General Motors reportedly developed the GM Diet to help its employees lose weight and feel healthier. GM is said to have collaborated on the diet with both the Food and Drug Administration and the US Department of Agriculture and that it was first used in field tests at Johns Hopkins Research Center in 1985.
This approach to weight loss—also known as “the cabbage soup diet” and “the Sacred Heart diet”—has been popular ever since.
This plan is said to work on the principle that the foods you eat will burn more calories than the amount of energy (calories) they provide for the body to store in the form of fat. People have reported losses of between 10 and 17 lbs per week on this plan.
While there is no evidence online that concludes that General Motors is the actual source of this plan (see this op-ed piece in the New York Times), there are plenty of reports of success by people who have done the plan.
(See bottom of page for a detailed How-to guide to the GM Diet.)
Overview of the GM Diet
The General Motors Diet is a seven-day eating plan that has been reported to bring weight losses of 10 to 17 lbs. in a week, compared to 1 to 2 lbs. per week on most conventional plans.
It not only reduces weight but puts the body through a detoxification process. This is because the content of it is mostly water: fruits, vegetables, milk and soup, as well as 6-8 glasses of water daily.
(Note: Toxins are stored in the fatty areas of the body. The GM approach can initiate rapid fat loss and hence, detoxification.)
This detox will cleanse the body and set it up for better overall health after the seven days. After you have completed the detoxification process, you might find that you can no longer face the unhealthful, processed foods that may have led to your becoming overweight in the first place.
The main eating plan of the General Motors plan can be modified for people whose regular eating patterns may be different. This includes an Indian and vegetarian version. Hence, the GM eating plan is not as restrictive as some other plans.
Both the fruits and vegetables that are eaten on this plan and the amount of water that is drunk promote faster digestion. This can help you lose weight quicker as the body is not holding on to what it does not need. By drinking at least 6-8 glasses of water a day, the body will begin to realize that it does not need to retain water as it is getting all the water it needs on a regular basis.
The GM plan can be of particular benefit to people who have suffered from constipation, as this eating regimen promotes regular bowel movements (necessary for good overall health). This helps rid the body of waste products and toxins that can make you feel sluggish and unhealthy.
There is no specific exercise recommendation in the GM plan.
7-Day GM Diet vs Other Weight-Loss Plans
While this is a workable plan that has been around for decades (known variously as “the cabbage diet” or “Sacred Heart Diet” in addition to “the GM Diet”), no single plan is appropriate for all people.
If you’re deciding whether or not to do this way of eating, you’ll find this comparison useful. We’ve put together the details on how the GM plan stacks up against two of today’s most popular — and our favorite — plans. The other plans, Venus Factor and The 3-Week Diet each have a wider range of benefits, including a supporting community of other dieters and detailed resources making it much easier to stay on track with the plans.
Depending on what you need from a program and your personal preferences, there may be a better plan for you than the GM plan.
Rapid and significant, with reported losses of 5 to 10 lbs. in a week.
Potentially better-than-average weight loss
May cause detox side effects that include sudden muscle weakness, fatigue, hunger, dehydration, dizziness, headache, and low energy; strong likelihood of gaining back weight after returning to normal habits
No specific recommendations other than “at least ten minutes a day”
Highly restricted, mostly fruit & vegetable menu.
A few forums – nothing official
Source not conclusively verified
Men & women
Some rapid loss but focused more on creating a pleasing body shape than on big weight loss
Scientifically based on identification of hormone that boosts female metabolism
Their over-the-top sales video is a bit annoying
Daily, moderate intensity
No dietary restrictions other than moderation and effective food-combining.
Plenty, including apps, publications and online support community
John Barban, who holds a Masters in Human Biology
Rapid and significant: guaranteed losses of 12 to 23 lbs. in 21 days
Science-based rapid weight loss; unique motivational manual; unconditional 60-day money-back guarantee
Their over-the-top sales video is a bit annoying; Doesn’t have a strong support community
3 days a week, 20-30 minutes a day
Serious caloric restriction in initial phase
Comes with Introduction, Diet, Workout and Mindset & Motivational manuals
Brian Flatt, a sports nutritionist and health coach with a biology degree.
Men & Women
Comparison Conclusion: Which Diet is Best For Me?
Information about the GM plan is free on the Internet, whereas the other three plans must be purchased. However, the quality of resources the other plans give you is probably worth the cost.
The GM plan, though evidently workable (based on testimonials on YouTube and elsewhere online), is a plan with mysterious (and possibly fictional) origins and no cohesive support and no guarantees.
On the other hand, the 3-Week Diet and Venus Factor come from known, reputable sources. Each has its own official published information (book, manual, etc.). And each is based on medical or scientific principles.
The Venus Factor and 3-week Diet also have cohesive support networks which we think is particularly important for a plan that’s going to be challenging at times. And both the 3-week Diet and the Venus Factor come with a 60-day money-back guarantee, so if you don’t get the results you were expecting, you can just return the product and you haven’t lost anything.
Lastly, only the GM plan admits of possible adverse effects as well as a common “bounce-back” effect where your weight jumps back up again after you stop eating that way. That may be somewhat explained by this being as much a “detox” as a weight-loss way of eating, however bouncing right back up to your previous weight isn’t what most of us are looking for.
If you’re trying to make a decision on whether to do the GM plan, or a different plan, go ahead and skim through the rest of our guide which details the GM plan day-by-day and answers a few common questions. Then, check out the informational materials for the other plans we recommend so you can make an informed decision on which one will suit you best.
Overview: Day-by-Day Meal Chart
On each of the seven days, you will drink 6 -8 glasses of water, except where otherwise noted.
|Day 1||You can eat any fruit but bananas. There is no limit on quantity; eat as much fruit as you want. It is recommended that you eat a lot of melons on the first day. In fact, if you limit your fruit consumption to melons, it will get your weight loss off to a great start. |
|Day 2||Fruits are replaced with vegetables on the second day. You can eat them either cooked or raw and there is restriction on the types or amount you can eat. You can even have a baked potato for breakfast on this day, with a pat of butter if you like. This will provide the body with the complex carbohydrates that will provide energy for the rest of the day. Vegetables provide plenty of essential nutrients and fiber and are virtually calorie-free.|
|Day 3||Except for bananas and potatoes, you can eat a mixture of fruit and vegetables on this day—as much variety as you like, in whatever quantities you choose. Potatoes are no longer needed, as carbohydrates will come from the fruit. By this stage the body is prepared to start burning excess pounds.|
|Day 4||Bananas, milk and soup make up the menu. You can eat up to eight bananas and three glasses of milk on this day (although you may find that you don’t eat all the bananas). You may consume as much of the soup as you like. (Soup recipe below) The bananas are important because they will help to replace the potassium and sodium that the body would have lost in the previous three days. There should be fewer cravings for sweets by this point.|
|Day 5||Today, you will eat beef and tomatoes: six whole tomatoes and two 10 oz. portions of beef. The beef can be eaten in the form of hamburger patties. All of the tomatoes should be eaten but not all the beef needs to be consumed. Increase your water intake by one quart today to help the body cleanse itself of the uric acid that will be produced by digesting the beef. The meat will provide your body with iron and protein and tomatoes provide fiber, which aids digestion.|
|Day 6||You will eat beef again today but will replace the tomatoes with a variety of vegetables of your own choosing. You may eat as much of each as you like. Note that by this day, the body is completely inclined towards weight loss and you should see a noticeable difference in the way you look and feel compared to when you started the diet.|
|Day 7||On the last day of the plan, you eat brown rice, fruit juice and unlimited vegetables. After following the meal plan for the last seven days, you should have completely cleansed and flushed out your system and should also find that you are 10 to 17 lbs. lighter than you were a week ago.|
What Beverages Are Allowed?
Water is the recommended choice of beverage on this weight-loss plan and should be consumed in large quantities. However, there are a number of other drinks that are allowed, as long as they are consumed alongside water. These include black coffee, black tea and club soda.
What Happens When The Diet Has Finished?
If you still have more weight to lose after following the plan for one week, you can repeat it as many times as you require. Following the first week, you can reintroduce some alcohol (beer or white wine only) but it should not be consumed to excess.
The question of whether the weight will stay off after the person has finished the diet depends more on you than the diet itself.
The GM plan consists of fresh, unprocessed food. If you get into the habit of eating these types of foods, then this will make it easier for you to keep the weight off. However, if you go back to the same eating habits that led you to them become overweight, you will likely put the weight back on.
Throughout the week, you should undertake regular exercise along with the eating plan. You should aim for at least ten minutes every day. The body may experience a shock when you start it because it is such a different way of eating that what the body is used to. Exercise will help the body to deal with the shock.
Getting in the habit of regular exercise will also help you to keep the weight off after you have reached your target weight.
Are There Any Side Effects To The GM Diet?
You might experience sudden muscle weakness during the first few days. This is because you will not be consuming any protein during this time. Exercise can help to make the muscles feel stronger (and they will begin to feel strong again when protein is introduced later on in the week).
Another side effect is dehydration and incessant thirst. You can prevent this by increasing your intake of water. On the GM plan, you are encouraged to drink as much water as you possibly can. Feel free to increase the amount of water until you are satisfied.
You may also experience headaches initially. These will disappear once your body gets used to this new way of eating. Drinking a lot of water and engaging in regular exercise will also help alleviate these headaches.
How to Make the Famous GM Soup
The GM Soup is ridiculously easy to make and consists of mainly vegetable ingredients. This soup can be eaten throughout the week in unlimited quantities and the eating of the soup as often as possible is encouraged.
Tip: The soup helps you stay hydrated while your body is clearing out excess fat.
To make the soup…
- add water
- two green peppers
- six large onions
- fresh or canned tomatoes
- a bunch of celery
- one cabbage
- chicken soup stock
- and salt and pepper to taste
Chop vegetables and combine all ingredients in a large soup pot. Simmer for at least 45 minutes or until the vegetables are fully cooked. For a slight variation, try grilling the fresh vegetables before adding them to water.