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FAQ - General Questions

1. Do Cambridge Weight Plan products contain enough protein when taken as a sole source of nutrition?


The research undertaken to develop Cambridge showed that protein and carbohydrate provided by the diet were sufficient to protect lean body tissue losses.

2. Why do you always advise people to consult their doctor before starting any weight loss programme?


There are two reasons: if it is some time since you last saw your doctor, you should have a check-up before starting any weight loss programme. Based on the results of this check-up and your medical history, your doctor may be able to advise you if Cambridge Weight Plan is suitable for you. Secondly, being overweight or obese can be a contributing factor in some medical conditions – for example high blood pressure (hypertension) and type 2 diabetes. For this reason we also advise that once you have started a Cambridge Weight Plan programme you see your doctor regularly so they can monitor your medical condition and, where appropriate, adjust your medication.

3. How much water do I need to drink?


It is very important to keep hydrated while using Cambridge Weight Plan and this is why we recommend drinking at least 2.25 litres per day. This helps to maintain blood volume and to prevent dehydration. You should also remember to spread your fluid intake throughout the day and avoid consuming a large amount at once, particularly in the very warm weather.

4. Why must I drink so much?


There are several reasons. A rule of thumb for good health is to drink 2-3 litres of fluid a day whether trying to lose weight or not. If Cambridge Weight Plan is used as Total Diet Replacement, therefore your sole source of nutrition, this is the minimum for good health.

The reasons for this include:

  • A Low Calorie Diet (LCD) like Cambridge Weight Plan produces a natural water loss and this must be replaced.
  • Food is largely composed of water, just like our bodies. On Total Diet Replacement, Step 1a, it is necessary to compensate for the fluid that would otherwise have been taken in through food. It is important to keep the body’s fluid levels topped up to prevent the unpleasant symptoms of dehydration – headache, dizziness, fatigue, irritability and constipation.
  • Cambridge Weight Plan offers balanced nutrition in a very concentrated form; therefore if you are using Cambridge Ready to Drink shakes or bars, we recommend that you drink an additional 250ml of water with each product.
  • Extra fluid enables the body to get rid of the waste products associated with the breakdown of fats resulting from weight loss.

5. Can I drink low-calorie squashes instead of black tea and coffee?


Not on the Total Diet Replacement programme. However Cambridge Summer Berry and Sunshine Orange water flavourings can be used after the second week of a Low Calorie Diet (LCD) to flavour some of your daily water allowance. Herbal tea, regular tea and coffee can add variety. Those who cannot live without the daily enjoyment of tea and coffee with milk can still lose weight with Cambridge Weight Plan by following Step 1b or higher, which have a daily milk allowance.

6. Is alcohol allowed while following Cambridge Weight Plan?


No. Alcohol is very high in calories (7kcal/gram) and has no other significant nutritional value. Alcohol is not medically recommended while following a reduced calorie diet.

7. Is it ok to drink coffee on Total Diet Replacement Step 1a?


Consumption of large quantities of coffee or cola is not recommended. If you feel you must drink them, the decaffeinated forms are preferred. Caffeine acts as a stimulant to the body systems and sometimes provides an irritant effect. Herbal teas offer a pleasant alternative.

8. Will I feel hungry on Total Diet Replacement?


Some hunger may be experienced during the first one or two days, but on the third day it usually disappears completely. This is because your body has adjusted to its new balance of just over 800kcal per day. If you come off the Plan and consume extra calories, you may experience hunger, because eating food will stimulate your hunger. It is better to resist the urge to eat and stick to the Step you have been put on.

9. Can I chew calorie-free gum on the Total Diet Replacement programme?


It is best to avoid it if possible because chewing gum stimulates the release of gastric juices, which in turn will make you feel hungry. If you really need to, then only chew for two or three minutes.

10. Will I need vitamin supplements while using Cambridge Weight Plan?


The big plus about Cambridge is that unlike other weight loss programmes you do not need to take extra supplements. Each item offers a third of the recommended daily allowance of all vitamins, minerals and trace elements, so Cambridge Weight Plan gives the required amount of these nutrients.

The main worry when people go on food-based diets is that reduction in food means reduced nutrient intake, which in turn can put health at risk. It is impossible to achieve complete nutritional support from conventional food on less than 1000 kcal a day. Even then, extensive nutritional knowledge and a wide variety of foods need to be consumed to ensure adequate intake of all those vitamins and minerals.

Cambridge offer a formulating diet that has programmes (up to 1500+kcal per day) using the meal products as a nutritional foundation in combination with conventional foods. Cambridge Weight Plan customers have confidence that they can benefit from a good source of nutrients and lose weight safely.

11. Do I have to take all four meals on Step 1a Total Diet Replacement?


Yes. Four Cambridge meals provide all the necessary nutrients for one day to keep your body in a good nutritional state and it is very important to take the full amount.

12. At what age should a person stop using Cambridge Weight Plan products?


We have no upper age limit to stopping someone using our programmes. The risk of medical conditions as a person gets older increases, which may dictate which of our Steps you should start on. We would advise all customers to consult their doctor before starting any weight loss programme.

13. Can a 16 year old use any of the Cambridge Weight Plan programmes?


Children under 14 cannot use any Cambridge Weight Plan programme. Teenagers between 14 and under 18 should be encouraged to eat healthily and increase levels of physical activity. If this is unsuccessful, then a Cambridge programme with food (Step 2: 1000kcal/day, Step 3: 1200kcal/day or Step 4: 1500 kcal/day) can be followed.

The recommendations for these programmes are very specific, carefully structured and easy to follow. The support of the adolescents’ parent or guardian is essential and they would need to accompany the adolescent to the weekly meetings with a Cambridge Consultant.

The support of the doctor is essential for all programmes. Step 2: 1,000 kcal/day may be started with doctor approval. This would be the lowest Cambridge Weight Plan Step this age range would be able to go on.

14. Do I need to prepare for the Total Diet Replacement programme?


Yes. Problems arising at the start of the Total Diet Replacement programme can be prevented by preparing in the week prior to the agreed start date by gradually reducing food intake, particularly carbohydrates. This will prevent carbohydrate withdrawal headaches and hasten the onset of ketosis with all its benefits – particularly reduced hunger.

Increasing water intake to 1.7 litres per day is also a good step to take. If you have suffered from constipation in the past, then using a natural bulking agent (e.g. Cambridge Fibre) at a level appropriate to your needs may prevent constipation. Constipation can be a side effect of Total Diet Replacement due to the lack of bulk in the programme, although a higher Step is often recommended if you have a history of constipation. Check with your doctor if necessary. Preparation will prevent “The Last Supper Syndrome”, i.e. a binge the day before Total Diet Replacement, which increases glycogen stores, delaying the onset of ketosis and increasing feelings of tiredness and hunger.

We recommend that you prepare for a week on the next Step up from that selected for weight loss. For example, if it was agreed to follow Step 1: 800 kcal programme for weight loss, prepare at Step 2: 1000kcal level, then drop down to the agreed weight loss Step.

15. When do I need to think about long-term weight management?


At the beginning of your weight loss journey. The importance of long-term weight management needs to be made clear to anyone embarking on a Cambridge Weight Plan programme at whatever calorific level.

Weight management does not start when your target weight is achieved – it should be a significant component of your weight loss journey. Successful long-term weight management is only achieved by making long-term and permanent changes to your lifestyle and diet.

Your Consultant will help you to consider these changes early on in your weight loss to prepare you for when you reach target. Cambridge Weight Plan is not a “quick fix” – the role of the Plan and your Consultant will be ongoing.

16. How do I manage my new weight when I reach my target?


If you achieve a desired weight and then go back to the bad eating habits that made you put on weight in the first place, it is inevitable that the weight lost will be regained. Cambridge Weight Plan gives effective weight loss but it also provides a sound nutritional base for those who are at their desired weight and who want to maintain it by following the stabilisation programme.

Your Cambridge Weight Plan Consultant will be pleased to see you long after you have lost weight, even if you no longer need to use Cambridge. This will enable you to keep to your new food choices to enable you to maintain your healthy new weight and shape. This phase of Cambridge is called “My Life”.

17. Do you recommend exercise with Cambridge Weight Plan?


Cambridge Weight Plan encourages all the well-known principles of healthy eating and a physically active lifestyle. Being physically active forms an important part of your weight loss journey, and is also key to your long-term weight management.

How much exercise you undertake depends on a number of factors: what Step you are following, any medical conditions you have or medications you take, your current capability for exercise, age, lifestyle and your current level of activity and fitness. It is recommended that other than gentle walking, no physical activity be undertaken in the first two weeks of Step 1. This will allow your body to adjust to being on an LCD.

After this period, gentle to moderate intensity exercise is encouraged. If you want to do rigorous exercise at the gym or you are in training for a sports event, Step 2: 1000 kcal/day or more would be more suitable.

18. I'm Muslim, how can I continue on Total Diet Replacement during Ramadan?


Ramadan occurs in the ninth month of the Muslim year. During daylight hours, rigid fasting is observed, which means that Cambridge Weight Plan and water will need to be consumed before sunrise and after sundown.

During the time available, intake should be spread out as evenly as possible and might necessitate rising a bit earlier. It is not advisable to take more than one sachet at a time as the increased carbohydrate intake may take you out of ketosis, making it even more difficult for you to stay motivated and stick with the programme.

It may be permissible to delay the fast for health reasons, or alternatively commence Total Diet Replacement after Eid ul-Fitr.

19. Is Cambridge Weight Plan suitable for me?


Because of the restricted calorie intake of some Cambridge programmes, we have established a medical protocol designed to give Cambridge Consultants guidelines on the most suitable programme for Clients. This takes into consideration any medical conditions and certain medications, while allowing the flexibility of using higher calorie programmes.

Sometimes it is not appropriate for any of our programmes to be used. If any of the following apply to you, you will NOT be able to start on any of the programmes:

  • Your BMI is below 20
  • You are a child below 14 years of age. We have a separate protocol for adolescents between 14 and under 18
  • You have had a heart attack or stroke within the past three months
  • You are prescribed a medication known as monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs)
  • You take anti-obesity medication and intend to continue using it
  • You are a substance misuser or you are dependent on alcohol
  • You are pregnant or breastfeeding, or have given birth within the last three month
  • You are currently having treatment for cancer


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