When you decide to lose weight, it is crucially important to feel like your goal is being supported by people around you. You need your loved ones to accept that there might be some sacrifices – whether that’s giving up some of your social time, or making healthier food choices for the whole family.

However, sometimes having only this type of support isn’t enough – because you still need to make difficult decisions about what to eat, weigh and portion your food correctly, as well as count every calorie to ensure you are not consuming more than your daily allowance.

That’s why many people opt for weight loss plans that offer more than just guidance on what to eat and how to exercise.

The Cambridge Diet is one of such plans, as it provides a ton of support for those looking to shed unwanted pounds, including a personal consultant who helps you stay on track when things seem impossible and achieve your ideal weight.

It is a calorie-controlled diet which relies on the consumption of a range of low-calorie bars, shakes and soups. It promises rapid weight loss – but it also has some side effects worth considering before you begin.

So, what is The Cambridge Diet? What are the pros and cons? Is it for you? Read on to find out the answers!

What Is The Cambridge Diet?

The Cambridge Diet is a rapid weight loss plan, founded by biochemist Dr. Alan Howard who was seeking to create “the perfect diet.”

Formerly called the Cambridge Diet, in 2009 the weight loss method was rebranded and is now more commonly known as Cambridge Weight Plan.

The diet offers flexible weight loss programs, ranging from very low-calorie plans (450kcal daily) to less extreme diet plans (1500+ kcal daily).

It is a strict low-calorie diet, based around specially-formulated meal replacement products such as snack bars, shakes, drinks, and soups under a very controlled regime.

The low daily calorie intake can be quite unhealthy for the body if continued for a more extended period – therefore you can only follow the diet for 12 weeks maximum.

How Does The Cambridge Diet Work?

The plan relies on regular consumption of a very low-calorie diet and replacing meals with specially-formulated Cambridge Weight Plan products. This way, the diet makes you cut out hundreds of calories.

Through low-calorie consumption, the body is forced into a state of ketosis. This means that, when the body no longer receives the number of calories it needs to function properly, it is forced to turn stored fat into energy, making you shed those unwanted pounds.

The first step of the weight plan is finding a local consultant that you would like to work with. The consultant takes you through all the stages of the program, explains the process and works with you to create a flexible, tailored weight loss plan that suits your lifestyle and goals.

Having one-to-one support is critical to the success of the diet. Due to the extreme nature of this particular weight loss plan, following it can be very difficult. That’s where having a consultant who knows your history and goals well will help you stay on track – and their support will be invaluable when it all seems too challenging.

The Steps of the Cambridge Weight Plan

The Cambridge Weight Plan consists of 6 steps. Together with your consultant, you will be able to determine which step you should begin with, as some of the first steps are particularly demanding and may only need to be followed if you are aiming to lose a significant amount of weight.

Step 1 (AKA. Sole Source)

During Step 1, you will substitute all your daily meals with Cambridge Weight Plan meal replacement products. As the diet progresses, you will begin incorporating low-calorie everyday food into your diet, while still consuming some Cambridge Weight Plan low-calorie foods.

Your daily allowance will be:

  • Step 1A: 3 Cambridge Weight Plan products + 2.25 liters of fluids over the course of the day.
  • Step 1B: 4 Cambridge Weight Plan products + 2.25 liters of fluids over the course of the day.

Step 2

During this step, you will begin mixing Cambridge Weight Plan products with every day food. Your daily calorie allowance will be about 800kcal, and will consist of:

  • 3 Cambridge Weight Plan product + 200kcal meal.
  • 25 liters of fluids.

Step 3

During the third step of the program, you will continue mixing Cambridge Weight Plan meal replacement products with other food, but your calorie allowance will increase to about 1000 kcal and will include more everyday food products:

  • 2 Cambridge Weight Plan meal replacement products;
  • Breakfast (150kcal);
  • A green leaf salad (e.g., rocket, spinach, lettuce, radishes, celery, etc.) for lunch;
  • Dinner (400kcal);
  • 200ml skimmed milk or an alternative dairy product your consultant recommends;
  • 25 liters of fluids.

Step 4

You will continue mixing Cambridge Weight Plan products with every day food, but your calorie intake will continue to increase slightly (1200kcal). Your daily allowance will be:

  • 2 CWP meal replacement products;
  • Breakfast (200kcal);
  • A green leaf salad (e.g., rocket, spinach, lettuce, radishes, celery, etc.) for lunch;
  • Dinner (400kcal);
  • Bonus (100kcal);
  • Skimmed milk (300ml) or a suitable alternative recommended by your consultant;
  • Minimum 2.25 liters of fluids.

Step 5

Your calorie intake will increase to about 1500kcal, while the number of Cambridge Weight Plan products will be reduced to one, making you rely less on the products and more on low-calorie everyday food. Your daily allowance will be:

  • 1 Cambridge Weight Plan meal replacement product;
  • Breakfast (200kcal);
  • Lunch (400kcal);
  • Dinner (500kcal);
  • 100kcal bonus;
  • 300ml skimmed milk or a suitable dairy alternative recommended by your Consultant;
  • At least 2.25 liters of fluids over the course of the day.

Step 6

This is the final step of the program when you will have reached your weight loss goal. Your weight loss program will become a weight management program, as during this step, you will aim to maintain your ideal weight with the help of your consultant.

You will see the consultant once a month or so – to ensure you stay on the right track.

Is The Cambridge Weight Plan Effective?

Because Cambridge Weight Plan forces the body into the state of ketosis, it is said to be a highly effective weight loss method – and it is likely that you will manage to lose pounds quickly.

The official website has plenty of success stories from customers who have been able to lose unwanted weight with the help of this strict weight plan.

However, Cambridge Weight Plan requires high levels of commitment and willpower since your calorie consumption is very low for quite some time – so its effectiveness is closely linked to the effort of the individual aiming to lose weight.

The Pros And Cons Of The Cambridge Diet 

Here is our summary of the pros and cons of the diet:


  • Rapid results. As the diet severely limits your calorie consumption, it is an effective way to lose weight rapidly.
  • Almost guaranteed to succeed. If you follow the guidance of your consultant, you’re almost guaranteed to lose weight because of how strict the diet is.
  • Plenty of support. The plan offers personalized, one-to-one sessions with your consultant, helping you ensure that you are on the right track and encouraging you to carry on when it seems impossible.
  • Meal replacement. Receiving low-calorie meals is a bonus because it immediately makes a diet easier to follow. Having to shop for products that meet the requirements of a diet is quite tricky and requires a lot of effort and time. Receiving low-calorie meal substitutes makes the process a whole lot easier and more convenient.
  • Nutritionally balanced. Cambridge Weight Plan meal replacements are nutritionally balanced, meaning that even if you are severely limiting your calorie intake, your diet is still giving you the vitamins and minerals you need.


  • The cost. Cambridge Weight Plan is quite expensive, which may make it not readily accessible to those who can’t invest a hefty sum to achieve weight loss.
  • Not particularly healthy. Some medical professionals believe that it’s not healthy to send your body into the state of ketosis because you don’t only burn stored fat, but also muscle mass.
  • Side effects. Sending your body into the state of ketosis may have some unwanted side effects, which have been reported by users. The side effects include: hair loss, bad breath, dizziness, nausea and diarrhea.

How Can I Start the Cambridge Diet? 

The first step is visiting the official website and finding a consultant you’d like to work with in your area. The site provides a detailed description of each consultant along with their experience and success stories, and there are many consultants in each area to choose from.

Once you have found a local consultant you would like to work with, you get in touch with them directly, and they become your main advisor. They help you through each stage of the process – from preparation to weight management once you’ve lost the unwanted weight.


The diet is ideal for someone looking to lose weight quickly with plenty of support – and is effective because it forces the body to burn stored fat.

However, there are also downsides to the diet, such as the fact that forcing your body into ketosis isn’t perceived as healthy by health professionals.

There are also side effects that users have reported, such as thinning hair and bad breath.

Overall, if you wish to lose weight fast with the help of a professional consultant – this is a great option to consider. However, do bare in mind that you have to be fully committed to the diet to see positive results – and that it is quite costly.

Abbey Carlson, RD
Abbey Carlson, RD
Staff Writer at DietProbe
Abbey is a registered dietitian who specializes in human nutrition and obesity prevention.
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