It might sound like an ineffective fad diet or an advertising gimmick, but a milk and cereal diet actually can be effective for weight loss. The key is using cereal and low-fat milk as a meal replacement, which works because this food is low in calories. You also need to be reasonable about the other foods you eat each day while on this diet.
The milk and cereal diet involves eating one serving of cereal with 1/2 cup of low-fat milk for breakfast and another bowl for either lunch or dinner, explains the Every Diet website. The diet lasts for two weeks. A well-known example of the cereal diet is the Special K diet, a plan devised by Kellogg's, but the diet works with other kinds of cereal. Even cereals high in sugar and refined flour tend to provide only about 120 calories per serving, according to the November 1999 issue of "Nutrition Action Health Letter." Make the meal more healthy by eating high-fiber whole-grain cereals low in sugar.
A study conducted by R.D. Mattes of Purdue University and published in the December 2002 issue of the "Journal of the American College of Nutrition" investigated whether cereal as a meal replacement is helpful for losing weight. During the two-week study, cereal replacements reduced calorie intake by about 530 to 700 calories per day, resulting in significant average weight losses, primarily of fat mass. The study also determined that eating a variety of brands of cereal rather than just one brand works well.
The third meal, whether lunch or dinner, should be low in fat and nutritious, advises the Every Diet website. You also may have healthy snacks during the day such as fruit, vegetables, low-fat yogurt or a cereal bar. Water and diluted fruit juices are the preferred beverages, although you may drink your usual favorites except for alcohol, which should be avoided during the diet.
During a typical day on the milk and cereal diet, you might have one bowl of any cereal you prefer with skim or 1-percent milk for breakfast, and coffee or tea or diluted fruit juice if you like. A piece of fruit for a mid-morning snack is acceptable. Lunch could consist of another bowl of cereal with milk, and you may have a low-calorie, mid-afternoon snack as well, such as a cereal bar or some vegetable sticks. The menu allows a reasonable meal of your choice for dinner, such as grilled fish and a vegetable dish. Try fruit and low-fat yogurt for dessert, as suggested by Every Diet.
Although most breakfast cereals are fortified with vitamins and minerals, this may not make up for the nutrition you miss when not eating a wider range of foods, as noted by Every Diet. In addition, many cereals are not whole-grain products and are not good sources of fiber. For best results, eat fruit, vegetables and whole grains every day to provide extra nutrition and fiber. Some people experience problems with the high-sugar content of many commercial breakfast cereals, which can trigger increased appetite. This diet does not address long-term weight maintenance, so dieters may wind up regaining any weight lost after discontinuing the milk and cereal diet.