Manhattan Diet by Quercus

The Manhattan Diet … will it work?

It’s that time of the year again when it’s a very good time to publish a diet book. Hence, welcome to The Manhattan Diet, due to be published this week by Quercus. Manhattan Diet by Quercus

Written by New Yorker Eileen Daspin, she claims that Manhattan dieters ‘aren’t afraid of food’. In fact, according to her, they not only love eating food but they are also great home cooks.

She apparently asked 25 stylishly slim New York women to keep diaries of what they ate. From this, she compiled a 28-day eating plan.

According to her article in You Magazine, the Manhattan dieters (who don’t ‘diet’) adore triple-cream cheeses, full fat milk, pasta, risotto and bagels.

While I am not a dietician, I have decided the fact that in Easter 2012 I decided to lose weight – going from 10st 4Ib to 9st (and maintain that weight) – makes me qualified to comment on this new diet!

Firstly, much of it looks good and is based on common sense. Ultimately it is about portion control and you can eat anything you want as long as you don’t eat too much of it.

However, make no mistake this IS a diet. Although on one hand she says ‘eat what your body craves’, the portions are absolutely tiny. For example, 40g of chicken breast (chicken isn’t very calorific anyway…) and one square of chocolate (could you really stick at that?)

Secrets to success are also a lack of variety. One of the dieters (who at my height of 5ft 7″ weighs 9st 9Ib) is quoted as saying: “I’m very regimented about my diet and I eat pretty much the same thing every day.” Another says: “I eat a very limited diet and have the same foods over and over again, lots of fruit, crackers, salads, grilled fish, some cheese.” Another person has soup for breakfast… To me, this sounds pretty awful, sad and worryingly obsessive over food! And I thought these women weren’t ‘afraid of food’ and ate lots of full cream cheese?

There is also the usual blurb about eating lots of vegetables, presumably to fill you up – which in my opinion they do not do (of course veg is good for health but many vegetables basically have few energy-giving calories in them and your body isn’t fooled…!)

A typical day on the Manhattan diet comes in at approximately 1650 calories. But dinner is a 4oz steak with 2tsp of butter and corn on the cob. And the evening snack is three Rolos and herbal tea. Personally I’d rather swap the butter at dinner for a spud.

Like all diets, whatever they claim, they are all based around eating less calories. If you only eat 1650 calories a day and you are an active, fit woman you will lose weight. That is not a calorie count you will want to achieve for the rest of your life though – unless you want to waste away. To be fair, it says ’28 day diet’.

But I found there are much easier ways of eating well – eating normal food for a start – and losing weight at the same time. For example a typical Saturday for me (because I don’t have a take out every day) when I was dieting was porridge, toast and honey, piece of fruit, homemade tomato soup with piece of brown bread, yoghurt, mini chocolate bar and a take away curry in the evening (my curry house is happy to deliver a half portion of my fave chicken tikka masala and veg curry…) plus about four cups of tea with semi-skimmed milk and one sugar. This adds up to around 1700 calories a day and I lost around half a Ib a week.

You can certainly eat more than a square of chocolate a day and still lose weight. Roast dinners are also surprisingly healthy as are all the usuals – Spaghetti Bolognaise, steak (but with chips or baked potato), and many ready meals (not diet options either) are actually low in calories. In my opinion, it’s a great shame that more diets don’t point this out as while I do cook a lot from scratch, I am also a busy working mum!

You can read more about how I did it here.

The Manhattan Diet by Eileen Daspin is published by Quercus at £7.99 Click here to buy it.

What diets have you tried below? Let us know…

Alison Smith-Squire

Alison Smith-Squire is a writer, journalist and media agent selling exclusive real life stories to newspapers, magazines and TV. She owns the sell my story website, which was set up to help ordinary people sell their stories to the press.

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