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FAQ - Medical

1. Is it alright to continue on the Total Diet Replacement programme if giving blood?


Total Diet Replacement should not be followed for one week prior to and one week after blood donation. During this time you would be advised to move up to Step 3. One week after blood donation, you may resume on your original programme.

2. Can people with high blood pressure use Cambridge Weight Plan for weight loss?


Yes. If you have high blood pressure you may be able to follow any Step, depending on other health issues and your current BMI.

Cambridge Weight Plan taken as Total Diet Replacement will itself cause water loss. The programme is low in sodium and results in a natural water loss in the early stages. This, along with your weight loss, will invariably reduce blood pressure in some cases.

Many people with high blood pressure have experienced blood pressure reductions after weight loss. Not only has there been a significant drop in blood pressure, but sometimes a decrease in medication has been required.

This is why regular monitoring by your doctor is required while on the Plan. Hypertension medication and diuretics prescribed for hypertension will need to be monitored and adjusted throughout the weight loss period. Adjustment in medication should only be made by your doctor.

3. I have suffered from bulimia in the past. Can I use Cambridge Weight Plan?


Bulimia can occur as a result of various underlying factors such as stress, anxiety and depression. If a customer was suffering from this condition currently then they would not be able to commence on Cambridge Weight Plan.

For customers with a history of bulimia, Cambridge Consultants would be asked to contact Cambridge Weight Plan’s medical team for further advice who would look at each case individually. Some customers with a history of Bulimia may then be able to start on one of our higher ‘with food’ programmes. An LCD programme would not be offered.

4. Can a person who has raised cholesterol levels use Cambridge Weight Plan?


Yes. Studies have shown that using Cambridge products as the sole source of nutrition may reduce levels of blood cholesterol by as much as 25% and blood fats (triglycerides) by 40% or more – the reduction seems to be greatest in those with initially high levels.

When patients returned to a normal diet the levels rose again but still stayed lower than baseline. There is also some evidence that following weight loss, ongoing use of the Plan as part of a healthy diet, i.e. with lots of fresh fruit and vegetables, cereals, lean meat, oily fish (e.g. salmon, herring, mackerel, etc.) and unsaturated fats may help control cholesterol levels. Please note that if you take medication for your cholesterol you will need to be monitored by your doctor, and as you lose weight this medication may need to be adjusted.

5. Is a Cambridge Weight Plan programme suitable for people with coeliac disease?


We have a range of gluten-free products suitable for individuals with coeliac disease. Please visit the Allergies/Intolerances/Choices page or contact your Cambridge Consultant for further information.

6. What is the advice for someone with a history of constipation, and could using a low-calorie diet cause constipation?


Infrequent bowel movements can be a side effect of a low-calorie diet as there is less bulk entering the body. If there is a history of constipation, it is important to use a natural bulking agent such as Cambridge Fibre from day one of the diet programme as a preventative measure.

Ensuring adequate water intake is also vital to keep things moving! One of the higher Steps may be more appropriate if constipation has been a problem previously. Over-the-counter psyllium products may also be helpful.

7. I am using Step 1a: Total Diet Replacement, but have a cough and cold. What can I take?


The diet contains all the nutrients required for normal health but when you are fighting an infection you may do this more effectively on a higher calorie intake. While you are recovering you should raise your calorie intake to a higher level. Remember that sugar-free cough and cold remedies are available.

8. I am being treated for depression; can I use Cambridge Weight Plan?


Most customers would be able to follow Cambridge Weight Plan if they are suffering from depression. It may be that a higher Step would be more suitable for you but your Cambridge Consultant would be able to advise you on this.

9. Can someone with diabetes use Cambridge Weight Plan?


Customers who have Type 1 or 2 diabetes can follow Cambridge Weight Plan with the support of their doctor and/or specialist. We would want you to have a slightly slower reduction in calories to ensure that blood glucose levels remain as stable as possible. Your Cambridge Consultant will be able to advise on a suitable Step for you to follow.

10. I have diabetes and my condition is controlled by diet. Must I see a doctor before starting Cambridge Weight Plan?


Yes. You should not attempt to lose weight without being supervised by your doctor.

11. I suffer from epilepsy and take anti-convulsant medication. Would I be able to use Cambridge Weight Plan?


h2> It may be possible for you to follow Cambridge Weight Plan if you have been stable with no seizures or medication adjustments for at least six months. A Cambridge Consultant would be able to advise on a suitable Step for you to follow.

12. I suffer from gout. Can I still use Cambridge Weight Plan?


Gout sufferers generally have raised blood levels of uric acid (hyperuricaemia), which can cause crystals of sodium urate to be deposited in the joints – an extremely painful condition.

Using Cambridge Weight Plan as a sole source of nutrition may also raise uric acid levels. Anyone with a history of gout should be warned of this possibility. You will be able to discuss this with your Cambridge Consultant who will be able to advise you further.

13. I have had a heart attack or stroke; can I follow Cambridge Weight Plan?


If you have had a heart attack or stroke within the past three months, you will not be able to use a Cambridge Weight Plan programme.

Following this period, depending on your recovery, you may be able to follow a Cambridge Weight Plan Step. Your Cambridge Consultant will be able to advise you further.

14. I have a problem with heartburn; will Cambridge Weight Plan aggravate this?


If you take medication for heartburn or gastric acid and want to use Cambridge Weight Plan as Total Diet Replacement, it may be helpful to take your Cambridge products in eight half portions per day instead of four full ones. However, you would be able to follow any Step.

It may be helpful to discuss with your doctor that an increase in medication for these conditions may be advisable when following a weight loss plan.

15. What is a ketone test?


This is a simple urine test which indicates the presence of ketones.

16. What is ketosis and is it harmful?


When fat is released from fatty (adipose) tissue it travels to the liver where it can be used to make more fat or be ‘burned’ to produce energy. The energy production process produces ketones. Everyone has some ketones in their blood at all times, but usually at low levels. The levels rise when fasting or while on a low carbohydrate diet designed to induce ketosis. Ketosis is a term applied to a state where the ketone blood levels are high enough to allow ketones to leave the body on the breath or in urine. Physiological ketosis is a mechanism reflecting the way in which the body switches its metabolism to ‘burning fat’. The effect of high levels of ketones varies from person to person. Some people feel euphoric, others may not feel hungry.

17. Can someone with lactose intolerance use Cambridge Weight Plan?


Lactose intolerance is the inability to digest lactose (milk sugar) and is caused by a deficiency of lactase, an enzyme released by the small intestine that allows milk sugar to be absorbed into the bloodstream. Cambridge Weight Plan offers a variety of lactose free products for those that have been diagnosed with lactose intolerance.

18. What is metabolic rate and can it be damaged by rapid weight loss?


The weight and amount of lean (muscle) tissue within the body are the major determinants of metabolic rate. The human body evolved to be super-efficient in conserving energy. When dietary energy intake goes down the body adapts by reducing heat and energy loss, and therefore the metabolic rate drops. After weight loss and the establishment of a new lower energy requirement, your body’s metabolic rate should return to a level appropriate for the new body weight and lean tissue.

19. What is meant by the term obesity?


Obesity is now much better understood than 20 years ago. At that time fat tissue (adipose) was believed to be simply a store of energy and an insulation layer. Now we know that adipose tissue is a very complex organ which produces signals (hormones) that can influence health and disease in parts of the body. Most importantly, we now know that some of those signalling chemicals increase inflammation in other tissues, especially in blood vessels. It is also known that adipose tissue can have a direct effect on organs located right next to the fat. So, for example, fat around the heart may directly affect the development of atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) in the coronary arteries. Genetic factors interact with environmental factors (diet, exercise, other aspects of lifestyle such as stress and sleep) to cause either slimness, or obesity, and obesity-induced problems such as diabetes. Thus not all overweight and obese people develop diabetes as early in life as might be expected.

Nevertheless, obesity is linked to diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, gall bladder disease, osteoarthritis, sleep problems, increased risk of some cancers, heightened risk of accidents and increased risks of problems around the time of surgery.

Strategies are in place to try to prevent the further development of obesity among the population as a whole and methods for helping people who are already overweight and obese are being developed by scientists across the world. Formula-food based low-calorie diets are one of several options clients and patients can choose to lose weight and try to maintain weight afterwards. Cambridge is at the forefront of research and development in obesity management and prevention, commissioning research from centres of excellence in several countries.

20. How will Cambridge Weight Plan benefit my osteoarthritis?


Osteoarthritis is a degenerative disease affecting the weight-bearing joints. Weight loss is regarded as a very important component in the treatment of osteoarthritis. A lighter body puts less strain on the joints and some patients find they may need less of their anti-inflammatory drugs to alleviate the symptoms.

Danish researchers from the Parker Institute at Frederiksberg Hospital in Copenhagen reported in June 2010 at the European Rheumatology meeting in Rome that a Cambridge formula diet weight loss programme was a very effective system in the treatment of symptoms in overweight patients with knee osteoarthritis. In the research group their weight loss and symptom improvement has been maintained for four years.

21. Is Cambridge Weight Plan suitable for anyone with a peanut allergy?


Cambridge Weight Plan products are not made in a nut-free environment and therefore may contain traces of nuts due to the possibility of cross contamination. The only exceptions to this are the Cambridge Ready to Drink shakes.

22. Why are pregnant or breastfeeding women advised not to use Cambridge?


Any woman who is pregnant, breastfeeding or who has given birth in the last three months cannot use Cambridge Weight Plan. Pregnant and lactating women require increased levels of protein and energy, and are advised to follow a diet rich in lean protein, whole grains, fresh fruit and vegetables.

In pregnancy, care has to be taken not to exceed intakes of some micro-nutrients and current guidelines advise against taking extra vitamin A, which is present in all of our products.

23. Can I safely use Cambridge Weight Plan with a thyroid complaint?


Cambridge Weight Plan is suitable for anyone with thyroid function complaints, with the support of your doctor. However regular thyroid function tests are recommended during weight loss as your medication may need to be adjusted as you lose weight.

24. I take Warfarin to thin my blood as I have deep vein thrombosis. Can I still use Cambridge Weight Plan?


Yes you would be able to follow Cambridge Weight Plan if you are using Warfarin or another blood-thinning medication. However you need to have your dose monitored regularly throughout weight loss to ensure your thyroid function remains stable. Your Cambridge Consultant would be able to advise you further.


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    European Food Safety Authority.
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