Monday, March 12, 2012

The Toronto General Hospital Diet is a Hoax!

A colleague of mine, Dr. Sean Wharton, sent me a link to a diet called, "The Toronto General Hospital Diet", asking me if I'd ever heard of it.

Another colleague, Obesity Panacea's Travis Saunders wrote that he'd been forwarded that diet multiple times over the years.

I've come across it many times too, and apparently it's making the Internet rounds again.

Well, in the hopes of dispelling what may be a spreading myth, I'm here to tell you that the diet is completely and utterly bogus - both in its recommendations and its attribution.

The rendition you'll see will look something like this,
"Miracle soup:

3 large mild onions
1 large tin of peeled tomatoes
or 4 - 6 fresh tomatoes
1 small white cabbage
1 or 2 chillies (two may be too hot)
3 leeks
3 carrots
Stock (no animal fats - health food store)


Puree ingredients and simmer for a good hour.
Add soy sauce to taste, if desired.

Other permitted foods:

Day 1: All fruits except bananas. As much water melon as you like - it has practically no calories.
Day 2: As many vegetables as you like, raw or boiled. But no beans, peas or sweet corn.
Day 3: Fruit and vegetables, except potatoes and bananas.
Day 4: Up to 8 bananas and 8 glasses of milk (max. 1.5% fat) or skimmed milk products.
Day 5: Up to 300 g beef, grilled, and 8 tomatoes.
Day 6: As many vegetables and as much lean beef as you like. (All vegetables with water removed).
Day 7: As much brown rice, vegetables, sugar-free fruit juices as you like. As much black coffee or tea, no sugar, as you like.

If ever you feel peckish:

Back to the soup!

It can be modified and supplemented to suit your own personal needs, forming the basis for a healthy diet.
Wishing you every success.

Dr. Klaas
The diet's ridiculous. Both from a nutrition perspective, and from a helpful perspective as any diet that strict risks nutritional deficiencies and guarantees a long long term failure.

Oh, and according to Dr. Wharton who did some snooping, not surprisingly there is no Dr. Klaas at the Toronto General Hospital. There is however an ophthalmologist called Dr. Klass. Guessing he or she isn't related.

Do me and your friends/colleagues a favor. If you've got a blog or a Facebook page, please link to this post. If you've got a Twitter account, please retweet it.

Not because I'm looking for traffic, but the more links made to this posting where the linked words are, "The Toronto General Hospital Diet", the greater the chances it'll wind up as the first thing someone'll find when they Google it. I'm hoping the power of social networks will be enough to quash this traumatic diet for good.

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  1. Anonymous7:33 am

    This diet has been called several things over the years. I remember it and tried it when it was called the Sacred Heart Diet - supposedly endorsed by Sacred Heart Hospital in Montreal.

    1. Or simply, "The Cabage Soup Siet."

  2. Anonymous8:27 am

    I followed it years ago as the "Cabbage Soup Diet." Lasted a few days, I think! Crazy never dies.

  3. Anonymous9:58 am

    Yes, I have also seen this meme attributed as "The Mayo Clinic Diet". Although I think they finally gave in a couple of years ago and created an ACTUAL official "Mayo Clinic diet" based on somewhat sounder nutritional principles, and published it as a book.

  4. The cabbage soup is quite good. Cabbage, celery, tomatoes, onions, peppers, leaks, broccoli, calciferous vegetables of most forms and a bit of flavoring makes a reasonable filling low calorie nutritious soup, suitable for any meal. For a few days, with other things, it sure beats french fries, bread and grain based diet for weight loss.

    1. yes, the soup IS good -- as long as you round out your daily eating with meat instead of fruit!

  5. So what is the benefit of spreading this article just trying to be sensational. Instead of spending all the article trying to proof that there is no Dr. Klaas at some hospital, it would have been great to be informed in what ways this diet can be damaging and what are the risks involved... But I can see how this would have demanded some actual research and work. Let's just bash something because its easy and fun.

    This webpage just lost all its credibility for me.

    1. Anonymous12:03 pm

      Or perhaps other than being a lazy dick you could explore the 2,000 other blog postings here.

  6. Anonymous2:52 pm

    Really nebtun, this diet needs explaining as to why it's maybe not such a great idea?
    Let's see...0 bananas one day, then 8 the next... As much beef as you like on other days... Oh and heaven forbid you eat vegetables WITH water in them!
    Give me a break.

    1. Anonymous11:32 pm

      Right because the average person eats a healthier diet then what's outlined here?? Um no! Nebtun is absolutely correct. The article does not provide any value to us. No explanation why it's not good but leave it up to the reader to guess. That's why they came to this blog in the first place..for some real feedback or analysis.

  7. Believe me, I am not advocating the diet or the soup, especially if advertised as a long term solution. My beef is with the way this article is written and presented. If you google the cabbage soup diet it becomes really obvious that there is no known originator of this diet as it has been popping up for decades in different forms. The only reference to Dr. Klaas that I was able to find was in an already dubious german webpage for opthamology. So the flashy atempt to proof the origin of this diet wrong appears manufactured and is completely futile.
    How about some tips that have real value?

  8. Anonymous4:53 pm

    Oh, not the cabbage soup diet AGAIN. That's been kicking around for decades under different names. I remember co-workers of mine trying it back in the mid-1990s - they complained a lot about flatulence but I don't think they lost any weight (because no one can stay on it long enough!)

  9. Anonymous11:19 pm

    Works great for me. I feel slim and less tired after a long day at work. I don't see myself continuing the diet for long but enough to kick start a healthy eating lifestyle. Follow a diet that works for you and modify the ingredients based on how well your body reacts. Eventually you'll find the right balance. You'll begin to feel the difference and the positive effects it will have on your daily lifestyle. You'll also begin to away from unhealthy foods including fast food snacks

  10. Anonymous7:59 am

    My husband and I have done very well on it and have kept the weight off. We eat alot of fruit and veggies anyway. I think the idea is not so bad. Eat less bread and pasta and drink less beer. We still eatwhat we want on the weekends on the weekends. I have lost 6lbs(which is alot for me) and my husband has lost 20lbs. Weonly did the diet for a month or so last year. Since then maybe for a week every now and then.

  11. Mick Mepham7:35 pm

    As it happens, I've used this diet several times when I've needed to lose weight and sharpen up and it's worked for me. It's a shame that it's considered bogus and I know nothing about the nutritional side of it.