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November 25, 1983

The Cambridge Diet: More Mayhem?

Author Affiliations

From the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Philadelphia (Drs Wadden, Stunkard, and Brownell); and the St Luke's Hospital and Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, New York (Dr Van Itallie).

JAMA. 1983;250(20):2833-2834. doi:10.1001/jama.1983.03340200067031

READERS of both Time (March 14, 1983, pp 91-93) and Newsweek (Feb 28, 1983, pp 75-77) learned recently of "a new scientific breakthrough that works faster and is more effective than you ever thought possible." This "breakthrough," heralded in three-page advertisements, is the Cambridge Diet. Since "more than three million overweight Americans have already discovered the Cambridge Diet Plan," and millions are likely to as a result of these ads, the medical community would be well advised to familiarize itself with the diet and the controversy surrounding it.

The Cambridge Diet is one of several very-low-calorie diets (300 to 600 kcal/day) currently available in this country. The goal of these diets is to induce the largest, most rapid weight loss possible, while preserving lean body mass by the provision of varying amounts of high-quality protein and carbohydrate. This was the same goal of the liquid protein diets of 1976 and

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