Dr Bernstein Diet
The Dr Bernstein Diet involves following a tailored diet plan and attending regular one-to-one meetings. It is designed to offer long-term weight loss and maintenance. Clinics are however only located in the US and Canada and the cost is not disclosed.
Offering a diet plan that is tailored to your health and goals, the Dr Bernstein Diet is supposedly guaranteed to help an individual to lose 10lbs every month. The diet plan does not involve any weight loss supplements or meal replacement products, just alterations to day-to-day food intake.
Clients are given regular meetings at clinics, which are based in the US and Canada, to help them to keep track of their progress. They are encouraged to eat a balanced, low-calorie diet using a food list provided by the clinic.
The programme does not involve an exercise plan and the total cost of the diet is not disclosed, since it is said to vary between customers.
What is the Dr Bernstein Diet?
The Dr Bernstein Diet is run by the Dr Bernstein Diet and Health Clinics, which are located in numerous locations throughout the US and Canada. The official website states that Dr Bernstein was disappointed by the poor results of obesity treatments taught in medical treatment and so decided to design his own diet and weight loss programme. The programme guarantees that users will lose at least 10lb each month that they follow the plan correctly.
The programme is not a set price; it is stated that the cost will vary from individual to individual, since each person has different weight loss goals and needs. The more weight that needs to be lost, the more time and services will be required and as such, the more the programme will cost. There is however an offer of discounts for those purchasing lots of services at once and those under the age of 17 receive a 50% discount.
How does the Dr Bernstein Diet Work?
The Dr Bernstein weight loss programme has several different components. The diet should help to educate the user on what foods to eat and which to avoid, helping you to lose weight whilst maintaining a suitable intake of nutrients. Customers also have access to a diet book and a personal portal on the website, which offers a range of weight loss resources. The website also offers a healthy weight and BMI calculator, and those who are interested can sign up to receive a newsletter. Perhaps most importantly, the Dr Bernstein diet plan offers one-on-one support from a team of nurses, which provides on-going advice and support.
A lot of information about the Dr Bernstein Diet is only available once a person is signed up to the programme. We are however given a vague idea of how the diet is supposed to help with weight loss. The diet involves a reduction in overall calorie consumption. It is claimed to help to boost your metabolism and help to burn fat. In order to trigger ketosis – a process of fat breakdown – the diet restricts carbohydrate and fat consumption; this should help you to lose fat stores whilst maintaining your lean body mass. Cutting down sugar consumption is also part of the diet, which should help to control blood glucose levels and so reduce cravings and feelings of fatigue.
Unlike some other diet plans available, the Dr Bernstein Diet involves cooking meals yourself, rather than purchasing frozen dinners and meal-replacement products, helping the consumer to develop lasting habits for long-term weight maintenance following the initial weight loss. Although the diet does not involve any weight loss-specific supplements, the Dr Bernstein website has a shop where customers can purchase vitamin and mineral supplements to take alongside the diet, supposedly helping to reduce dieting side effects like hunger and fatigue.
Perhaps the main draw of the Dr Bernstein diet is that it involves regular meetings with nurses in a one-to-one situation. Some people find this contact very useful, helping them to stay motivated and keep track of their weight loss. Each dieter is seen individually and so any medical concerns can be taken into consideration; the centres can also help with the diagnosis and treatment of obesity-related conditions, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, sleep apnoea, and high cholesterol.
Finally, once a customer has achieved their desired weight, the Dr Bernstein programme has the option of developing a maintenance plan that is claimed to re-introduce many foods to your day-to-day diet without re-gaining the weight that you have lost. Exercise is encouraged, but is not included in the Dr Bernstein weight loss plan. This could be seen as a drawback of the programme. Studies suggest that a weight loss plan that incorporate both dieting and exercise is likely to be more effective than one based only on dieting.
Clinical Studies on the Dr Bernstein Diet
No clinical studies are mentioned on the Dr Bernstein website and the diet plan does not seem to have been subject to any clinical trials. Some of the general concepts that seem to be involved in the Dr Bernstein diet have been studied.
A clinical study is a way of testing the effectiveness of a product or treatment – in this case, a diet. It usually involves a treatment group and a control group, helping to quantify the potential effects of the diet and determine whether or not it is safe and effective for weight loss.
Clinical Studies on Low-Carb Diets for Weight Loss
It is not clear to what degree the Dr Bernstein Diet restricts carbohydrate intake, but it is stated that carbs are restricted to increase ketosis. A low-carb diet is understood to increase the accumulation of ketones – acids that are released after the breakdown of fat. Ketogenic diets are usually those that have low carbohydrate but high protein and high fat aspects. The Dr Bernstein diet is claimed to be low in both carbohydrates and fat. It is not yet known fully how effective low-carbohydrate diets are for weight loss.
A 2003 study investigated the effects of a low-carb diet on obesity. For this trial, 63 obese male and female participants were randomly allocated to one of two groups; the first consumed a low-carb, high-protein, high-fat diet, whilst the second consumed a low-calorie, high-carb, low-fat diet. There was little contact with the dieters and they continued with the trial for one year. After the first six months of the study, it was found that those on the low-carb diet had lost more weight than those on the conventional diet. Differences at the one-year mark however, were not significant. Some risk factors for coronary heart disease were improved more with the low-carb diet. The authors concluded that more studies are needed to confirm the long-term effects of a low-carb diet.
A second study reported similar results. For this trial, 132 severely obese men and women were allocated to receive either a carbohydrate-restricted diet or a calorie- and fat-restricted diet for a period of six months. The results suggested that both diets could cause weight loss, but that more weight loss occurred as a result of the carbohydrate-restricted diet than the more conventional diet. Again, the authors highlighted the need for more, longer term studies on the topic.
A systematic review of low-carbohydrate diets was published in The Lancet in 2004. The findings of this review were in line with those of the two studies mentioned above. They reported the results of two studies, which both compared the effects of a low-carbohydrate diet with those of a low-fat, calorie-restricted diet. The findings of both of these studies using obese subjects indicated that a carbohydrate-restricted diet could cause more weight loss after the first six months, but that the effects after 12 months were not significantly different to those of a conventional diet. It was concluded that weight loss achieved on these diets is more likely to be due to the duration of the diet and reduction in energy intake, rather than the restriction of carbohydrate intake specifically.
Clinical Studies on reducing Carb Intake to Prevent Cravings
It is mentioned on the official website that the Dr Bernstein Diet involves reducing sugar and carbohydrate intake in order to eliminate food cravings. There is a limited amount of evidence available in support of this claim. A study published in 2011, for example, looked at the effects of low-carbohydrate diets and low-fat diets on food cravings, preferences, and appetite. For this trial, a total of 270 obese adult subjects were randomly divided into two groups; the first group followed a low-carb diet whilst the second followed a low-fat diet for two years. Throughout the trial, the participants recorded their cravings for certain types of food (e.g. sweets, high-fat foods), preferences for certain foods (e.g. high-sugar or high-carb foods), and appetite.
The results of the trial indicated that a low-carb diet could significantly reduce cravings for carbohydrates and starches when compared to a low-fat diet. Preferences for high-carb and sugary foods were also reduced with the low-carb diet group, and the participants following this diet seemed to be less bothered by hunger than those in the low-fat group. The low-fat diet group did however exhibit significantly greater reductions in cravings for high-fat foods and preference for low-carb and high-protein foods. Interestingly, overall, men also showed greater reductions in appetite when compared to women.
Other Potential Health Benefits
It is claimed on the Dr Bernstein Diet webpage that the diet can lead to an array of health improvements. Since the programme involves the intake of a well-balanced diet as well as vitamin and mineral supplements, it is claimed that patients will have more energy and improved general wellbeing. The website lists a number of different diseases and conditions that are caused by obesity and as such, can supposedly be improved by the Dr Bernstein Diet. The Dr Bernstein programme may be useful for identifying and treating these conditions, since the nurses at the clinic are trained to do medical tests, such as blood pressure and cholesterol checks.
It is claimed that the Dr Bernstein weight loss programme can help to reduce or eliminate the need for diabetes medications and can improve cholesterol levels in almost all cases. Losing weight on the programme is also said to improve blood pressure, asthma, stomach ulcers, arthritis, and depression, amongst other conditions.
It should be noted that most of these health improvements would be the result of weight loss, not specifically of the Dr Bernstein Diet. Any diet that helps you to lose weight whilst maintaining a good nutrient balance should have the same health effects. Unlike most other diet programmes, the monitoring of health parameters offered during the Dr Bernstein programme would help you to keep an eye on any improvements.
Side Effects associated with the Dr Bernstein Diet
The Dr Bernstein Diet does not involve the consumption of weight loss supplements or meal replacement products. As far as we can tell, it involves a balanced diet that is not dangerously low in calories; that being said, we do not have full access to the diet plan and so cannot be certain. Since the plan seems to involve healthy foods and a balanced diet, it is unlikely to cause severe side effects for most people.
Some general side effects of dieting might be experienced; these are mentioned on the Dr Bernstein webpage and include hunger, cravings, fatigue, and irritability. The diet should be suitable for most people, since each plan is tailored to the individual. If you have a pre-existing health condition, this will be taken into account when the clinic devises your diet plan.
The Dr Bernstein diet involves reducing your calorie content whilst maintaining a healthy intake of nutrients. Throughout the programme, customers attend meetings with advisers at the Dr Bernstein clinics, where their progress is monitored. There are a number of resources available to customers. Clinics are however only located in certain parts of America and Canada; it is not clear whether or not you can follow the diet plan remotely. The plan also only involves structured advice on dieting and does not provide an exercise programme. Finally, the price of the diet plan is not disclosed since it will vary from individual to individual.
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