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The Coconut Diet    by Cherie Calbom order for
Coconut Diet
by Cherie Calbom
Order:  USA  Can
Warner, 2005 (2005)

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*   Reviewed by Melissa Parcel

At a time of heightened popularity for the Atkins and other low-carb diets, Cherie Calbom has come up with an ingredient she claims will produce more weight loss in a faster period of time - virgin coconut oil. In The Coconut Diet, she gives the rationale and the research behind her recommendations, and provides a step-by-step series of guidelines on how to follow this regime.

The first five chapters discuss the basis for the coconut diet. Following that is the presentation of a 21-day kickoff which is quite strict. Almost all fruit and dairy products are forbidden. Recipes and menus are provided. Phase II is a cleansing program for 'elimination of waste and toxins.' Phase III is the maintenance portion, with recipes and menus included. As a dietitian, I am troubled by the lack of clinical research to support the author's claims that all this restriction, as well as the cleansing, is needed. Many of the professional journals quoted are older and don't necessarily state that coconut oil is the miracle weight loss ingredient it's claimed to be. I also have a difficult time recommending a diet that cuts out entire food groups, even for a short period of time. Focusing a diet around a single ingredient (coconut) decreases variety and increases the likelihood that people will stop following this eating plan due to boredom.

If you love coconut - and you will need to in order to follow this diet - then it might be worth a try. Some ingredients may be difficult to find and many of the recipes are complicated and require foodstuffs that many will not have in their kitchens - curry pastes for example. Also, on the maintenance plan, only seven days worth of menus and recipes are provided, which may not be enough if you're new to this style and manner of cooking. I find The Coconut Diet too restrictive and labor intensive to recommend. Almost all research shows that a healthy, low calorie diet combined with exercise is the best approach to permanent weight loss (and this book barely gives exercise a mention).

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