Does Rocco DiSpirito's 'pound a day' diet plan really work?


If you want to lose weight but find it difficult to go on a diet, celebrity chef Rocco DiSpirito says his diet program will allow you to eat your favorite food and still lose weight. DiSpirito, who is famous for his skills in preparing tempting dishes, introduced an accelerated weight-loss program in his "The Pound a Day Diet" book which hit bookshelves Jan. 7. Its goal is to help people shed up to 5 pounds in five days while allowing them to eat the food that they love, but does it really work?

According to DiSpirito, he lost about 40 pounds on his diet. He's also convinced that fast weight loss could motivate dieters to continue their momentum and, coupled with delicious diet recipes, makes up a plan that can be turned into a lifestyle. "It's a chef's point of view that's been missing in the world of health," DiSpirito said. "These recipes are easy to make and they taste great."

The Pound a Day diet is high in protein to boost metabolism and to keep dieters satisfied despite the low calorie count. "It's diet without deprivation," DiSpirito said. Phase one involves drinking lots of water and six protein-packed meals totaling 850 calories a day. Within four weeks, dieters should be at their goal weight and shift to phase two of the diet plan where they would have to learn how to rebalance portion size, consume less meat and add more vegetables, fruits, and whole grains in their diet.

Psychologists and nutritionists, however, warn of the risks of DiSpirito's diet program. The Pound a Day diet restricts calorie consumption to 850 pounds, which is considered a Very Low Calorie Diet (VLCD) that could cause malnutrition, they warned.

"... a person taking less than 1000 calories per day is going to have trouble getting in enough nutrition to maintain a healthy body - vitamins, protein, minerals, and other nutrients must be carefully consumed in order to avoid malnutrition when a person is on a diet with so few calories," said Brian Quebbemann, a surgeon and founder of the Nutrition, Exercise, and Wellness Program in Newport Beach, California.

According to Dr. J. Shah, chief medical director of Amari Medical, dieters may initially feel alert, energetic and sharp due to production of ketone from fat loss, but unless a diet plan is carried out properly, a person may lose muscle and water, and this may lead to confusion, mind fogginess, anxiety, and eventually depression.

Concurs Dr. Ramani Durvasula. According to Durvasula, post-diet, dieters may also have to struggle with feelings of frustration and failure if they are unable to keep the weight off. Diets, she said, are the single most consistent factor of eating disorders, and the Pound a Day diet could set people on that path.

Despite this, Rocco said that he created the diet with input from a doctor who helped him create it with the right balance of protein and nutrition.

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