GM Diet – My Experiments With the Truth

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Love it or hate it but I am very sure that you can never ignore it when you are looking for weight loss methods. General Motors Diet, or commonly known as the GM diet, ranks highest on the most searched diet charts. Surprisingly, I haven’t found any information about GM diet on any of the official General Motors sites yet (update me if I’ve missed any).

Various websites, blogs and forums have discussed GM nutrition, but in scattered ways. My primary intention behind this post is to present different facets of this diet plan and provide a broad overview based on my and my friends experiences.

BACKGROUND:

This nutritional plan was presented at a General Motors Corp. Introduced on August 15, 1985 and was originally intended for General Motors Company employees to promote wellness and fitness. It has been approved by the United States Department of Agriculture and FDA and further tested by the Johns Hopkins Research Center.

It was developed as a “detox diet program” to improve metabolism through its purifying systemic action, which is reflected in improved disposition and a sense of well-being. The end result was a weight loss of 4-6 kg within the program week.

THE PLAN:

Here’s the meal plan for the day and its dietary implications. I added some things from my experiences and experiments that worked.

Day 1:

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

By eating fruit, you prepare your system for the upcoming program. Fresh fruit is nature’s perfect food, providing all the essential elements needed to sustain life. Fruits are also a good source of antioxidants and high in fiber. Fruit is also considered a low-calorie food and thus burns more calories than intended for its digestion.

Believe me, I’ve done a GM diet twice and found that day the hardest. On the one hand by the sweet taste of all fruits, on the other hand by a strong craving for bread or spices that one develops towards the end of the day. The solution to this is the soup to break the monotony of the fruity taste.

Day 2:

The day can start with a large baked potato with a knob of butter for breakfast. It definitely fills you up with complex carbohydrates to kick start your day after the first sweet and fruity day.

For the rest of the day, eat all the vegetables of your choice, raw or cooked. Vegetables are very low in calories and rich in nutrients and fiber. The amount is unlimited. You should drink at least 10 glasses of water.

You can also mash a baked potato, add some onion and cottage cheese, and season with chaat masala, red chili powder, and a pinch of salt.

Day 3:

This day consists of a combination of fruits and vegetables of your choice, except banana & potato. You should also drink at least 10 glasses of water. Potatoes are avoided on this day as the carbs come from the fruit you eat.

You can mix different salads with fruit slices. If you eat more cucumbers and melons, you are more likely to lose weight than any other vegetable or fruit. Adding cottage cheese to raita-shaped vegetable salad makes it tastier toward the evening when it gets monotonous.

Day 4:

A day when all you can eat is eight bananas paired with three glasses of milk. It is not mandatory to eat 8 bananas; you can have less. In fact, you might be satisfied after 4-5 bananas within the day. This is the day when you can clearly feel your cravings for food decrease significantly. It feels divine to overcome one’s “desires.” As always, don’t forget to drink at least 10 glasses of water.

Bananas serve as an easily digestible source of carbohydrates, paired with sodium and potassium reserves.

Day 5:

This is considered a “celebration day” when you should eat up to two servings of lean beef (10 ounces) 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 that is produced. You will experience colorless urine that day.

Beef is a source of protein and iron and therefore paneer (tofu – soy paneer for better results) combined with mushrooms can be an alternative for vegetarians. Many people have recommended rice as a substitute for beef, but considering the nutritional levels, rice may not be the right substitute.

Day 6:

Another day of beef and veggies. Today you can eat a lot of beef in combination with cooked or raw vegetables. Keep your daily water intake at 14 glasses. You can add the soup to add some spice to your day.

Iron and protein from the beef or paneer and mushroom combo, fiber and nutrients from the veggies. By this time you must have experienced an energetic feeling and awareness of the power of natural foods.

Day 7:

Food intake that day should consist of a bowl of brown rice with fruit juices and any vegetables you choose to eat. Drink 14 glasses of water.

The juices break the fast(?) and provide the essential nutrients along with the veggie filling. The brown rice provides the carbohydrates.

Now you need to be at least 4kg lighter than day one, but still more energetic and free from high calorie cravings.

The soup:

The following soup is a modified version of the GM Miracle Soup as it is not possible to get the Lipton Onion Soup mix anywhere as suggested in GM Soup. The modified soup parallels the “rassam” or “saaram” served in southern India. This soup is allowed to be consumed in large quantities throughout the program. It is intended as a supplement to your diet.

Boil some large onions, tomatoes, cabbage and celery in water. Add the sambhar masala for flavor. Instead of tomatoes, you can also add tomato puree (but with skin) to make it thicker. You can flavor it with herbs and flavors. You can also add: asparagus, peas, corn, cauliflower, green beans, or finely chopped mushrooms.

General information for all days:

  • You can squeeze a lemon to flavor the water you drink every day.
  • No alcohol of any kind as it adds empty calories.
  • Salt should be used as little as possible.
  • Use artificial sweetener if you can’t stay away from the sweet taste.
  • No fruit juices until the seventh day.
  • Black coffee or tea is allowed.

You can repeat the plan if you want to continue losing weight, but it is recommended to take a break of at least two weeks between two plans.

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

“It only works by losing the body’s water content and not really through fat loss.”

a. First, there is no mention of restricting water intake on any day. How can you lose water when you’re consuming at least 10-14 glasses of water every day, plus the unlimited amount of soup and the water found in melons, fruits and vegetables?

b. It basically works on the principle of “negative calorie foods” where you eat certain foods that require more calories to burn itself off than they provide themselves. High-fiber foods fill you up but don’t provide the calories you need, instead requiring more calories to burn from stored energy reserves.

“During and after the GM diet, skin becomes dry and you may lose your hair.”

a. At least I haven’t met anyone in my circle of acquaintances who complained about this, but I found this in some blog posts. The reason may be insufficient water intake and insufficient intake of protein sources on certain days.

“It’s a temporary loss and you regained all of the weight you lost in a couple of weeks.”

a. Obviously when you resume your high calorie diet. It’s not difficult to lose weight, but to keep it off. Malvika my wife who is a nutritionist always recommends a maintenance diet program following the GM diet plan as follows:

I. Only liquids in the form of soup, buttermilk, or fruit juice with dinner for three consecutive days a week. This should be followed endlessly until you want your weight to recover.

ii. Drink lots of water as if you were on the GM diet.

iii. Do sports regularly.

“It’s just a crash diet and a fad, nothing else!!”

a. First of all, it is not advertised as a weight loss diet, but as a detox diet that cleanses your system from the inside. Weight loss is just a by-product of it.

b. Even considering it a “crash diet” it sure won’t hurt you but will “move” your weight in no time and motivate so many who tend to give up their regular diet and exercise plans within the first month to not achieve the desired results. Once you see your weight dropping, it strengthens your will to keep trying.

c. As said above, unless you back it up with a maintenance program, it’s pointless. You cannot be on the GM diet for life, nor can you or should you be on the GM diet every month. Instead, use it as an initial motivator and later switch to a liquid dinner.

MY OWN EXPERIENCE:

I myself have done a GM diet twice. The first time I was very serious about following it. Thanks to my wife and mother for making all the arrangements for the food each day. On the fifth day I lost 4 kg. I couldn’t lose any more for the past two days and I suspect I ate the rice as a substitute for the beef. The lost weight stayed there for a month despite not being actively maintained. I could have lost at least half a kilo more if I had left out the rice, which I don’t really like to eat anyway.

Next time I started with it, but had to drop it in between due to some unavoidable circumstances. But I had seen a significant change in my weight and energy levels in the four days I was tracking.

The most significant gain was that my lipids have normalized. I had really bad lipid levels for two years and after following the GM diet twice, taking statins and self-prescribed homeopathic medication for them, the last lipid levels were perfectly within normal limits. Credit also goes to the high-fiber GM diet.

THE CONCLUSION:

When followed sincerely, the GM diet has a definite positive effect on our metabolism. I agree that it is not an end in itself and one must maintain metabolism through proper dietary habits and exercise regimens. The GM diet may not be a “quick and easy” substitute for “exertion,” but it can certainly be a booster and “kick-start” for those who have never experienced their weight go downhill.

As Malvika says, “You should have a diet that you can follow for life…” and that’s true! You can never have GM diets for everyday use as there are so many delights to enjoy, but for that we need a balanced metabolism in order to be able to do them justice.

Thanks to Amit Karkare

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