A friend gave us a diet from Sacred Heart Memorial Hospital for overweight heart patients to lose weight.

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A friend gave my husband a copy of a diet from Sacred Heart Memorial Hospital (location??) that is supposedly used in their cardiac care unit for overweight heart patients to lose weight prior to having surgery. It’s a 7-day fat-burning diet consisting of vegetable soup, fruit, vegetables, skimmed milk, lean beef or skinless chicken breast, and brown rice–all of the above eaten on specific days. The soup is eaten every day. In addition, lots of water, black coffee or tea, unsweetened fruit juice and skimmed milk are recommended daily. Have you ever heard of this?

Supposedly, you achieve a weight loss of 10 to17 pounds in 7 days will occur. If you have heard of it, could you give me more specifics if there are any? Thanks.

There is no such thing as a “fat burning diet”. You “burn” body fat by either eating less food than your body needs or doing aerobic exercise. What you have seems to be a variation of the cabbage soup diet. I highly doubt that a hospital would recommend a 7-day diet for overweight heart patients, especially in a cardiac care unit. This diet would not be approved by the Joint Commission on the Accreditation of Health Care Facilities (JCAHC) which accredits hospitals in order to admit patients. I also doubt that lots of black coffee with caffeine would be recommended since caffeine is a heart stimulant as it causes the heart to beat harder.  Certainly not what a heart patient in a cardiac care unit needs.

The maximum amount of weight (fat or muscle) a person can lose in a day is 1/2 pound. Any additional weight loss is water. Since the body is about 60% water and 1 gallon of water weighs 8 pounds, a person can see weight losses greater than 1/2 pound on a scale simply by losing body water on a quick weight loss diet. However, when your body replaces the water lost, weight gain will re-occur. So you are right back to where you started at an unhealthy weight.

Research has proven that quick weight loss is quickly regained. Studies have shown that gradual weight loss, a lower calorie/fat eating plan, exercise and keeping food records is more likely to result in permanent weight loss. Weight loss of 1 to 2 pounds per week is slow enough. A goal of losing 10% of your current weight has been shown to improve your health risk and maybe a more reasonable, attainable goal. So figure 10% of your weight as a weight loss goal, then divide by 1 or 2 to determine how many weeks it will take you assuming you follow this advice. Or set a weight loss goal that you can achieve in 1 month. Then pat yourself on the back for reaching your goal. Next set another 1-month goal.

I would suggest you start with the Healthy Body Calculator® to calculate a healthy weight range using your physical data and view Your Nutrition Facts for a Calorie Goal recommendation for gradual weight loss. If you need help with meal planning for weight loss, I would suggest you see a Registered Dietitian. Or on the calculator results page, click on the button “do you need a healthy eating plan” and your data will be transferred to HELP. HELP Healthy Eating For Life Plan® will create a personalized eating plan with your food preferences for the type of milk, meat, beans, and snacks. There is a small food database linked from your eating plan from which you can create daily menus.