When you're trying to find a diet you can maintain for health or weight loss, you may run across the Bahamian Diet. Created by comedian and activist Dick Gregory in the 1980s as a response to his own health issues, the diet and complementary supplement may help you reach your wellness goals.
Part of the diet includes using a powdered meal replacement drink once marketed as the Formula 4X. It was reformulated as a weight-loss product and named the Bahamian Diet. It's still available as of August 2019, reformulated once again, under the name Caribbean Diet for Optimal Health.
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The Bahamian Diet is a natural, vegetarian raw food diet that also uses a meal replacement drink.
Who Is Dick Gregory?
Dick Gregory was a well-known comedian and political activist in the 1960s who developed the Bahamian Diet (then known as the Slim Safe Bahamian Diet) and supplement after he used his plan to achieve his own weight loss. According to NPR, he weighed, at one point, 365 pounds and lost a lot of weight through fasting.
Gregory went on a hunger strike to protest the Vietnam War and other causes and explained in an interview with Juan Williams on NPR's Talk of the Nation that he went without solid food for two and a half years. He alternated between 40 days of water, 40 days of fruit juice, 40 days of fruit and then 40 days of water again.
The Bahamian Diet Principles
The official product website, Wellness in Nature, does little to suggest how the program should be followed, instead, it offers a video sharing the history of the supplement, detailing numerous accounts of restored health and wellness.
But, according to a 1993 commercial advertising the Bahamian Diet, users are to mix the powder with prune juice, drink it for breakfast and lunch, then eat a sensible, balanced dinner. In addition, they're advised to drink eight glasses of water per day and walk a mile every day.
The powder mixes with water, coconut water, almond or rice milk or unsweetened juice.
Read more: Pros & Cons of a Vegetarian Diet
Bahamian Diet Supplement Ingredients
The Wellness in Nature website doesn't provide a photo of the supplement facts or a full list of ingredients. The product is touted as a 100 percent vegan whole-food-based dietary supplement that includes highly digestible plant protein.
Read more: How to Choose a Vegan Protein Powder
Does the Bahamian Diet Work?
According to multiple case studies published in 1989 in the Journal of the National Medical Association, the Bahamian Diet shows promise. "The 4X formula is high in minerals and trace elements." The journal article references four case studies, all with positive outcomes, however, these results would have to be repeated in multiple large scale studies before considering it safe and effective.
One study involved advanced protein energy malnutrition in Ethiopian children. The Bahamian Diet powder was mixed with a small amount of vegetable oil, table sugar, water and whole cow's milk. Regular administering of the supplement reversed clinical and biochemical features in the nine children who participated in the study.
According to the Mayo Clinic, liquid diets are meant to keep the stomach and intestines clear while limiting strain on your digestive system and keeping you hydrated. Diets like this should be used for only a few days and under the direction of a doctor. Long-term use of liquid diets doesn't provide you with enough calories and nutrients. Instead, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends eating a diet high in fruits and vegetables to help manage your weight.
- Wellness in Nature: "Caribbean Diet for Optimal Health"
- Biography: "Dick Gregory"
- NPR: The Two-Way: "Comedian and Civil Rights Activist Dick Gregory Dies at 84"
- NPR: Talk of the Nation: "Dick Gregory"
- YouTube: "Dick Gregory Bahamian Diet (1993)"
- Journal of the National Medical Association: "Clinical Studies of a Vegetarian Food Diet Mixture"
- YouTube: "Dick Gregory's Caribbean Diet for Optimal Health"
- Mayo Clinic: Clear Liquid Diet"
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: "Can Eating Fruits and Vegetables Help People Manage Their Weight?"
- Callus on My Soul; Dick Gregory