2.5kg in two weeks. We try the latest diet fad: semi-starvation

There is never a shortage of diets that promise to make weight loss easier and quicker. Many claim that obedient followers will shed kilos within days and even keep it off for good.

To put this to the test, I embarked on the latest fad diet on everybody’s lips – the 13-day metabolism diet.

My take: Anyone who has ever been on the 13-day metabolism diet – or the coffee diet as some call it – will know that it is torture sold as a quick weight-loss plan. The diet tests you to the limit, especially if – like me – you’re someone who loves sweet delicacies and believes pasta should be a staple food.

If you’re wondering what a 13-day metabolism diet is, well, it’s an eating plan that restricts your calorie intake by drastically reducing the amount of sugar and high-carb foods consumed.

The diet, which claims to melt away kilos within a few days and keep it off for two years, changes each day, but proteins are a must and you have to eat three meals a day.

“Eat” in this context is a strong word. For example, on day one, a cup of black coffee with no sugar is your breakfast.

This will make your stomach rumble all morning until relief arrives in the form of lunch, which is two boiled eggs and steamed spinach.

Hunger pangs in between can only be relieved with a glass of water. There is grilled steak for dinner, but you’ll still go to bed hungry.

Day two is a bit kinder with two slices of whole-wheat bread with butter and black coffee – obviously without sugar – for breakfast. For lunch, it’s grilled steak with a lettuce and cucumber salad. Dinner is ham – as much as you can eat.

I endured the first two days because I was still in that I-can-do-it mind-set. Day three was probably the worst – my growling stomach woke me up.

As I prepared my lunch – two boiled eggs (again), green beans and a salad – I cursed the day I decided to do this.

I skipped breakfast that day because I could not stomach bread and black coffee. By midday, I was at the canteen ordering a beef burger with potato wedges because if I had eaten those boiled eggs and green beans, I swear I would have strangled somebody.

A beef burger had never tasted so good. But I must admit I felt guilty afterwards and tried to stick to the eating plan for the following few days – sneaking a chocolate here and there. On day seven, you are allowed to eat anything you like.

But you know what? As painful as it was, I lost 2.5kg in two weeks. Although I am not totally happy with the end result – I was aiming for 5kg – I am consoled by the fact that I can squeeze into my target dress with less help than before.

What Dr Peter Hill says about this diet: This is a low-carb, low-fat and low-kilojoule diet. Most of the weight loss is probably due to water loss and some fat, and perhaps even muscle-mass loss because it is in effect a semi-starvation diet.

This diet is unhealthy and unsustainable because you are essentially starving the body

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