do you know of any special deals or discounts for the Cambridge Diet?
A:

We didn’t see special deals or discounts on the Cambridge Diet. However, the last several months have been flying by, considering our readers have been taking advantage of Dietspotlight Burn’s Special Trial Offer. The offer is just the cost of shipping and handling. Click here to try it out.

Q:
What is The Cambridge Diet?
A:

The Cambridge Diet is essentially a fat burner that gives us four different stimulants, while not becoming an appetite suppressant.

Q:
What is involved in the Cambridge Diet?
A:

The Cambridge Weight Plan is designed to be a total diet plan that involves low or extremely low calorie meals spread throughout the day. An individual on this plan will typically eat name brand shakes, nutritious bars, a variety of soups, and even some porridge. Each product can be eaten on their own to speed up the weight loss, or they can be eaten in conjunction with normal meals on the plan to lead to weight loss spread over time.


Archived

Previous The Cambridge Diet Review (Updated June 26, 2014):

What You Should Know

The Cambridge Diet is a liquid-based diet popularized in the 1980's in the United Kingdom, originally intended for morbidly obese patients. Based on the VLCD diet, otherwise known as the "Very Low Calorie Diet", the Cambridge Diet combines low calorie shakes, soups, and meal replacement bars in their complete diet program. Most of the dieter's calories are obtained through liquid supplements, and the diet is continued until the person meets his or her weight loss goal. During the weight loss period patients eat between 400 to 800 calories per day. In the United Kingdom, you need to meet with a Cambridge Diet counselor before starting the program. The Cambridge Diet is begun with a counselor, who will determine if this is an appropriate diet for you. From there, you will need to purchase meal replacement shakes and bars, which usually range between $13.99 to around $40.00 per package. There are no free samples or money-back guarantees, but you can discontinue the program at any time. They do not say how much weight loss is expected, but patients typically report losing over 30 lbs. per month.

Ingredients

There is no ingredient information available about any products associated with The Cambridge Diet.

Product Features

The Cambridge Diet is based off the VLCD diet, which was popularized in the early 1980's. The VLCD diet uses extreme calorie restriction combined with nutritionally-dense liquid supplements to enhance weight loss, and this method has been proven to work. Most physicians do not back the VLCD or the Cambridge Diet however, since it allows for a very small, unrealistic amount of calories per day. Patients typically consume less than 800 calories per day, and most doctors recommend consuming 1200 calories minimum for any diet. The Cambridge Diet also claims to use the power of ketosis to speed up weight loss. It claims that by putting the body into ketosis through liquid replacements and calorie restriction, it will allow the body to burn more fat and lose weight. Ketosis occurs when the body does not receive enough calories or nutrition to function optimally. The body uses its fat stores to burn additional fat as a survival mechanism. Although ketosis does burn off additional fat, it also burns additional muscle during this process and it is generally considered unhealthy by the medical community.

Advantages

  • You do not have to exercise while on this diet.
  • All meals and drinks are supplied pre-prepared to you.
  • They offer allergy-free drinks and bars.

Disadvantages

  • The Cambridge Diet is one of the most expensive diet programs available.
  • Its caloric intake is lower than the recommended standard -- doctors consider this a very dangerous diet that brings users close to starvation.
  • You must follow a strict diet plan without any substitutions.
  • This diet is not ideal for those with heart problems or a history of eating disorders.

Conclusion

The Cambridge Diet is very risky according to doctors and medical professionals. Extreme calorie restriction is a constant source of controversy, and diets based on calories restriction have been proven to work while also easily resulting in dangerous side effects. People who embark on this diet must be in good health mentally and physically, but still need to lose excess weight. Although the cost of this diet is extremely expensive, it might be an ideal diet to discuss with your doctor, especially if you feel that your clinical obesity could lead to other health complications - Cambridge Diet counselors strongly recommend discussing this with a doctor before trying it.

Article Resources
Summer Banks Dietspotlight Author
About the Author:

Summer Banks, Director of Content at Dietspotlight, has researched over 5000 weight-loss programs, pills, shakes and diet plans. Previously, she managed 15 supplement brands, worked with doctors specializing in weight loss and completed coursework in nutrition at Stanford University. full bio.

77 The Cambridge Diet Reviews

  • Need more information about the product
    MaryRafferty

    I would like info on diet products.Please email me on the products.I’m trying to loose 100lbs I’m excited hope to see if these items work.Mary Thank-you Mary

    Reply
  • Product result
    debbie

    im starting cambridge tomorro and need to lose roughly 4stone does any1 know how long this will take roughly?

    Reply
    • Anonymous

      I lost 3 stone in 1 wk feel fantastic

      Reply
      • Lizzy

        Wow 3 stone 1 week. Did you starve yourself?

        Reply
    • Maribel (Editor)

      Hello Debbie. All users are different and can experience different weight-loss results

      Reply
  •  Hope this works for me
    annmarie

    Hello. I am hopefully starting the plan this week. I am just waiting on the consultant getting back 2 me. I hope I can do this.

    Reply
    • Maribel (Editor)

      Hi Ann Marie, hope you can do this too. It you’re open to other alternatives that could be more affordable and easier, Dietspotlight Burn comes in capsule form and is a proven way to lose weight.

      Reply
  • 78 years old can use it?
    ann dorkin

    i am seventy eight yrars of age do you rcommend it

    Reply
    • Maribel (Editor)

      Hi Ann! Please refer to the The Cambridge Diet official website for more instructions and information.

      Reply
  • Questions about dosage
    Kelly

    Can I just have 2 Cambridge shakes and a healthy meal can you still lose weight

    Reply
    • Your Name

      Yes, you are likely to lose weight, but it wouldn’t be a healthy way. You would need to add another meal to give your body enough nutrition. You would get full nutrition with three Cambridge shakes though. Your consultant is the best person to advise you on the safest and healthiest way to lose weight, which would be exactly right for you and your circumstances.

      Reply
    • lesley cafferky

      You should have three if you are only having one low cal meal as you need the all the goodness that the bars or shakes give you to keep your body healthy..You go on to just the two with another plan of meals though !

      Reply
    • Maribel (Editor)

      Hi Kelly! For detailed product and usage instructions, please refer to the The Cambridge Diet official website for more information.

      Reply
  • Lou

    I might be interested in joining the Cambridge weight loss program.. i have quite a lot of weight to loose!! Only problem is I’m going away the end of October and will gave lots of days nights out at fancy restaurants and burger places etc.. if I did the diet for the next 2 months and then ate normally whilst away would I gain extreme amounts? Or would I be able to have a week off then get back on it the week after? Thanks

    Reply
    • Adrian (Editor)

      Hello Lou. It’s up to you, might be a good idea to begin the diet and take care of yourself while away. If you want to boost results, might be a good idea to also add Dietspotlight Burn to the combo. It can help you burn fat and loos weight quicker. Hope this response helped and that you have an amazing trip!

      Reply
  • JANNE

    Started this product on 1 December 2016 (Step 3) – Lost 7 to 8 kilograms on the first two weeks. I don’t feel hungry at all.
    Going to start on Sole Source (Step 1) on 24 December 2016

    Reply
  • Stacey

    Day four of the diet….not finding it too hard.. making sure I drink all that water is a little harder than I thought…. but today I have a huge tummy..I look bigger..and tummy gurgling not through hunger…..

    Reply
  • SL

    Currently on my 4th day of CWP diet. i usually have my Cherry and Strawberry Smoothie in the morning, Shake for lunch and Chocolate Velvet for supper. between them I’m drinking my recommended 3 litres a day (which is the hardest part for me). I start to feel really hungry around 13:30 or 14:00, because I’m always busy at work. Anyhow, I’ve noticed for three days I’ve been having diarrhoea and head aches (my temples). I have not weighed my self as of yet but I would do every week. Good this is; me and my sisters are all on the CWP diet so we are motivating each other. However, keep it going people!!!! 😀

    Reply
  • SS

    Currently on my 4th day of CWP diet. i usually have my Cherry and Strawberry Smoothie in the morning, Shake for lunch and Chocolate Velvet for supper. between them I’m drinking my recommended 3 litres a day (which is the hardest part for me). I start to feel really hungry around 13:30 or 14:00, because I’m always busy at work. Anyhow, I’ve noticed for three days I’ve been having diarrhoea and head aches (my temples). I have not weighed my self as of yet but I would do every week. Good this is; me and my sisters are all on the CWP diet so we are motivating each other. However, keep it going people!!!! 😀

    Reply
  • Saj

    I have completed my 5th week on the plan. I have had fantastic support. I have been on many diet but have struggled to eat the full vitamin intake as a vegan. With this diet I have had complete control and have been re-assured that I am getting the full vitamin intake and calories to suit my body. I have done excellent. Lost 14Ibs so far. If I have hungry on my plan, I am allowed to eat an extra 200 calories which would consist of the appropriately listed proteins and veg. I am very happy with this plan and would highly recommend it having been on several other diets that did not work. I have read some other comments on this page about the taste of the products. I can understand, some of them are not to the standard you would normally have but this is what you call healthy…not loaded with sugar and other preservatives/additives.Plus you wouldn’t be on the plan forever. Only once you are happy with your weight and are able to recognise what foods are good/bad. Hope this helps.

    Reply
  • sharon

    hi I’m on day 2 of diet and so far so good, I find it hard to drink water and found the app to be useful as it bleeps on my fone to dink water lol so far I have lost 5lb which I’m chuffed with only another 51 to goooo

    Reply
  • Karen

    I lost 2 stone on the diet, first weeks were hard as I suffered badly with constipation, felt great when I reached my target weight, but as I gradually added more everyday foods I noticed the weight going back on. As soon as I came off the diet and started eating normally it has all come back on. Feel terrible !! But can’t afford to go back on as It was expensive, now trying to cut back on calories and eat healthy, with daily exercise. As a short fix it is a good diet, but not long term

    Reply
  • Arianne

    Cambridge weight plan was the worst thing that happened to me. I have been left with a lifelong condition from which the doctors believe is because of this diet! There are so many better ways of losing weight than this unhealthy diet, Please think sensibly before doing this

    Reply
  •  5 week lost 31 pounds !
    mustafa (Verified User)

    I am in the 5 the week of camb diet and so far I have lost 31 pounds 14 .5 KGS. So I started celebrating I eat quarter chicken charcoal with humus garlic paste and bread for 3 days. Bcoz I can’t stay on sole source long time. I’m drink 4 LTS water daily.joined gym daily 1 hr.

    Reply
  •  very frustrated
    Molly (Verified User)

    I have been on the Cambridge Diet for 5 weeks now – 3 cambridge meals daily + 275g steamed chicken and 85g veg + 4 pints of water but have only lost 7lb – why haven’t I lost more weight – very frustrated

    Reply
    • Stephen (Editor)

      Are you including regular exercise?

      Reply
      • Pat

        Its a good diet but no room for cheating. I generally drink 4 litres of water per day. I have lost 2 stones so far another 1 stone and 5lbs to go. Keep going it does work.

        Reply
  •  Cambridge Diet!
    Ness

    I’m currently on the Cambridge diet! Have been for three months and I’m on step 2, which is 3 products and small meal. I’ve lost 3 stone so far in 3 months! The diet definitely works, I haven’t done much excercise with it either and I’m still seeing results! At the end of the day, if you want to loose weight and you have your mind set to do it you will do it! I’ve tried several crappy fad diets, and Cambridge really is the one that works! There’s no reserves about it, you will loose weight! Because I thought the same but I’m glad I took the plunge and went on it, yes it is rather expensive but so is going out and buying crap food every week, so give or take your spending your money on something that will help you, not hinder.
    Fad diets work you just have to stick to them, and not give up because your hungry! Your on a diet you will be hungry.

    Reply
    • Nadia

      Be prepared to loose all ur hair bye the way

      Reply
  •  Helped Me Slim Down
    Shab (Verified User)

    Hello every one.
    Day 8 on c diet. I lost 2 pounds find it hard to drink water as I have three children, Very busy mum. It’s given me head aces low moods. When I had my second daughter after nine years this helped me to slim down. I conceived. So it is frets for people who want to have a baby who are over weight. It’s not an easy diet. But which diet is. Once your past day four it dose seem easier. But hard when I am cooking
    amazing food for my family. What I do is when I have my samon or my chicken or eggs just spice them up. Then I am fine. Stick to it it is we’ll worth it. I have three stones to lose. Not giving up. Feel do fat but can see the difference all ready as my clothes are a lot loser on me. Even if you have a bad day like I did we went to black pool I eat fish and chips. I was gutted after wards. Carried on with the diet the next day. So you may have a bad day but keep at it. 🙂 good luck every body.

    Reply
  •  Mind over matter
    Jan (Verified User)

    Lost 17 kg in 7 weeks…….mind over matter. Get busy…

    Reply
  • I stopped Cambridge's
    samah (Verified User)

    I started Cambridge diet plan last week, and after the 5th day I suffered from sever abdominal pain which was there for 24 hours and didn’t get well till I stopped Cambridge’s meals completely for 2 days. I was tired & sleepy all the time as well. Why did that happened to me ?? It supposed to be good and no one have been through such a thing. So what was that !!

    Reply
  • bright clear concept
    Breana Clyne

    Great beat ! I wish to apprentice while you amend your site, how can i subscribe for a blog website? The account helped me a acceptable deal. I had been tiny bit acquainted of this your broadcast provided bright clear concept

    Reply
  • Cambridge Diet in the 1980s
    Ph (Verified User)

    I went on the Cambridge Diet in the 1980s. I lost the weight I wanted along with hair loss and messing up me electrolytes Once you go back to a normal diet the weight comes back. My Dr said I had put my body into starvation mode so once I started eating normally my body held onto every calorie. While on the diet and off I exercised 3 to4 hours a week

    Reply
    • LULU

      I am from Zambia and just started Cambridge Diet, my 2nd week now. So far so good but I really need a diet buddy. Kindly help I need someone to push me up. Good luck to all those on this diet.

      Reply
      • wendy

        Hi Lulu
        hi will be your diet buddy been on cambidge two weeks lost 10lb first week and 4 lb the following week keep going x

        Reply
      • Ammie

        Lulu dear. I started on the 19th of may and I lost 8kg. I only experienced constipation.

        Reply
      • Your Name

        Hello Lulu
        Iam amina from mizambique going to start diet tomorow… dnt give up!!! I am 80 need to lose 30

        Reply
        • Your Name

          Hai did this product help u becoz even I am 80 n I want to loose 30 so plz can u advise me

          Reply
  •   affect my weight
    Caroline (Verified User)

    I forgot to take one of my products will it affect my weight loss. Have lost 12lbs in 4 weeks did expect to lose more. Thanks

    Reply
  •  it works I have lost 56 lb and Keept it off !!
    Hayley (Verified User)

    I have been doing the Cambridge plan for the last 13 weeks and can successfully say it works I have lost 56 lb and Keept it off !!
    It certainly not for the faint hearted and you need to want to achieve your goals but I never feel hungry on the plan and I exercise a lot !!
    If like me you plateud from previous diets than this certainly gives you the push you need totally worth the money !!

    Reply
  • Can one replace the shakes with soups?
    Katherine

    Hi. I loved reading the reviews on the Cambridge Diet. Can one replace the shakes with soups?

    Reply
    • Your Name

      Hi just started the cambridge plan this evening tomorrow being my first day.
      Am worried how I will feel and what to expect?
      I would like support to get through the next four weeks.
      Please help, could do with a buddy for support!!
      Have 2.5 stones to loose x

      Reply
    • Your Name

      Yes you can. Replace a shake with a soup. 😉

      Reply
    • lescaf@sky.com

      Yes you can have a cambridge soup instead !

      Reply
    • Your Name

      I have been on the diet for just over 4 weeks. I have lost 19 lbs so far. Have porridge or shake for breakfast. Soup for lunch and the meal for tea. I am supposed to have four products a day but full on 3 products. Must drink at least two ltr of fluid. I have another 59 lbs to lose fingers crossed.

      Reply
  •  Hated the product.
    Sue (Verified User)

    I did Cambridge in the 80’s, lost a lot of weight and gained it all back.

    I would never do this diet again. For most of it, I did ok and the cravings were bearable, but by the third month I was sneaking in weird stuff like a single saltine cracker with a bit of mayonnaise. That’s when I knew it was just getting too weird.

    Besides the weight re-gain, another really bad thing was that the diet was so extreme that it messed up my hormones, and I ended up with a fair amount of hair on my chin and chest.

    Lastly, two years afterwards, my home got tons of little brown bugs. My exterminator friend told me they were a type of weevil, and advised me to throw all my grain products away since that was what they lived on. I did so but still had the bugs. I was so disgusted I decided to just throw all my food away. That is when I noticed pinholes on two leftover Cambridge shake cans, which, at least then, were made from cardboard. I opened them to find that they contained an entire ecosystem of weevils, and had been the source of the infestation.

    Between the regain, the bugs and the deprivation leading to food weirdness, I am very glad to be well past Cambridge. I have been eating low carb for almost 15 years now, after losing a ton of weight and find it very easy to keep off.

    I sincerely wish any dieter the very best, and hope you find your safe and reasonable path. Please don’t take chances with extreme diets like Cambrdge. Just not worth the drama. Best of luck.

    Reply
    • AMM

      Well my Cambridge products do not have a two year shelf life. The use by date is this year so I would probably not have kept them for two years in my cupboard! Such things as flour and oats can all get weevil bug if left in the pantry long enough. I am 24 lbs lighter in 5 weeks and feel great. Yes, I have concerns about what will happen when I come off the products but thats why I have a consultant to guide me through the steps.

      Reply
      • Michele hoare

        I store all flowes spices etc on the fridge never had a weal since

        Reply
  •  Hope to loose weight with it.
    Shellaca (Verified User)

    I am on day 2 of the diet and am feeling extremely exhausted though i am motivated to carry on wth the diet as i dont feel happy wth the way i look. I am looking forward to putting on ma size 10 summer dress in 3 months time. I am currently a size 14. Anyone who wants to be my doet buddy plz reply to this msg and will send you an email. Just need someone who we can help each other reach our ultimate goal in loosing weight

    Reply
    • lulu

      Shellaca,

      i would love to be your diet buddy i start on friday with the diet, i am really looking for a buddy too. email me at ithequeen63 AT YAHOO

      Reply
    • Dxbdame

      Hi
      I completed 1 month on 29th april i lost 7.5 kgs or roughly 15 lbs
      In my second months week 1 feeling low and tempted but keeping it strong
      If i cheat its with egg whites
      I ve 10 kgs more to loose

      Reply
  • Did anyone experience this?
    sara (Verified User)

    I’ve been on the cambridge diet for two weeks so far, the problem is I gained 3kgs instead of losing, they told me it is muscles weight, have anyone been through this before ??!

    Reply
    • Your Natalieme

      Sara, I simply do not believe you!!! Unless you have been hitting the gym and power lifting and doing excess exercise, then there is no way that following the Cambridge diet faithfully, drinking the 2 + litres of water as per instructions, and taking the advised added fibre, will end up with you putting on 3KGS!!!! Simply not possible!!!!

      Reply
  • Has anyone experience stomach pain?
    Lisa (Verified User)

    Hi there, I’m on day 20 of the SS, and lost 6 kilos so far and was doing fine with the every now and then crave for food of course, but not giving in. However, 2 days ago I went out and forgot to bring my 3rd meal pack and just had water, so 8 hours went by until my next shake, but since then I’ve been feeling weird and my stomach burns a bit when I have my shake or soup. Anyone would know why that is? Not really sure what the max of time in between meals is. Hope someone can help. Thanks!

    Reply
  • Is this good for my condition?
    Dee

    iam on warffirn and really need to loose 3to 4 stone can anyone tell me if i can do this diet as iam so desprate to feel happy with myself

    Reply
    • marcelle

      Hi I’m on warfarin also and I’m on day 2 of my diet. I am being watched by my INR nurse and will adjust if necessary ?

      Reply
  •  No side effects and much effective
    elena (Verified User)

    I was morbidly obese and have lost 40 kg with this diet and have had no side effects. I so agree with “me” above!

    Reply
    • Anonymous

      I agree with me. I’ve been on Cambridge diet for 4 months and lost 4 half stone. I’m 47 and have been super obese for 25 years!! Stick to the rules especially the drinking of water. I’ve done every diet invented but the Cambridge has been the easiest for me and I’ve suffered no side effects and feel GREAT!!! it’s not about if the diet is right it’s about is your head in the right place and are you motivated enough to succeed!

      Reply
  • Can i consume food normally without gaining
    SLing (Verified User)

    I started for 2 days before succumbing to food on the night of the 2nd day.. But after that i got backed on and on the third day of restarting i lost 3 kilos. It was really awesome.

    Previously, i had fasted and i did lost 7 kilos but i was very tired and my sugar level increased as i only consumed Milo and lots of breath mints. So this diet is much healthier and ensures that you are inputing calories at a very low rate.

    However i would like to ask when i reached to my ideal weight, can i consume food normally without gaining too much back?? I know it’s recommended to at least have a CWP for a meal and if consumed too oily food, go on SS for a day as a detox program. So, will i gain back??

    Thanks!!

    Reply
  •  Still taking even if causing side effect
    gia (Verified User)

    I am on day 2. Side effects are headache and hunger. I will stick with this 100% otherwise it is not worth it. Will keep updating on progress.

    Reply
  •  it doesn't work for me
    julia (Verified User)

    i have attempted the diet so many time but there is some thing different about it this time i have been having 2 porridge.I only like the original one and i find it holds me better.I have also been having a bar a day
    I have loads of water now and also black tea before bed.My wedding is in july and i want to lose 4 stone if i can for now.Nothing tastes as good as success xxx

    Reply
  • I lost weight within first 10days
    ema (Verified User)

    im on day 10 n i was in ketsis last wk n lost weight this week i have eaten a few chips n put on a lb, does anyone no can u still loose weight if ur not in ketosis n could i get bk into ketosis if i dnt snack no more?.

    Reply
    • leelee

      hi ema the weight you put on after eating is water due to you eating carbs get straight back to the diet and if you do choose to eat try eating protein rich food ie eggs meat etc

      Reply
    • P

      Totally agree with the other member, if you eat carbs you will gain weight, but it is water. Go straight back on the diet drink at 4 litres of water per day and stick to the plan. It does work.

      Reply
  •  I have lost 11 lbs in the first week
    Annette (Verified User)

    Hi ,I am on week two of this diet and it is going very well.I have lost 11 lbs in the first week .There is no point going on this diet if you do not stick to the rules 100%.When the weight has come off then you will need a maintenance plan to guide you back into normal food again .

    Reply
  • marina

    i started the Cambridge diet but on the week ends i might eat something more and then start it again on monday is that ok or it doesnt help with the weight loss?

    Reply
    • Dawn

      Hi Marina. I started the diet 4 weeks ago and on the second week I went away for a weekend and although I did not over indulge i put all of the weight back on that i had lost 5 days prior to going away. I have since stuck rigidly to the diet even though at times I feel very weak. I have tried to allow my self a treat on a weekend such as a small wine but just that one treat seems to put 2lb back on. I don’t quite understand why and it may not be the same for everone but that’s what happens to me, frustratingly!

      Reply
  •  weight loss and 12lb wont be too long!
    joanne (Verified User)

    Thanks Kim, I am on third day now of ss im not finding it to difficult just when im making kids packed lunchs haha, You have done so well with your weight loss and 12lb wont be too long! well i hope im as successful as you. x

    Reply
  • Can take break from it?
    joanne29 (Verified User)

    Hi could someone please please help i am starting the ss diet on monday i know i will be able to stick to it but my concern is im going away with my family in august all-inclusive and i want to eat and drink because thats what part of your hols are! so is it possible to have a break for a fortnight and not put 3months of weight loss back on, i wont suddenly bloat up in those two weeks or wouuld i?

    Reply
    • kim

      Hi Joanne, i’m 10 weeks into the cambridge diet i have done ss for 8 weeks and am now introducing food, ive had a weekend off the diet around week 6 and ate fairly normally, i still lost 2lb that week but found that i was full very quickly and got indegestion. I also found it quite hard to stick to ss afterwards. Iv’e lost 30lb now and 24 inches in total and still have 12lb to go, its slowed down alot now which is a bit frustrating but im still determined.

      Reply
  •  I am on day three of sole source and I feel a little sick
    Lily (Verified User)

    I am on day three of sole source and I feel a little sick, nausea, running stomach and tiredness. I did not experience such sympthoms the first time i tried the diet.

    Reply
    • gemma

      hiya lily these are all side effects of the diet they will dissappear in a few days its carb withdrawel. your body is haveing one last chance to get you to eat cabs before it goes into keytosis. stick with it itll all be worth it in the end, i promise…

      Reply
    • louise

      i feel the same lily which is making it harder for me to do but its my wedding in two weeks and i want to look good which is making it a little easier for me to do just remember your going to look even better than what you do now afterwards just think of that dress etc what you want to fit in and summer is on its way good luck.

      Reply
    • Hannah

      i am on day two of the diet and i am really struggling. I am super hungry today and everyone at work is eating smelly food around me but i am just thinking of the end result…

      Reply
    • Hannah

      I am on day two of the diet and i am really struggling as i am so hungry…. but i am thinking of the end result. I find the soup and shakes fill me up the most but would also like to try the porridge.

      Reply
      • annette

        I am on day 12 do not try the porridge. Being a Scottish women I love my porridge the Cambridge porridge is nothing like porridge and made me gag and throw up. I am finding it really difficult but trying to stick with it. Terrible headaches though

        Reply