Dr. Sanford Siegal
April 23, 2008
A Tale of Three (or Four) Cookie Diets

In 1975, I created the concept of a weight loss system that features a special cookie to control hunge...
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April 16, 2008
Cookies, Madonna, and (No) Sex

What a week this is turning out to be. It all began last Sunday evening when my Blackberry started to go crazy...
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January 07, 2008
Hardly a 'Flash in the Pan' Fad

I was on national TV over the weekend. E! Entertainment Network ran a two-hour special about diets that inc...
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October 21, 2007
Can't Seem to Lose Weight No Matter How Little You Eat? Could Be Your Thyroid

Oprah announces to the world that she has a thyroid problem a...
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August 20, 2007
A Simple Cardiovascular Risk Self-Test that Could Save Your Life

I want to share with you a simple, do-it-yourself test to measure your card...
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August 11, 2007
The Magic Pill: Eat What You Want, Lose Weight, and Have Sudden, Unexpected, Explosive Bowel Movements

I don't usually joke about obesity. I...
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July 10, 2007
Dr. Siegal's® COOKIE DIET™ History

Since launching our www.CookieDietOnline.com web site in May, I've received many emails from peop...
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February 18, 2007
I'm Flattered

They say that "Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery." Well, I'm feeling very flattered these days. Over the last 35 y...
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Dr. Siegal's Blog
April 23, 2008

A tale of three (or more) cookie diets

In 1975, I created the concept of a weight loss system that features a special cookie to control hunger. During the past 33 years, my system and cookie and other foods have helped more than 500,000 of my own patients and those of about 200 other doctors lose weight. The day that I introduced my system in 1975, the public and countless media outlets branded it "the cookie diet" and me "the cookie doctor".

Of course, whenever you're successful, there will be imitators. It took thirty years for them to start arriving on the scene but today there are at least three companies that offer products or services that use the term "cookie diet" in their names. They say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. If it is then I have an awful lot to be flattered about lately. To be honest, however, I'm not flattered. I'm all for free enterprise and, to be sure, nobody ever said that an idea had to be original be successful. However, in the case of the cookie diets, I'm concerned that there are many people who think they're getting the real Dr. Siegal'sCOOKIE DIET when they're actually getting something else.

I'm writing this blog (which is also being inserted at the last minute as a chapter in my next book) in order to help people distinguish between the original cookie-based diet that has received so much publicity over the past three decades and those that have arrived very late to the party.

SIX COOKIES, ONE MEAL-A-DAY, 800 CALORIES, AND HYPOTHYROIDISM

The essence of my system is simple. First, my patient undergoes a typical medical history and examination, including an EKG and various laboratory tests. She (most of my patients are women) then begins an 800 calorie-a-day diet that includes six of my hunger-controlling cookies (more on those in a moment). During her first month on my diet, my patient carefully tracks her weight loss. At the end of the first 28 days, I use the data she has gathered and a formula that I developed to help me assess whether she has a sluggish metabolism caused by a condition called hypothyroidism. I estimate that about one quarter of patients who come to me have this condition but don't know it. It's difficult to lose weight if you have hypothyroidism and yet it is easily corrected with medication. If you suspect that you have an underactive thyroid even though conventional lab tests and your own doctor say otherwise, consider reading my last book, Is Your Thyroid Making You Fat? (2000, Warner Books).

WHY I DEVELOPED THE CONCEPT OF A COOKIE DIET

In the early 1970's, after treating overweight patients exclusively for more than a decade, I came to the conclusion that hunger is the primary cause of diet failures. Through trial and error, I had determined that 800 calories a day produces the fastest rate of true fat loss and is quite safe under the supervision of a trained physician. Of course, without strong hunger suppression, an 800 calorie diet would be difficult to follow due to hunger. I knew that, if I could control their hunger, I could help my patients faithfully follow the low calorie diet that I favored.

At about the same time, I was writing a book on the subject of natural food substances that are hunger suppressing. It was already known that some foods suppress hunger better than others and that some even stimulate hunger. Not surprisingly, foods that offer the greatest hunger control are the ones with lots of calories from fat. I decided to try to create a food that was particularly controlling of hunger while relatively low in calories.

After several years of experimentation in my home kitchen, I developed a blend of particular amino acids (food proteins) that proved to be quite hunger suppressing and I baked it into a cookie. I chose a cookie because it's durable; doesn't need refrigeration; fits in a purse or briefcase; and is enjoyed by nearly everyone. I was careful to make my cookie taste good but not too good.

In my home kitchen, I baked batches of oatmeal raisin cookies containing my secret formula and gave them to a handful of patients. I told them to eat six of my cookies throughout the day to control hunger and no other food whatsoever. For dinner, I instructed them to eat six ounces of lean chicken, fish or turkey and one cup of non-starchy, green vegetables. My cookies provided these patients with about 500 calories and the dinner about 300 calories per day.

The results were dramatic and overwhelmingly positive. My patients loved the convenience of my cookie. Even more, they loved the results. Without significant hunger, my typical patient lost about fifteen pounds per month. Within a few years, my practice exploded. It grew to two dozen clinics in Florida and Latin America. By the late 1980's I was supplying my cookies (and shakes and soup with the same hunger-controlling formula) to 200 other doctors for use in their own practices.

ENTER SMART FOR LIFE WEIGHT MANANGEMENT CENTERS

If you've been following the tale of the cookie diets for awhile, you may already know that before it was called Smart for Life it was called Siegal Smart for Life. I'll explain how that came about.

In late 2001, I was contacted by a Canadian doctor named Sasson Moulavi who requested and received my permission to open weight loss clinics called Siegal Weight Management (later renamed Siegal Smart for Life) that used my six-cookies-a-day weight loss system and hunger controlling foods. Based on his initial success, Moulavi came back to me and obtained the right, as my franchisee, to sell Siegal sub-franchises. Within a few years there were dozens of Siegal Smart for Life centers in such metropolitan areas as Philadelphia, Boston, Los Angeles, Boca Raton, Tampa and Montreal.

An important part of my agreement with Moulavi was that his centers could not use any hunger-controlling cookies, shakes and soup other than mine. Furthermore, he was forbidden by the agreement to even research how to manufacture competing products, let alone to actually do it.

In August 2006, despite our agreement and the fact that Siegal Smart for Life was growing rapidly, I received a letter from Moulavi announcing the immediate end to our agreement. Almost immediately, Siegal Smart for Life was just Smart for Life and was offering its own brand of cookies, shakes and soup. Thankfully, I never had shared my secret hunger-controlling formula with Moulavi and it is therefore not to be found in his products.

The story doesn't end there. If you 're interested in the fascinating conclusion, I'll direct you to an excellent newspaper article on the subject that was published in the April 17, 2008 issue of the Broward/Palm Beach edition of New Times. The lengthy article provides a remarkably detailed account of my entire relationship with Moulavi from the beginning up until the present time (April 2008). The article is posted on CookieDiet.com but you can get to it directly by clicking this link.

HOLLYWOOD COOKIE DIET

As I recall, it was sometime in June 2006 that a self-proclaimed "diet guru" named Jamie Kabler began selling a box of cookies under the name Hollywood Cookie Diet. You may have heard of Kabler. He's the same fellow who previously brought you the Hollywood 48-Hour Miracle Diet (and later, perhaps for those in a hurry, the 24-Hour version). These earlier products are blends of fruit juices that use "Lose Up to Five Pounds in 24 Hours" as a slogan. Now, I'm just a medical doctor, not an ordained diet guru, but it seems to me that any juice that produces five pounds of weight loss in 48 hours is flushing away a lot of material of which body fat is not a significant component.

As for his so-called Hollywood Cookie Diet, I have to commend Kabler for not making false claims for it. In fact, except for occasional words like "miracle" and "magic" I wasn't able to find any claims at all on his web site. There's no specific information about how the cookies aid in weight loss or even that they do so. The product's marketing slogan is "The First Delicious Way to Lose Weight!"

If you believe that true weight loss can be achieved through magic, miracles and the consumption of delicious foods then I believe your prospect for success is the only thing that will ever be slim.

AND THIS JUST INFROM JAPAN

Very recently, a product called Soypal Cookie Diet popped up online. I don't know anything about it. However, I will infer from its name that it may be high in soy protein. If that's the case then here's a word of caution. Based on my experience with my own patients, I estimate that low thyroid function is a contributing factor in the excess weight of about one in four overweight people. Why is that relevant? Because recent published studies have linked low thyroid hormone levels to the consumption of soy protein. For that reason, I have intentionally left out soy protein from all Dr. Siegal's COOKIE DIET products. Furthermore, in my own practice, we discourage patients from consuming soy protein.

COOKIES DON'T MAKE PEOPLE LOSE WEIGHT

Losing weight is nobody's idea of fun even under the best of circumstances. It takes discipline and determination to achieve your goal. I've used Dr. Siegal's COOKIE DIET to help more than a half million people lose weight. The weight loss that those people experienced was not the result of eating cookies. It was the result of adhering to a reduced-calorie diet which was only possible because of the hunger-controlling properties of a particular cookiemy cookie.

CONCLUSION

Free enterprise is alive and well in America. I expect more ersatz "cookie diets" to appear. I'll leave it to the consumers and patients to decide whether to trust the knockoffs or the real McCoy.

Sanford Siegal, D.O., M.D.

Miami, Florida

April 23, 2008