Could you live off of six cookies a day, plus a small meal? The newest diet trend asks you to do just that, earning both accolades from celebrities and a batch of imitators. But does it work?
Honestly, the way that the drums bang about the obesity epidemic, I thought cookies would be public enemy number one right about now.
But that seems to be a part of the appeal of the diet. According to the experts interviewed for the New York Times article:
"The Cookie Diet is very appealing, because it legalizes a food - the cookie - that is banned from most weight-loss programs," said Jenni Schaefer, author of "Goodbye Ed, Hello Me: Recover From Your Eating Disorder and Fall in Love with Life" (McGraw-Hill, 2009).
"The diet gives people a false sense of control, simplifying balanced nutrition into one food: the cookie," she added.
In addition, the nutritional properties of said cookies are widely subject to interpretation:
[T]here are no clinical studies on any of the diets and that a key ingredient in Dr. Siegal's cookies - special amino acids, which supposedly curb appetite - is known only to Dr. Siegal and his wife.
"It's the particular mixture of proteins that does the job," Dr. Siegal said. "All foods do not handle hunger the same way, and high protein foods curb hunger." The cookies, he said, contain protein derived from meat, eggs, milk and other sources. They also contain microcrystalline cellulose - a plant fiber that acts as a bulking agent, emulsifier and thickener - and are sweetened with sugar.
However, other diet cookie makers are more forthcoming about how the cookies work. One of the competing brands, Soypal, relies on "okara, or soy pulp, which absorbs any liquids you drink with the cookies." Since the Soypal website recommends you drink two glasses of water or another beverage with each cookie, it's pretty clear that the diet cookies are designed to trick your body into thinking you've eaten.
Unfortunately, many of those who tried the cookie diet have found it lacking:
Ms. Pierson, who is in her 60s and lives in Manhattan, tried Smart for Life cookies, which come in chocolate, banana coconut, oatmeal raisin and blueberry last year, and lasted about three days. "I was weak, tired, irritable and hungry," she said. "I hated it."
I guess that just goes to show cookies really are a sometimes food.