Cambridge Diet

Reporter: Tineka Everaardt

They've lost a combined 70 kilos and gained a new lease on life -- and they promise you can too.

Six months Roisin Graham weighted one hundred and ten kilos, now she is just 73 kilos. "I'm just happier, I don't know whether that's confidence or carrying 40 kilos everyday everywhere is going to bring anyone down -- it's heavy", Roisin said.

She thanks the Cambridge Diet for her new figure. A very low calorie eating plan made up of pre-packaged foods -- including shakes, soups and bars -- originally developed in the 60's at Cambridge University. It largely remained a secret in Australia until it arrived here for the first time early this year. "I've done lots of diets before and none of them have worked, I've always caved and given in. But something sort of clicked, this was the time", she said.

Now the twenty eight year old has landed a role in a theatre production, a step closer to fulfilling her dream.

Mandy Smith, Roisin's weight loss consultant, has also dropped 24 kilos on the program. "Because Cambridge is fully nutritious with good protein levels they don't feel hungry and when they lose weight week after week, that's the thing that keeps them satisfied as well because they are getting the results", Mandy said.

Ursula Shepherd has shrunk from a size 22 to a size 10. "I couldn't even find anything to fit me so I would make the tops and they had to be the lose ones", Ursula said.

But the real benefits have been to her health. "I have osteoarthritis in my knees, I was limping, I got to the stage where I needed a partial knee replacement and I just pushed that aside. At the moment, I'm walking, have gone horse riding - haven't done those things in years and years", Ursula said.

There are close to 22 million people in Australia -- 17 million of them are now overweight or obese, that's around three quarters of our entire population with a weight issue.

Every year desperate dieters spend $827 million on weight loss services according to IBIS world but Nutritionist Matt O'Neil says fad diets are only a band aid solution. "Doing crash diets like this, and this is a crash diet, can rebound and backfire and help you gain more fat than you ever had in the first place", Matt said.

He claims in the long term, they just don't work. "I think it's a recipe for metabolic disaster. Compared to nutrient rich, eating like real food instead of shakes, you're not going to get the nutrients you need you're probably going lose a lot of muscle mass along the way. The other negative affect can be malnutrition -- you can run low on energy, you can be fatigued. I'd be very surprised if you have the energy to exercise", Matt said.

But for success stories like Ursula, there's no doubt the benefits outweigh the risks. "It's a safe diet, fast weight loss, backed by doctors and so many people have lost it and had the success that we've had", she said.

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