While many fad eating plans rise and fall in popularity faster than you can say "oat bran pancake" (looking at you Dr. Dukan), it might surprise you to know there are a few diets that continuously resurface on the internet every few years. (See: Souping, the Military Diet, Master Cleanse and the DIY lemon detox.) The latest weight loss regime to re-emerge? The GM Diet.
According to The Australian, this little-known slimming plan was crazy-popular in the '80s, and has recently resurfaced from deep on the interwebs, gaining a whole new generation of devotees. Named for its somewhat odd association with General Motors—apparently it was originally developed for use by employees of the company—it's rumoured to have been tested at the Johns Hopkins research centre before being approved for use. These days it's taking weight loss forums by storm, with many enchanted by a promise of rapid slimming—think losses of up to seven kilos a week. In fact, last year Google listed the GM diet as one of the most searched for, right up there with Paleo and 5:2.
Keep scrolling to find out what's involved.
What is it?
Basically, it's a seven-day meal plan that promises rapid weight loss. How it truly works is a bit of a mystery (aside from an obvious restriction in calories), but depending on what you read, factors such as consuming fewer carbs and added sugars, and eating a lot of fibre may be involved. The food plan itself is weird to say the least. From Day 5's beef and tomato-only menu, to Day 7's brown rice breakfast, the diet features a seemingly random assortment of foods.
What do you eat?
Day 1: Involves strictly fruit, but no bananas. (It's recommended you eat mostly melon.)
Day 2: Unlimited veggies, raw or cooked, and a baked potato for breakfast.
Day 3: A mix of fruit and veggies. No banana or potato.
Day 4: An interesting combo—eight small bananas, and three glasses of skim milk.
Day 5: Precisely six whole tomatoes, and approximately 60 grams of beef. If you're vegetarian, you can substitute with cottage cheese.
Day 6: Roughly 60 grams of meat again, plus unlimited veggies.
Day 7: Allows for brown rice, fruit juice and unlimited vegetables.
Green tea and black coffee are also allowed, and eight to 10 glasses of water are required daily. If you're plagued by unbearable hunger pangs, it's recommended you consume a cabbage-based soup as needed.
So, Does It Work?
According to The Australian, GM dieters have reported losses of up to seven kilos in one week. On Reddit, where followers of the eating plan congregate to discuss results, user Billsill says he lost just under five kilos. In another forum, Moto Girl posted a loss of over three kilos. But while these slim-down stories seem impressive, what's lesser known is how many participants have maintained their new weight on switching to a balanced diet. Our guess? Not many.
As always, we recommend booking in with an expert in weight loss before embarking on any sort of restricted eating plan or exercise regime in order to maximise both your chances of success and overall health in the process.