Hospital Diet

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Posted by Linda O'Byrne (Atkins Nutritionist)

In this article you'll learn all about the hospital diet, what is it, what are the advantages and disadvantages, plus you will find an example of a hospital diet schedule.

The hospital diet is still very rare, and you may not have heard of it but we can tell you more about it. Want to know more about the hospital diet? Read on!

What you will learn in this article:

  • What is the hospital diet?
  • Where did the hospital diet originate from?
  • Benefits of a hospital diet
  • Disadvantages of a hospital diet
  • Hospital Diet and exercise
  • Hospital Diet experiences
  • Hospital Diet vs. Atkins

The hospital diet is a crash diet that lets you lose a lot of weight in a short time. This may be what you're looking for if you have an event, such as a wedding, or are due to have an operation but have to lose weight first.

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Where did the hospital diet originate from?

As its name suggests, the diet originated from the hospital. The diet was originally intended to let overweight patients lose weight in a short time, many before a major operation. Today, the hospital diet is mainly used for anyone who wants to lose weight quickly in a short time.

How does the hospital diet work?

With the hospital diet, the number of calories is drastically reduced in your diet. When following the hospital diet, you only get between 800 and 1000 calories per day which is a big difference from a normal calorie intake. Normally, the calorie intake of a man is about 2500 calories man and an average of 2,000 calories for women. Due to the lower number of calories you ingest, on the hospital diet, your body is forced to burn fat -and muscle energy.

On this diet you eat no more than three times a day: breakfast, lunch and dinner. In addition, eat small portions and certain foods, such as herbs and spices, are excluded.

Hospital Diet

Hospital diet schedule vs. carbohydrate diet schedule

The hospital diet only allows small portions of low-fat foods. On this diet you would be continually hungry and would you like that? If not, then try a low-carb diet plan instead. On a low carb diet, you eat more protein and fat rich foods so you feel less hungry and your diet is much more healthy and sustainable. 

Benefits of the hospital diet


Fast results

One of the biggest advantages of the hospital diet is that you can lose weight quickly. It depends on the person how much weight you want to lose. Quick results can motivate you and can be useful prior to a special occasion such as a vacation, a wedding or surgery.

It is easy to follow

The hospital diet menu is easy for everyone to follow. You don't need to spend a lot of time preparing meals and all foods are available in ordinary supermarkets. This diet is accessible to everyone.

Limited costs

The last major advantage is that there are few costs related to the diet. You do not need expensive special food. All the food you consume this diet ingest is readily available in the supermarket.

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Disadvantages of the hospital diet

Lack of nutrients

Because you eat a lot less, and less variety of food, you can get deficient in certain nutrients that your body needs to function properly. This will make you feel tired and weak after a few days. In addition, you have to deal quickly with muscle wasting because you're not getting enough protein in a hospital diet schedule.

Continuous hunger

Chances are, due to the low calorie intake, you will have a constant hunger. If you are someone who gets hungry quickly, this diet is difficult to sustain. Also you aren't allowed snacks between meals.

You'll likely experience to the yo-yo effect

You get quick results on the hospital diet, but what if you stop this diet after a few days or weeks? Once you lapse quickly into your old eating habits, you'll quickly regain the weight - and more. It's important to find a diet that you can stay on, for life, that will help you lose weight and keep it off

Negative impact on your immune system

Following the hospital diet in the long-term may have a negative effect on your immune system. This is due to the lack of various nutrients. It also can lead to mood swings and can trigger the certain stress hormones.

Hospital Diet and exercise

Because you ingest less energy than is normal, it's not wise to work out very intensely while following the hospital diet. The same goes for physically demanding jobs. If you have a physically demanding profession, or like to exercise, then eat and drink a little extra.

Hospital Diet experiences

The experiences of the hospital diet are positive in the short term. There are few symptoms initally and many are pleased with the quick weight loss. However, the hospital diet experiences in the longer term are less positive. Most people fall back into their old pattern, and are often even heavier than before the diet. Other adverse experiences are as follows:

  • Nausea
  • Heartburn
  • Dizziness

Hospital Diet vs. Atkins

In the above article you have seen that the hospital diet works well if you want to lose weight quickly in a short term. However, it is also clear that it is difficult to keep on the diet in the long-term and it can cause health problems and often leads to extra weight gain once you go back to your 'normal' eating patterns.

On the Atkins diet you count carbohydrates, instead of calories, and eat more satiating food, from fat and protein. This means you'll feel fuller for longer and you will therefore not suffer from the hunger that you'd feel on the hospital diet. With the Atkins diet you still get fast weight loss but probably less rapidly than with the hospital diet. However, the Atkins diet is much easier to sustain and you can work through the phases to make it easier. Read more about the four phases of Atkins