You can love it or you can hate it, but I am very sure that if you are looking for methods to lose weight, you can never ignore it. The General Motors Diet or the popularly known GM Diet occupies the first place in the most searched diet lists. Surprisingly, I still haven’t found any information about the GM Diet on any of the official General Motors sites (please update me if I’ve missed any).

Various sites, blogs and forums have discussed the GM diet, but in a scattered manner. My main intention behind this post is to represent various facets of this diet plan and to provide a complete overview, based on my own experiences and those of my friends.

BACKGROUND:

This diet plan was presented at a general meeting of General Motors Corp. on August 15, 1985, initially intended for employees of the General Motors company, to facilitate wellness and fitness. It was granted by the United States Department of Agriculture and the FDA, and later tested by the Johns Hopkins Research Center.

It was designed as a ‘detox diet program’, to improve metabolism through its systemic cleansing effects, reflected in a better disposition and a sense of well-being. As a final result, a weight loss of 4 to 6 kg was expected within the week of the program.

THE PLAN:

Here is the daily diet plan and its dietary significance. I have added some things from my experience and experiments, which worked.

Day 1:

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

By eating fruits, you are preparing your system for the upcoming program. Fresh fruits are nature’s perfect food, providing all the essentials needed to sustain life. Fruits are also a good source of antioxidants and are high in fiber. Fruits are also considered a negative calorie food, so they burn more calories for digestion than they provide.

Trust me, I’ve been on the GM diet twice and found this day the hardest. First of all, because of the sweet taste of all the fruits and, furthermore, because of an intense desire for bread or spices that develops towards the end of the day. The solution for this is the Soup to break the monotony of the fruity flavor.

Day 2:

The day can start with a large baked potato with a little butter for breakfast. It definitely fills you up with complex carbs to start the day after the first sweet and fruity day.

During the rest of the day, you should eat all kinds of vegetables of your choice, raw or cooked. Vegetables are very low in calories, high in nutrients and fiber. There is no limit on the quantity. This should be added with drinking at least 10 glasses of water.

You can also mash a baked potato, add some onion and curd, and season with chaat masala and 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 and potato. Also, you should drink at least 10 glasses of water. Potato is avoided on this day as carbohydrates are available in the fruits you eat.

Varieties of mixed salads can be made with fruit slices. If you eat more cucumber and melons, you are more likely to lose weight than any other vegetable or fruit. Adding curd to the vegetable salad, in the form of a ‘raita’, will make it more palatable towards night, when it becomes monotonous.

Day 4:

A day where you can’t eat anything but eight bananas along with three glasses of milk. It is not mandatory to eat 8 bananas; you can have less too. In fact, you can feel full with 4-5 bananas in the whole day. This is the day when you can clearly feel your cravings for food decrease significantly. It feels divine, exceeding your ‘desires’. Don’t forget to drink at least 10 glasses of water, as always.

Bananas will act as a provider of easily digestible carbohydrates, along with a reserve of sodium and potassium.

Day 5:

This is considered a “holiday,” in which you should eat up to two (10-ounce) servings of lean beef 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 on this day.

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

Day 6:

Another day with beef and vegetables. Today you can eat any amount of beef combined with cooked or raw vegetables. Keep your daily water intake to 14 glasses. You can add the Soup to spice up your day a bit.

Iron and protein from the beef or paneer-mushroom combo, while fiber and nutrients from the vegetables. Up to this point, you must have experienced an energetic feeling and an awareness of the power of natural foods.

Day 7:

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

The juices will break the fast (?) providing the essential nutrients together with the vegetable filling. Brown rice provides the carbohydrates.

You should now be at least 4kg lighter than day one, but more energetic and free from cravings for high calorie things.

Soup:

The following soup is a modified version of GM Wonder Soup as it is not possible to get Lipton onion soup mix everywhere as suggested in GM Soup. The modified soup parallels ‘rassam’ or ‘saaram’, which is served in South India. This soup can be consumed in large quantities throughout the program. It is meant to be a supplement to your diet.

Boil a few large chopped onions, tomatoes, cabbage, and celery in water. Add the sambhar masala to taste. You can also add tomato puree (but with skin on) instead of tomatoes to make it thicker. It can be seasoned with herbs and aromas. You can also add: finely chopped asparagus, peas, corn, cauliflower, green beans or mushrooms.

General instructions for every day:

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

You can repeat the program, if you want to lose more weight, but it is suggested that you should take a gap of at least two weeks between two programs.

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

“It works by simply losing the body’s water content and not actually losing fat.”

A. First of all, there is no mention of restricting water intake on any day. How can you lose only water if we are consuming at least 10-14 glasses of water every day, added to the unlimited amount of soup and the water contained in melons, fruits and vegetables?

b. Basically, it works on the principle of “negative calorie foods”, in which you eat certain foods that require more calories to burn than they provide. High-fiber foods fill you up but do not provide the required calories, instead requiring more calories to burn, which is derived from stored energy stores.

“The skin dries out and may lose hair during and after the GM diet.”

A. At least I haven’t met anyone who knows me complaining about this, but I found this in a few blog posts. The reason may be an insufficient amount of water intake and not supplying enough protein sources on specific days.

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

A. Obviously if you resume your high calorie meal once more. It is not difficult to lose weight, but it is difficult to maintain it. Malvika, my wife who is a dietitian, always recommends a maintenance diet program after the GM diet program as follows:

Yo. Only liquids in the form of soups, buttermilk, or fruit juices for dinner for three consecutive days in one week. This should be continued endlessly, until you want your weight to come back.

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

iii. Exercise regularly.

“It’s just a strict diet and fad, nothing more!”

A. First of all, it is not promoted as a weight loss diet, but rather as a detox diet that cleanses your system from the inside out. Weight loss is just a byproduct of it.

b. Even if one sees it as a ‘crash diet’, it surely won’t hurt you, but it will ‘shift’ your weight in the shortest time possible, thus motivating many who tend to drop their regular diet and exercise regimens within the first month, failing to get the desired results. Once you can ‘see’ your weight drop, your willingness to try harder increases.

vs. As stated above, it’s useless unless you back it up with a maintenance program. You can’t be on a GM diet for life, and you can’t and shouldn’t every month. Instead, use it as an initial motivator and switch to a liquid dinner course later.

MY OWN EXPERIENCE:

I myself have done the GM diet twice. The first time I was very sincere in following him. Thanks to my wife and mother, who made all the arrangements for meals each day. I lost 4 kgs by the fifth day. I couldn’t lose any more in the last two days and I guess because of the rice I ate, replacing the beef. The lost weight stayed there for a month, despite not actively maintaining it. I could have lost at least another pound if I had stayed away from rice, which I don’t like to eat anyway.

The next time I started it, but had to leave it in the middle due to some unavoidable circumstances. But I had seen a significant change in my weight and energy level during the four days that I followed it.

The most significant gain has been with my lipids coming down to normal. I’ve had really bad lipid levels for two years and after going on the GM diet twice, taking statins and taking self-prescribed homeopathic medicines for the same, my last lipid levels were perfectly within normal limits. Credit also goes to the high-fiber transgenic diet.

THE CONCLUSION:

If followed sincerely, the GM diet definitely has a positive effect on our metabolism. I agree that it is not an end in itself, and one needs to maintain metabolism through proper eating habits and exercise regimen. The GM diet cannot be a ‘quick and easy’ substitute for ‘exertion’, but it surely can be a boost for those who have never seen their weight drop, providing a ‘starting point’.

As Malvika says, ‘one should have a diet that one can follow for a lifetime…’ and that’s true! You can never have a GM diet for every day, as there are so many delicacies around to enjoy, but for that we need to have a balanced metabolism, in order to give them due justice.

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