What is the Cambridge Diet?
The Cambridge Diet stems from the early 1960s when Dr Alan Howard, then a research scientist developed an interest in overweight and obesity.
He began to investigate methods of weight reduction, using himself as one of the guinea pigs. Together with Dr Ian McLean-Baird of the West Middlesex Hospital, in 1968 he organised a National Symposium on Obesity, the first ever held in the UK. They went on to a collaborate and develop the perfect diet. Successful trials led to the introduction of the Cambridge Diet.
With Dr McLean-Baird, Alan Howard set up a research project at the West Middlesex Hospital in London. What they wanted was a formula food with:
- the excellent weight loss properties of starvation, but no undesirable side effects
- the right level of protein to protect lean tissue
- the right level of carbohydrate to promote a mild ketosis and eliminate a sense of hunger
- the right levels of vitamins, minerals, trace elements and essential fatty acids to maintain good health.
The first formula produced excellent weight loss results, and further work by food technologists enhanced flavours and led to the first commercial version of the Cambridge Diet. The effectiveness and safety of this revised formula was tested both in hospital and with outpatients.
This study demonstrated three important factors:
- remarkable weight loss
- patient acceptability and
- patient safety
and led to the Diet becoming more available in obesity clinics in London and Cambridge. Long term safety was assessed and confirmed by further independent research in the UK, the USA and across Europe. The Cambridge Diet was launched commercially in the USA in 1980 and has been available in the UK since 1984.