Select Page

The Cambridge Diet: A Radical Approach to Weight Loss

Want to try a radical weight loss program? The Cambridge Diet relies on extreme calorie restriction and mild ketosis to help you lose weight quickly. But is it safe and effective for everyone? Read on to learn the basics of the Cambridge Diet, including its six phases and who should avoid it.

The Cambridge Diet is a radical weight loss program that was developed in the United Kingdom in 1970 by Dr. Alan Howard at the University of Cambridge. Its primary goal is to achieve a state of mild ketosis, where the body burns fat for energy instead of carbohydrates.

This is accomplished by drastically reducing calorie intake to a range of 440-1500 kcal per day, while increasing the intake of vitamins, minerals, and healthy fats to minimize nutrient loss. However, the effects of this diet are mostly short-term.

NOTE: In this meal plan, “CD” stands for the Cambridge Diet.

Basic Principles of the Cambridge Diet

The Cambridge Diet consists of six phases, with the main principle being extremely low calorie intake. The first phase involves gradually reducing total calorie intake over the course of one to twelve weeks, with a daily intake of at least 500 kcal. In subsequent phases, calorie intake is increased gradually, and dieters may incorporate non-dietary foods into their meal plans.

The diet restricts sugary drinks, caffeine, and alcohol, and instead allows coffee, tea, and sparkling water.

The first phase of the diet is the most restrictive, as it relies heavily on CD products such as soups, shakes, and porridges. However, it is essential for individuals who have sedentary lifestyles and minimal physical activity.

The second phase involves consuming lean meats, poultry, and some vegetables, along with Cambridge products, to provide a daily intake of 810 kcal.

In the third phase, calorie intake is increased to 1000 kcal, and individuals can introduce milk and salads while gradually reducing the use of dietary supplements.

The fourth phase has no set duration, and it involves eating two regular meals containing milk and two Cambridge products per day. Caloric intake is not strictly regulated, and the body begins to return to normal metabolic function. The fifth phase consists of consuming 1500 kcal per day and combining Cambridge products with breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Calorie counting is necessary, but this phase allows for more flexibility in food choices. The sixth and final phase is where individuals can maintain their desired weight by balancing their diet with healthy food choices.

Kickstart Your Weight Loss with This 3-Day Cambridge Diet Menu

NOTE: In this meal plan, “CD” stands for the Cambridge Diet.

Day 1:

  • Breakfast: CD chocolate shake (140 calories)
  • Snack: 1 cup chopped cucumber (16 calories)
  • Lunch: CD chicken and mushroom soup (150 calories)
  • Snack: CD caramel shake (150 calories)
  • Dinner: Grilled chicken breast (120 grams) with steamed broccoli and cauliflower (130 calories)
  • Snack: CD apple and cinnamon porridge (137 calories)

Total calories: 723

Day 2:

  • Breakfast: CD banana shake (152 calories)
  • Snack: 1 hard-boiled egg (78 calories)
  • Lunch: CD tomato soup (149 calories)
  • Snack: CD strawberry shake (148 calories)
  • Dinner: Grilled salmon fillet (120 grams) with mixed salad (200 calories)
  • Snack: CD vegetable soup (148 calories)

Total calories: 875

Day 3:

  • Breakfast: CD vanilla shake (137 calories)
  • Snack: 1 medium-sized apple (95 calories)
  • Lunch: CD spicy tomato soup (150 calories)
  • Snack: CD banana shake (152 calories)
  • Dinner: Grilled lean beef steak (120 grams) with steamed carrots and green beans (150 calories)
  • Snack: CD chicken tikka masala (144 calories)

Total calories: 928

Note: This meal plan is just an example and may not be suitable for everyone. The Cambridge Diet offers various meal plan options, and it is important to consult with a physician before starting the diet.

Why You Might Consider Following the Cambridge Diet

  • Rapid weight loss: The Cambridge Diet’s extreme calorie restriction and reliance on mild ketosis can lead to fast and noticeable weight loss.
  • Flexible meal plan: While the early phases of the diet involve consuming mostly CD products, later phases allow for more flexibility in food choices.
  • Encourages healthy habits: By emphasizing the importance of vitamins, minerals, and healthy fats, the Cambridge Diet encourages followers to adopt healthier eating habits.

Why You Might Avoid Following the Cambridge Diet

  • Unsustainable: The Cambridge Diet’s extreme calorie restriction may be difficult to maintain over a long period, leading to weight gain once you stop following the diet.
  • Limited food choices: The early phases of the diet involve consuming mostly CD products, which can get monotonous and limit your food choices.
  • Potential health risks: The Cambridge Diet is not suitable for everyone and may pose health risks for individuals with certain medical conditions, such as kidney or liver problems (eg: fatty liver). It is important to consult with a physician before starting the diet.

Who Should Not Follow the Cambridge Diet?

While the CD may work for some individuals, it is not recommended for everyone. People who have kidney problems or liver disease should not follow this diet. It is also not suitable for teenagers, athletes, or individuals with an active lifestyle. Pregnant or nursing mothers should also avoid this diet.


Q: Can you eat eggs on the Cambridge Diet?
A: The early phases of this diet do not allow for consuming solid foods, including eggs. Instead, dieters rely on CD products like shakes, soups, and porridges. However, in later phases of the diet, individuals may incorporate solid foods into their meal plan, including eggs.

Q: What is the Cambridge Diet called now?
A: The Cambridge Diet is still known as the Cambridge Diet, although the program has evolved over time and may have different names in various countries or regions.

Q: What do you eat on the Cambridge Diet?
A: The Cambridge Diet involves consuming mostly CD products in the early phases of the diet, such as shakes, soups, and porridges. Later phases allow for more flexibility in food choices, including lean meats, poultry, vegetables, milk, and salads.

Q: How much weight can you lose in a month on the Cambridge Diet?
A: The amount of weight loss on the CD can vary depending on various factors, such as age, gender, starting weight, and adherence to the diet. However, many people report losing 1-2 pounds per week, which could translate to 4-8 pounds per month, on average.


The Cambridge Diet is an effective but radical approach to weight loss, which requires a significant commitment and a strong will to count calories. It may not be suitable for everyone, and it is essential to consult with a physician before starting this diet.

However, its flexible approach allows for some food choices, making it a viable option for people who want to lose weight without sacrificing all the foods they love.

Share This