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GM Diet: My Experiments with the Truth…

You may love it or you may hate it, but I am very sure, if you are seeking for weight-loss methods, you can never ignore it. General Motors Diet or popularly known GM Diet, ranks highest in the most-sought diet charts. Surprisingly, I have yet not found any information about GM Diet on any of the official sites of General Motors (update me if I have missed any).

Various sites, blogs and forums have discussed about GM diet, but in a scattered manner. My primary intention behind this post is to represent various facets of this diet plan and to give a comprehensive overview, based on the experiences of my own as well as of my friends.

Background:

This diet plan was introduced at a general meeting of General Motors Corp. on 15th August 1985, initially intended for the use of the employees of General Motors company, to facilitate wellness and fitness. It was granted by the United States Agricultural Department and the FDA, further tested by the Johns Hopkins Research Centre.

It was designed as a ‘De-toxification diet program’, to improve ones metabolism through its cleansing systemic effects, reflected by an improved disposition and a feeling of well being. As an end-result, a weight loss of 4-6 kgs was expected within the program-week.

The plan:

Here is the day-wise diet plan and its dietary significance. I have added few things from my experience and experiments, which worked.

Day 1:

Fruits of any kind (except bananas) in any quantity. The most preferred fruits are the melons and cantaloupes, due to their high water content. In addition, you should drink at least 10 glasses of water.

By eating fruits, you are preparing your system for the upcoming program. Fresh fruits are nature’s perfect food, providing all essential elements needed to sustain life. Fruits are also a good source of antioxidants and are fiber-rich. Fruits are also considered as a negative-calorie food, thus burning more calories for its digestion than those provided.

Believe me, I have done GM diet twice and have found this day the most difficult one. Firstly because of the sweetish taste of all fruits, and further due to an intense craving for bread or spices, that one develops towards the end of the day. The solution for this is the Soup to break the monotony of the fruity taste.

Day 2:

The day can start with a large baked potato with one pat of butter for breakfast. It definitely fills you with complex carbohydrates to start your day after the first sweety-fruity day.

For the rest of the day, you should eat all sorts of vegetables of your choice, raw or cooked. Vegetables have very less calories, high in nutrients and fiber. There is no limit on the amount. This should be added with drinking at least 10 glasses of water.

One can also mash a baked potato, add some onion & curd, and spice it up with chaat masala & red chilli powder and pinch of salt.

Day 3:

This day consists of a combination of fruits and vegetables of your choice, except banana & potato. In addition, you should drink at least 10 glasses of water. Potato is avoided on this day since the carbohydrates are available from the fruits that you eat.

One can do varieties of salads mixed with fruit slices. If you take more cucumber and melons, it’s more likely to lose weight than any other vegetables or fruits. Adding a curd to vegetable salad, in a ‘raita’ form will make it more palatable towards the evening, when it gets monotonous.

Day 4:

A day when you can eat nothing but eight bananas coupled with three glasses of milk. It is not mandatory to eat 8 bananas; you can have less as well. In fact, you might feel satisfied within 4-5 bananas within the whole day. This is the day when you can clearly feel your food-craving diminishing significantly. It feels divine, to get over your ‘desires’. Do not forget to drink at least 10 glasses of water, as always.

Bananas will act as a provider of carbohydrates that is easy to digest, coupled with sodium and potassium reserve.

Day 5:

This is considered as a ‘Feast day’, where you should eat up to two portions of lean beef (10 oz.) combined with six whole tomatoes – as a source of fiber. On this day, you should increase your daily water intake to at least 14 glasses. This is to cleanse your system of the uric acid getting produced. You will experience colorless urine on this day.

Beef is a source of proteins & iron, and thus an alternative can be paneer (tofu – soya paneer for better results) coupled with mushrooms for the vegetarians. Many people have recommended rice as a replacement to beef, but if one considers the nutritive contents, rice can not be the right surrogate.

Day 6:

Another day with beef and vegetables. Today you can eat any amount of beef combined with cooked or raw vegetables. Keep your daily water intake to 14 glasses. You can add the Soup to add some spice to your day.

Iron and proteins from the beef or paneer-mushroom combination, while fiber and nutrients from the vegetables. Till this time, you must have experienced an energetic feeling and an awareness of the power of natural food items.

Day 7:

The food intake on this day should consist of a bowl of brown rice with fruit juices and any vegetables you want to eat. Drink 14 glasses of water.

The juices will break the fast (?) providing the essential nutrients along with the vegetable stuffing. The brown rice provides the carbohydrates.

Now you must be at least 4 kgs lighter than day one, yet more energetic and free from the cravings for high-calorie stuff.

The Soup:

The following soup is a modified version of the GM Wonder Soup since it is not possible to get the Lipton Onion soup mix everywhere, as suggested in GM Soup. The modified soup goes parallel to the ‘rassam’ or ‘saaram’, served in south India. This soup is allowed to be consumed in large quantities throughout the program. It is intended as a supplement to your diet.

Boil few large-cut onions, tomatoes, cabbage, and celery in water. Add the sambhar masala for the taste. You may also add tomato-puree (but with the skin) instead of tomatoes to make it thicker. One can season it with herbs and flavorings. You may also add: asparagus, peas, corn, cauliflower, green beans or finely chopped mushroom.

General instructions for all days:

  • You may squeeze a lemon to flavor the water that you drink every day.
  • No alcohol of any kind since it adds empty calories.
  • Salt should be used as less as possible.
  • Use artificial sweetener, in case you can’t stay away from the sweet taste.
  • No fruit juices till day seven.
  • Black coffee or tea is allowed.

You may repeat the schedule, if you want further weight loss, but it is suggested that you should take a gap of at least two weeks in between two schedules.

========

Now the most important part: the doubts, accusations and myths.

“It works just by losing the water content of the body and not actually a fat loss.”

  • Firstly, there is no mention of restricting the water intake on any day. How can one lose only water if we are consuming at least 10-14 glasses of water every day, added with the unlimited quantity of soup and the water contained in the melons, fruits and vegetables?
  • It basically acts on the principle of ‘negative calorie foods’ where you are consuming certain foods that demand more calories to burn themselves than what they provide themselves. High-fiber food stuffs you but doesn’t provide the required calories, instead demands more calories to burn themselves, which is derived from the stored energy-deposits.

“Skin gets dry and you may lose your hair during and after the GM diet

  • At least I have not met anyone in my acquaintance complaining of this, but found this on few blog-posts. The reason can be insufficient amount of water intake and not supplying enough protein sources on specific days.

“It is a temporary loss and you regain all lost weight in couple of weeks.”

  • Obviously, if you resume your high-calorie food once again. It is not difficult to lose weight, but to maintain it. Malvika, my wife who is a dietician, always recommends a maintenance diet program after the GM diet schedule as follows:
    • Only liquids in the form of soups, buttermilk or fruit juices for dinner on three consecutive days in a week. This should be followed endlessly, until you want your weight to bounce back.
    • Drink plenty of water as if you are on GM diet.
    • Exercise regularly.

“It’s just a Crash-diet and a Fad, nothing else!!”

  • First of all, it is not promoted as a weight-loss diet, but a Detox diet that cleanses your system from within. Weight loss is just a by-product of it.
  • Even if one looks at it as a ‘crash-diet’, it surely will not harm you, but will ‘move’ your weight in the least period, thus motivating many who tend to leave their regular diet and exercise regimens within first month, for not getting desired results. Once you can ‘see’ your weight dropping, it boosts your will to try further.
  • As said above, it is futile unless you back it up with a maintenance program. You can not be on GM diet for lifetime, nor you can or should do it every month. Instead use is as an initial-motivator and switch to a liquid-dinner course later.

MY OWN EXPERIENCE:

I myself have done GM diet twice. The first time I was very sincere in following it. Thanks to my wife and my mother, who made all arrangements for the foods on each day. I lost 4 kgs towards the fifth day. I could not lose any further on the last two days and I presume that to the rice I ate, as a substitute to the beef. The lost weight remained there for a month, in spite of not maintaining it actively. I could have lost at least half a kilo more, if I would have stayed away from the rice, which in any case I do not like to eat.

The next time I started it, but had to leave it in between due to some unavoidable circumstances. But had seen significant change in my weight and the energy level for the four days that I followed it.

The most significant gain has been with my lipids coming down to normal. I have had really bad lipid levels for two years and after following GM diet twice, being on statins and taking self-prescribed homeopathic medicines for the same, the latest levels of lipids were perfectly within normal limits. The credit goes to the high-fiber rich GM diet as well.

THE CONCLUSION:

If followed sincerely, GM diet has a definite positive effect of its own on our metabolism. I agree that it is not an end in itself, and one needs to maintain the metabolism by appropriate food habits and exercise regimen. GM diet can not be a ‘quick & easy’ substitute to ‘efforts’, but surely can be a booster for those who have never seen their weight going downhill, providing a ‘kick-start’.

As Malvika, my wife who is a dietician, says, ‘one should take a diet that s/he can follow for the lifetime…’ and that’s true! You can never have GM diet for everyday, since there are so many delicacies around to enjoy, but for that we need to have a balanced metabolism, so that we can give them their due justice.

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