Monday, September 19, 2005

'The Cookie Diet' Doctor Avoids Answering Questions About Weight Loss Program

After posting my previous blog entry entitled "Don't Lose Your Cookies With This Mystery Diet," I sent a link to it to the Siegal Medical Weight Management e-mail address. I received a message back within an hour stating that they were having trouble accessing my blog (how hard is it to type in in a web browser?!) and that they "would like to make sure that (my) description of (their) program is accurate."

"We are more than just a cookie," proclaimed Dr. Scott Greenberg. He suggested people visit his web site for more information, which I provided in my original e-mail.

But I again sent an e-mail to Dr. Greenberg asking him to respond to my specific questions about "The Cookie Diet." I believe they were very legitimate questions to ask so that prospective patients know what they are getting themselves into.

Dr. Greenberg sent back a scathing e-mail rebuking me for publishing "misinformation" about "The Cookie Diet."

"I will open and say that you should do more research on a program before posting misinformation on your website. It is not professional to make assumptions about the Siegal Medical Weight Management program without a thorough investigation of the facts."

What "misinformation" are you referring to, Dr. Greenberg? I passed no judgment on "The Cookie Diet" except to say that I have some real questions about it before I can comment on it fully. That was one of the reasons why I sent the questions to you so the answers could be revealed and we could all learn more about this interesting diet.

But then Dr. Greenberg went on to list 7 "fact" statements about his philosophy on weight loss and dieting as if to lecture me on something I must not know anything about. Let's deal with each of these "facts" one-by-one:

"Fact #1: This program has been used to treat more than 600,000 patients over 35 years. The longest patient has been followed consecutively for 27 years and has maintained her weight loss."

I never said people didn't lose weight on "The Cookie Diet," Dr. Greenberg. It is not necessary to get all defensive about your method for helping people lose weight. I'm happy for those 600,000 patients since 1970 who have found success eating cookies to control their weight. More power to them and may God bless them with many years of healthy living. That's my goal for anyone who is overweight or obese, no matter which plan they use to get there.

"Fact #2: The 'Atkins' and other low-carb approaches do not teach portion control nor help the patient learn to eat for hunger. Many low-carb diets actually teach the patient that they can eat large quantities of low-carb food and not gain weight. This is why many people will rapidly regain the weight lost on these programs. The Siegal cookie teaches the patient a healthy behavior of eating for HUNGER, and recognizing what it feels like to be satisfied. As you know, many people who gain weight do so for emotions, stress, PMS, or depression and eat at times when they are not hungry."

Now we're getting somewhere. Dr. Greenberg hates livin' la vida low-carb plain and simple. This is not surprising considering he has been indoctrinated in the philosophy that low-fat/low-calorie/portion-controlled eating is the ONLY way to lasting weight loss and weight maintenance. Guess what, Dr. Greenberg? I don't have to portion control my meals on the low-carb lifestyle. I can eat as much or as little as I desire. It's that kind of freedom to eat while STILL losing weight that makes livin' la vida low-carb so attractive to so many people.

His philosophy is like the people who wrote this book and they think everyone should have to suffer with eating tiny little meals until they get so hungry they just give up trying to lose weight entirely. This is not good. The only reason peopl would "rapidly" gain weight following low-carb is if they stop monitoring their carbohydrate intake. As long as you stay on the program, it is very effective at keeping your weight under control. I couldn't have lost 180 pounds and kept it off this long if it didn't work, Dr. Greenberg!

"Fact #3: Our patients lose 12-15 pounds per month. Those that do not are MEDICALLY evaluated for metabolic conditions and are then appropriately treated. We have many patients, especially women, who cannot lose weight on any other program, but do so on ours after appropriate medical treatment."

Again, I am happy for the success people have had on "The Cookie Diet" and I wish those who try it the very best at losing and keeping their weight off for good. But the same can be said about livin' la vida low-carb. People have success on it when it becomes their lifestyle change. If something can be implemented as a permanent way to eat for the rest of your life, then I encourage people to do that. For me it was the low-carb lifestyle and for others it may be "The Cookie Diet." But people need to find SOME way to make it happen for themselves.

"Fact #4: We do not publish the ingredient list on our website, but it is furnished in the office for anyone to see. Crest toothpaste or Coca Cola do not list ingredients on their sites. Anyone who calls our office can have access to the list of ingredients, amount of protein, fiber, etc.... Generally speaking our cookies have 80 calories each, and have a specific blend of proteins and amino acids that naturally suppress the appetite. While the cookies are 80 calories, they have a satiety index of 240 calories. IE they make you feel as full as a 240 calorie meal. Coke, on the other hand, has 220 calories, but a satiety of only 80 calories."

Why so secretive about the ingredients, Dr. Greenberg? If you are not ashamed of these miracle weight loss cookies, then why don't you post what's in them on your web site. The Crest and Coke examples are straw man arguments because you can find these in your local store and read the ingredients for yourself. But not with the cookies in "The Cookie Diet." You have to call or sign up for the program before you are even allowed to know the nutritional information. Isn't it funny how I asked in my previous post about the fiber, sugar and carbohydrate content of these cookies and Dr. Greenberg simply avoided answering my simple questions about his product? Sure he tells me they have 80 calories (I don't care about calories) and they are high on the satiety index (again, didn't ask about that). What does he have to hide by not being forthcoming about the nutritional content of these cookies? Inquiring minds want to know.

"Fact #5: A boring diet: This program has its advantage as being simple. Our patients do not weigh food, count points, or have to plan numerous meals. They eat their 6 cookies throughout the day and eat a dinner of a protein (chicken, fish, turkey, lean meat, etc...) and vegetables. If you look at major weight loss studies published from places such as Harvard and Yale, patients need to lose weight rapidly to stay committed. When someone is losing 12-15 pounds per month, feeling better, looking better, and seeing parameters of health such as blood pressure and cholesterol improve, they are hardly bored. The dropout rate of our program is under 10%, and virtually all of our new patients come from word of mouth referral."

While "The Cookie Diet" may be simple because the cookies are ready to eat every single day, I still think having to scarf down six cookies a day, every single day, every single week, every single month, for every single year will DEFINITELY get boring. And they think the Atkins diet is boring! Yikes, I'd be pulling my hair out if all I could eat were these mystery cookies day after day. For a great way to "lose weight rapidly," I highly recommend livin' la vida low-carb which delivers on this point. I lost 30 pounds the first month and 40 MORE pounds in the second month. It was an unbelieveable feeling to see the weight coming off that quickly and motivated me to eventually reach 180 pounds lost. I was not bored doing this despite the naysayers. If people can stick with "The Cookie Diet" and allow their weight loss success to excite them enough to continue on with it, then more power to them. Who am I to stand in their way?

"Fact #6: The doctor supervision is not a 'gimmick.' Your statement is highly insulting, and we have dedicated professionals trained to treat obesity, a medical condition. If doctors were not needed for weight loss, then the average loss of the typical commercial programs would be far greater. A recent JAMA article compared the Zone, Atkins, Weight Watchers, and Ornish, and the average weight loss after a year was about 6 pounds."

Well, I still think "The Cookie Diet" is indeed a "gimmick" because it makes people think they can eat cookies and lose weight which is only partially true. If you are insulted by this assertion, then you really should get thicker skin. In the debate over weight loss methods and nutrition, low-carbers know what it is like to be ridiculed for our lifestyle choice. It just comes with the territory. Dr. Greenberg should expect the same or even worse scrutiny with "The Cookie Diet."

As for needing doctors, I agree they can assist their patients in weight loss. Mine even converted from being opposed to low-carb before I started my weight loss and has now become a full-fledged believer BECAUSE of my weight loss success. As for the JAMA article about weight loss on various diet plans, I sincerely doubt someone who stayed committed to the Atkins program wholeheartedly for a full year would only lose 6 pounds. I'm not buying it, Dr. Greenberg and neither are my readers.

"Fact #7: The taste of the cookies is fine.... our shakes are good too. We do not mail samples of cookies for you to taste, we run a medical program, and patients get to taste the cookies during their initial visit. If anyone is still skeptical, we offer free consultation."

Am I supposed to take your word that "the taste of the cookies is fine?" I must ask again, why is Dr. Greenberg avoiding answering the questions that have been posed to him? If he believes so strongly in "The Cookie Diet" as the cure to end weight loss forever, why is he afraid to have an object third-party give honest feedback about how the cookies taste? What the heck does a "free consultation" have to do with how the cookies taste? Are these questions I asked of Dr. Greenberg that difficult to answer?

Dr. Greenberg concluded his e-mail by characterizing "The Cookie Diet" as "the most successful, longest established, medically supervised" weight loss and weight maintenance program available today.

"Please do more research on the facts before publishing misinformation," he wrote.

I think I have made it very clear that I did not miss any of the facts. But I still have a lot of questions that were left unanswered. What are the ingredients? What is the nutritional content of these cookies? Do they have sugar or sugar alternatives in them? How can we know these cookies actually taste good if you are unwilling to let people try them who do not want to commit to your program? How much do the cookies cost?

None of these questions were answered by Dr. Greenberg because he is apparently afraid his honest answers to these questions would prevent people from trying "The Cookie Diet" for themselves. Here's a grand opportunity for him to market his program to the public and he's not interested in sharing these "facts" with them. This is very telling if you ask me!

Dr. Greenberg got in one parting shot about my personal weight loss by stating "it takes 2 years to reset the brain's set point for weight."

I'm not sure what that is supposed to mean, but I guess he is assuming I haven't made it with my own weight loss yet. And I have admitted that many times. I do not think I have accomplished anything until I can keep my weight off for at least three years. That means I need to make it until January 1, 2008, which will be the 3-year anniversary of my 180-pound weight loss. But that doesn't mean I don't have a right to pen my thoughts on the subject of weight loss until then.

"The Cookie Diet" may sound like an innovative way to lose weight, but these nagging questions I guess will continue to go unanswered because Dr. Greenberg doesn't deem them relevant for people to know. What is it about the cookies in this program that Dr. Greenberg is keeping from the public? I guess we'll never know.

8-6-07 UPDATE: A VERY IMPORTANT UPDATE to this story has taken place, so please click here to read all about it.

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Blogger Kevin Kennedy-Spaien said...

Hey Jimmy!

Sorry to tell you, but:

"The taste IS fine"
"The cookies ARE fine"
"The taste of the cookies IS fine"

I feel sad, though when a food manufacturer describes the flavor of their product as "fine". That's kind on damning with faint praise.

Keep fighting the good fight!

-Kevin "Mister Tut" Kennedy-Spaien

9/21/2005 10:42 PM  
Blogger Jimmy Moore said...

THANKS for the correction Kevin! I still don't buy the fact that these cookies are good. Let me be the judge of that. :-)

9/22/2005 8:14 AM  
Blogger katie_kate_kate said...

To call them "cookies" is misleading as they are just there to keep you moving through the day - not to satiate a sweet craving. I have lost 15 lbs in 5 weeks on the 'Cookie Diet', and for me it has been very exciting. It's given me hope and is bringing me closer to my goal. Plus, I don't like to cook and have travel for work, so carrying these in my purse all day keeps me free from being tied down to meal times, complicated meals, etc. It's an exciting diet that requires dedication and delivers results.

5/16/2006 9:09 PM  
Blogger Jimmy Moore said...

CONGRATULATIONS on your success, KKK! I wish you well in your cookie diet lifestyle change. If it works for you, then GO FOR IT!

5/16/2006 9:46 PM  
Blogger shima said...

Your blog is very good.
Will you link my blog?

3/05/2008 4:07 AM  
Blogger a1-notebook said...

I lost 20 pound on the smart for life cookie diet not the seigel one I tried his also but I found the cookies to be tastless

5/14/2008 12:44 PM  
Anonymous Fletcher said...

Hi jimmy, its a nice article.Learnt a lot about the cookies.According to me the diet is the sum of food consumed by a person or other organism.Dietary habits are the habitual decisions an individual or culture makes when choosing what foods to eat. Although humans are omnivores, each culture holds some food preferences and some food taboos. Individual dietary choices may be more or less healthy. Proper nutrition requires the proper ingestion and equally important, the absorption of vitamins, minerals, and fuel in the form of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats.thanks ya

7/12/2008 5:20 AM  
Anonymous aquagirl1277 said...

Smart for Life has cookies that are great! they have so many different flavors. I know a girl who lost 105lbs in 6 months on it & I use it and lift weights. There are 2 different programs the medical program is great to get the weight right off and the higher calorie to loose 6-8 lbs a month or maintain your weight it’s great they also have shakes, soups, and muffins. Check it out there’s offices everywhere. I’m in south Florida in Jupiter, if you go in there ask for Heather You can get $$$50 OFF!

3/12/2009 2:58 PM  

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