The Ultimate New York Diet Plan
David Kirsch Reviewed by Andrea Giancoli, MPH, RD, Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Spokesperson March 2007
Rapid weight loss is sustainable and beneficial for the body and you can lose 14 pounds and 5 percent of your body fat in two weeks with this diet and exercise regimen. The celebrity claim to fame: This plan got a postpartum Heidi Klum in shape for the Victoria Secret's Fashion Show in just eight weeks.
The diet plan follows the typical formula seen in most fad diet books: The first two weeks are the most restrictive during the so called "rapid weight-loss phase" where whole categories of food are eliminated, followed by a less restrictive Phase 2 for continued weight loss, and concluding with a maintenance phase you will presumably be on for life. Kirsch's plan completely eliminates what he refers as A, B, C, D, E and F foods during the two-week Phase 1; this means no Alcohol, Bread, starchy Carbs, Coffee, Dairy, Extra sweets, Fruit and most Fats.
During the second two-week phase, one daily carbohydrate food is allowed. If you don't lose the amount of weight you desire in those two weeks, Kirsch instructs you to stay in this phase until you do.
Phase 3 allows one more carb of your choosing for your morning snack. You can also have one cheat meal once a week. During all phases, you eat five times a day. Exercise is a must at 45 to 90 minutes a day and can be divided into several 10-minute sessions to accommodate time-pressed individuals. A vast assortment of supplements is strongly recommended to boost weight loss and health. At the very least, a meal replacement powder and a daily multivitamin are needed to "seal the cracks" in your diet, according to Kirsch.
Nutritional Pros and Cons:
The diet is extremely restrictive, nearly eliminating healthful foods such as low-fat dairy, fruit, whole grains and other carbohydrates. Obviously, the supplements are promoted in an attempt to make up for the many glaring nutrition gaps. The diet lacks adequate calcium, fiber, (recommending a high-fiber meal replacement powder), folate and likely other vital micronutrients. Daily recommended menus average a dangerously low 900 calories, making complete nutrition from food nearly impossible.
A better name for this diet would be "The Elimination Diet" or "The Strictly Protein and Vegetable Diet" because that is what makes up the bulk of this diet. Not that there is much bulk to an eating plan that hovers around 900 calories a day. The author claims one can consume fewer calories on a high-protein diet without feeling hunger due to protein's appetite suppressing properties. There is plenty of evidence to support protein being more satiating than either carbohydrate or fat. But can this effect really be so powerful as to keep one satisfied on so little? Doubtful. Not to mention, with so many food restrictions and rules, this diet is likely to be boring.
In the author's favor, he does promote lean protein sources, vegetables, nuts (with a preference for almonds) and legumes; and restricts foods high in saturated and trans fats, which is solid advice.
Will you lose weight? Of course. Who wouldn't on so few calories combined with 45 to 90 minutes of exercise a day? The real question is; How long can you keep this up? And can your body sustain itself long-term living on so little?