The GM diet aims to help people lose weight by focusing on a specific food or food group each day for a week.
However, this plan may exclude essential nutrients, and it might not be a sustainable long-term weight-loss strategy.
In this article, we look at the GM diet in more detail, including how it works and its benefits and risks.
The GM diet consists of a 7-day meal plan. Each day focuses on a specific food or food group.
GM stands for General Motors. Some sources claim that the General Motors corporation developed and endorsed this diet plan to help its employees lose weight.
The GM diet promotes weight loss in several ways, including:
- encourages people to eat more fruit and vegetables, which are healthful, low-calorie foods
- does not allow added sugars or processed foods
- does not permit refined carbohydrates
- lowers people’s daily calorie intake
People following the GM diet are likely to lose weight because it involves taking in fewer calories than a person uses up. However, it is unlikely to be the most healthful way to lose weight.
Each person’s body is different so people may experience different results.
The GM diet plan has several associated benefits and risks.
More fruits and vegetables
One health benefit of the GM diet is that fruits and vegetables are the primary foods. Fruits and vegetables suppress fat accumulation in the body because they are low in calories and high in fiber, which makes people feel fuller for longer.
Fewer added sugars
The GM diet does not allow added sugars in either foods or beverages, including alcohol.
People in the United States generally eat and drink more sugar than is healthful. Research has identified links between diets high in added sugars and a range of health conditions, including obesity, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend that people limit their daily intake of added sugars to less than 10 percent of their total daily calories.
Other reported benefits
Some sources also claim that those who follow the GM diet will experience a variety of other impressive results, such as:
- improved quality and appearance of the skin
- enhanced mood
- better digestion and metabolism
- curing irritable bowel syndrome and constipation
However, it is important to note that there is a lack of research to support these claims.
Although the idea of substantial weight loss within a short period may seem attractive, the GM diet does come with risks.
Lacks important nutrients
People following the GM diet may not get enough of certain important food groups, such as healthful fats and protein. Their diet may also lack essential vitamins and minerals that come with eating a wide variety of healthful foods.
While the trans fats that are present in many fried and baked foods can raise cholesterol and cause health problems, a person’s body needs healthful unsaturated fats to function.
Unsaturated fats, such as those in salmon, avocados, and walnuts, help improve cholesterol and also offer other health benefits.
Research suggests that high-protein diets promote weight loss and lower cholesterol and blood glucose levels. Such diets may also reduce feelings of hunger and have beneficial effects on the body’s metabolism. People following the GM diet may not get enough protein.
Short-term weight loss
The GM diet is not suitable as a long-term diet strategy, meaning that a person may regain weight once they stop following the diet.
One reason for this is that the diet does not necessarily teach techniques for healthful cooking or eating, and these techniques are essential for long-term weight maintenance.
Short-term diet plans are less effective for weight-loss maintenance than adopting long-term lifestyle changes, such as increasing exercise levels and cooking with a range of healthful ingredients.
Other risks that one GM diet website lists include:
People following the GM diet eat a different food group or combination of food groups each day. The main foods that the GM diet allows include fruits, vegetables, meat, and milk.
The plan instructs people to eat a big breakfast, a moderately sized lunch, and a light dinner. It also allows several snacks throughout the day.
In addition, the diet involves a broth called “wonder soup,” which is a tangy, low-calorie vegetable soup containing cabbage, tomatoes, celery, pepper, and carrots. People can eat wonder soup as a snack to curb hunger pangs until their next meal.
The plan recommends that people drink a lot of water to promote proper digestion and prevent them from feeling tired. The plan recommends 2–3 glasses of water with each meal. There is no absolute recommendation for the total amount of water to drink per day, which depends on a person’s age, body weight, and overall health.
People following the GM diet can take part in light forms of exercise, such as yoga, while dieting. After day 3, they can add walking or other low-intensity cardio to their workouts. On days 5 to 7, people can start adding strength training to their exercise regimen.
Below, we explain the basic outline of the GM diet and provide possible meal plans:
Day 1 — Fruit
People can eat a range of fruits, especially melons and citrus fruits, but should avoid bananas.
- breakfast: 1 medium apple or 1 bowl of mixed berries
- snack: 1 bowl of cantaloupe or an orange
- unch: 1 bowl of watermelon
- snack: 1 orange
- dinner: 1 pear or 1 bowl of kiwi
- snack: 1 bowl of mixed berries
Day 2 — Vegetables
Start the day with a sweet potato or baked potato, but limit potato intake to breakfast only. People can eat vegetables raw or cooked.
- breakfast: 1 sweet potato or 1 baked potato
- snack: 1 bowl of cabbage
- lunch: a mixed salad containing lettuce, tomatoes, carrots, and cucumber
- snack: 1 bowl of steamed or raw broccoli
- dinner: 1 bowl of kale or arugula with asparagus
- snack: 1 bowl of sliced cucumbers
Day 3 — Fruit and vegetables
People can eat the same foods as days 1 and 2, avoiding bananas and potatoes.
- breakfast: 1 apple or 1 bowl of watermelon
- snack: 1 bowl of cherry tomatoes
- lunch: a mixed salad
- snack: 1 bowl of sliced cucumbers
- dinner: 1 kale salad with carrots and cucumbers and 1 bowl of strawberries on the side
- snack: 1 apple
Day 4 — Bananas and milk
Eat bananas either whole or in a smoothie with milk and ice. No other fruits or vegetables are allowed, but people can also eat wonder soup.
- breakfast: 2 bananas and 1 glass of milk
- snack: 1 smoothie containing banana and skim milk
- lunch: 1 bowl of wonder soup
- snack: 1 smoothie containing banana and skim milk
- dinner: wonder soup and 1 banana
Day 5 — Meat
Eat 20 ounces (oz) of either beef, chicken, or fish. Vegetarians can replace meat with cottage cheese or brown rice.
- breakfast: 5–6 oz serving of meat and 2 whole tomatoes
- lunch: 7–8 oz serving of meat with 2 whole tomatoes
- dinner: 5–6 oz serving of meat with 2 whole tomatoes
- snacks: wonder soup or freshly pressed tomato juice
- an additional 4 cups of water
Day 6 — Meat and vegetables
Eat 20 oz of meat and unlimited raw or cooked vegetables, excluding potatoes and tomatoes. Vegetarians can have cottage cheese or brown rice in place of meat.
- breakfast: 5–6 oz serving of meat with 1 bowl of vegetables
- lunch: 7–8 oz serving of meat with 1 bowl of vegetables
- dinner: 5–6 oz serving of meat with wonder soup
- snacks: wonder soup
Day 7 — Rice, fruit, and vegetables
Eat fruit, vegetables, and brown rice. The diet plan for this day permits sugar-free juice.
- breakfast: 1 bowl of brown rice and 1 orange or a bowl of watermelon
- lunch: 1 bowl of brown rice and 1 glass of sugar-free fruit juice
- dinner: 1 bowl of brown rice with 1 bowl of raw or cooked vegetables
- snacks: berries, citrus fruits, or wonder soup
The GM diet is appealing because it promises substantial weight loss in as little as 1 week.
Beneficial aspects of the diet include its focus on eating plenty of fruits and vegetables and avoiding added sugars. However, it can cause nutritional deficiencies and may not be sustainable in the long term.
The GM diet restricts the types of food that people eat. Although the diet encourages people to eat more fruit and vegetables, it is very low in other essential food groups, such as unsaturated fats and protein.
Long-term weight loss involves more than just dieting. It requires people to make both dietary and lifestyle changes. Eating a balanced diet and participating in regular physical activity are important habits to develop when trying to achieve long-term weight loss.
People who feel that they want or need to lose weight but do not know where to start can consult a healthcare professional or a licensed dietician. Professional dieticians can work with people to develop a personalized weight-loss plan that can help them achieve their goals with less risk than short-term diets.