Cambridge Diet: How does it work? + Experiences

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Posted by Linda O'Byrne (Atkins Nutritionist)

This article tells you all about the Cambridge Diet, what it is, how it works, what are the advantages and disadvantages, is the Cambridge Diet dangerous and the Cambridge diet experiences.

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What is the Cambridge Diet?

The Cambridge Diet is a diet known to help you lose weight fast. How much and how fast you lose weight depends on where you start. The Cambridge Diet is based on the use of meal replacements. In 1970 Dr. Alan Howard introduced the diet. The name is taken from the university where Dr. Howard, at that time, was connected. When following the Cambridge diet, you have three shakes throughout the day with a total of 330 calories. It's hard to maintain for the long term so meal replacements are used in the beginning and then phased out step by step, as you get closer to your goal weight. On this diet you have little preparation of foods.


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How does the Cambridge Diet work?

The Cambridge diet has evolved over time but now uses a seven-step plan. In the first step, you work towards your goal weight using meal replacements. Then you work towards a healthy diet. You are assigned a Cambridge Diet counselor near your home who will help you stick to the diet. The roadmap is as follows:

Total reset

In phase one you have only three meal replacements during the day and get no more than 500 calories a day. Learn about calories? We wrote this article earlier.

Back to basics

Besides the three meal replacements, you can eat 125g protein and 125g vegetables throughout the day.

Basic +

In phase 3, you still eat three daily meal replacements. Additionally, you can eat one serving of vegetables (250g), one serving of protein, two servings of milk, one serving of a cereal product and one serving of fruit.

In between

In this phase, you start eating some "normal" food. You reduce the number of meal replacements to two. Additionally eat 250g vegetables, one serving of protein, two servings of milk, one serving of a cereal product and one serving of fruit.

hi five

In this phase you go more towards your 'normal' diet. you can still here add an extra cereal next to everything in stage 4.

In the mix

You eat one meal replacement per day. Furthermore you eat one serving of vegetables, one serving of protein, three servings of milk, two servings of grain products, one serving of fruit, one serving of potatoes, rice or pasta.

my life

You may add an extra portion of fruit and potatoes, pasta or rice at this stage in phase 6.

Did you know that Atkins, ,also like the Cambridge Diet is a low carbohydrate diet? On Atkins, there are four phases. Here you can read more about the phases.

Cambridge Diet costs

There are costs associated with Cambridge. You can buy the Cambridge diet by signing up and you'll get a consultant in your area. These consultants are spread throughout the country. Also, online tutoring is possible. The exact cost of participation is not known to us. As well as guidance costs, you have to purchase Cambridge products. As you read in the roadmap, the Cambridge diet consists largely of meal replacements. These can only be ordered from your Cambridge consultant. In the table below you will find an overview of the different product groups and the associated costs.

Product group

Costs (per serving)


€ 2,65


€ 2,65

Bars and Bites 

€ 3,35 - € 3,75

Hot meals

€ 3,70

Porridges and desserts

€ 2,65



Drink mixes

€ 16,50 (30L)


€ (16,50 (lager portions)


 Because you, especially in the beginning of the Cambridge diet, need many products it can be quite costly. If we look at the total number of products you need, it averages about € 250, - and € 350, - per month. Then you need the 'normal' food as well. Before considering starting the Cambridge diet its important to be aware of the Cambridge diet costs.  

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Benefits of the Diet

weight loss
You do indeed lose weight when following the Cambridge diet. The Cambridge Diet is a high protein and low carbohydrate diet. Most people start at step 1 of the diet where you eat only meal replacements. This makes you lose weight fast.

weight loss


Short preparation time and little messages
Especially in the beginning when the main meal replacements eat you little time spent on preparing your meals. You do with meal replacements to add water for cooking. Besides eating you have to do in the beginning few other food that will make few other groceries. This touch you less tempted to bring home unhealthy products. Also provide the roadmap and consultant you sure you're clear about what you eat during the day. This can also make you less tempted to reach for unhealthy food too.

Personal assistance
You will be personally supervised diet while Cambridge by a consultant. Together imagine a plan. Furthermore, this consultant can help you at times when you're struggling.

Disadvantages of the Cambridge Diet

Lack of nutrients
Especially in the early stages of the Cambridge diet, you're recommended to take vitamins to prevent a shortfall of nutrients. Besides a shortage of healthy fats you don't get enough fibre in at this stage. Also you eat relatively few vegetables. You lose water weight on this diet so you can lose vitamins and minerals.

Slow metabolism
The low calorie intake can decrease your metabolism in the long term. In addition, in the first phase it's hard to exercise due to the low number of calories you ingest.

Yoyo effect
The yo-yo effect is the result of a delayed metabolism. When your metabolism slows down your body burns fewer calories. Due to the slowing of your metabolism, this can stall your results and even affect your metabolism long-term. Also, as you've been eating mainly just meal replacements, it's easy to fall into old, unhealthy eating patterns once you reintroduce food. This is why many people are often even heavier than before they started a crash diet. The more you try this diet again and fall back into your old eating habits, the more likely you are heavier than before.

yoyo effect cambridge diet

High cost
As mentioned previously, the cost of participating in the Cambridge diet is very high as you have to buy the products to follow this diet

Complaints while following the diet
There is no evidence that the Cambridge diet is dangerous. However, there are many problems that can arise when following the Diet such as headache, nausea, muscle aches, dizziness, bad breath and constipation.

Complaints cambridge diet


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Cambridge Diet vs. Atkins

On the Cambridge Diet you can lose weight quickly in a short term. However, there are high costs associated with this diet, there are many complaints while following the diet and not everyone has a positive experience on the Cambridge diet. Are you looking for a diet that works in the long term and has no high costs? The low-carbohydrate Atkins diet will help you to lose weight and keep it off in the long term too.. Want to know more about how the Atkins diet works? In this article, find out why Atkins can help you on your way to your ideal goal weight.

Atkins will help you achieve your goals!