The Sacred Heart Memorial Hospital Diet (also known as the Sacred Heart Diet) is another of those diets which, like the Tuna Fish Diet, is attributed to hospital staff who were attempting to reduce the weight of a cardiac patient by some 10 lbs. It has been around since at least the 1980's and takes the form of a vegetable soup which is consumed, along with a few other foods, over a period of seven days.
Intending users should be aware that the origin of this plan is uncertain. Hospitals have denied being the source, as have other institutions that have been nominated as likely creators, including the American Heart Association.
Nonetheless, the diet continues to be circulated and has adherents who are happy to use it, along with others who were skeptical or did not find it useful. This soup diet is also known as the Cleveland Clinic Diet, the Cabbage Soup Diet, and the Spokane Heart Diet. I have found reports from users who state that they were introduced to it by their medical practitioner.
The dieter is expected to eat the soup at least once a day and, at various times, meats, rice, vegetables and fruit may be included in the eating plan. Excluded are bread and alcohol. Included are Chicken Noodle Soup, stewed tomatoes, beef broth, celery and more. The only drinks permitted are water, black coffee, cranberry juice (unsweetened) and skimmed milk. A detailed outline of this plan can be found with a quick search for my article "Sacred Heart Memorial Hospital Diet – Recipe and Diet Plan."
1. The Sacred Heart Memorial Hospital Diet is essentially a low calorie, short term diet, with the difficulties typical of such a plan, such as dizziness, lack of energy, occasional diarrhea and sometimes fainting.
2. Short term weight loss is often water loss rather than fat loss and is easily regained once the diet has ended.
3. The body tends to conserve energy and fat reserves with low calorie diets. This makes it harder for lasting weight loss to occur.
4. There are reports of significant amounts of weight reduction but the feelings of hunger and discomfort caused by this diet plan make it likely the user will eat excessively after the seven days of restricted eating. Thus the amount of weight that has been lost will soon be regained.
5. A change in eating habits is not required except for the seven day period of the diet. This means that the benefits are unlikely to continue as returning to the same conditions as before will soon restore whatever has been lost.
To obtain lasting weight loss requires, in effect, a change of lifestyle – a different selection of foods as part of the normal diet rather than a crash program that adds stress to the body and provides only short term benefits. Such a plan would include food that has high nutritional value and suits the tastes and preferences of the dieter. As well, a significant portion of the weight that has been lost should be fat loss and not merely water which is easily replaced. Unfortunately, the Sacred Heart Memorial Hospital Diet does not meet these requirements.