Dr Jean-Claude Houdret, architect of the Spoonlight (his supplement brand name) program -- renamed here "the Karl Lagerfeld Diet" after the famous haute couture designer lost over 88 pounds and maintained a weight that enabled him to wear clothing that he had last worn when he was 18 years old -- advocates a simple-to-understand but perhaps difficult-to-implement regime of three phases where the emphasis is eating mainly protein and certain vegetables and maximizing muscle retention by adding his pre packaged protein supplements. Mr. Lagerfeld freely comments throughout this pleasantly formatted book in blue-fonted asides, relaying dieting tips and offering support in the form of his own personal experience complete with line drawings, photographs and even a poster summarizing the plan to hang in your kitchen pantry door.
Speaking strictly from a practical level, as certain phases of this diet rely on substituting Dr. Houdret's protein supplements for actual meals, -- Dr Houdret's dieting concept hinges on the fact that the unhealthy loss of muscle mass during weight loss can be avoided by adding extra protein to each meal -- this diet plan may not be feasible simply because the Spoonlight product is not easily obtained. That is not to say that Houdret does not advocate the consumption of real food - the recipes that make up the bulk of this book require great seasonal ingredients. These actual meals debut in the second phase of the plan and their frequency increases as reliance on the protein sachets decreases in phase 3--- But don't get confused and think that this is just a recant of other recent European idea imports like "the French Fallacy", the "Montignac Method" or "French Women Don't Get Fat,"that advocate enjoying real food in limited quantities. Houdret's Spoonlight program, while heavy on the protein, limits fat intake to almost nothing and recommends only eating carbs in the form of most green vegetables. Dried fruit, peas, dry beans and lentils are not allowed. Neither are cheese or dairy products unless their fat content remains within the 0% to 20% range. The usual top offenders of white flour, pasta, rice, chocolate and sugar remain taboo on this plan.
Houdret warns that there will be some physical and mental discomfort on the most limited phase of the plan and requires further supplementation that runs the gamut of a general cocktail of vitamins and minerals to natural hunger suppressants, cactus extracts, doses of ginseng and yarrow and a metabolism balancer consisting of spirulina, chromium yeast and lithotamus. All are packaged by the good doctor and sold on his website.
On a nuts and bolts level, Phase I of the diet consists of consuming only 800 to 900 calories a day and is only suggested while under the care of a monitoring physician. This level which is recommended for only 2 weeks consists of Spoonlight protein sachets ingested with 8 ounces of vegetables, three times a day. As a less aggressive starting point, Level II is not as depriving (1000- 1200 calories per day) , with slightly more variety on the protein intake as you are allowed a fish, poultry or meat choice in the evening rather than the mandatory protein sachets consumed at breakfast and lunch. I found Houdret's suggestion of following up a meal with some low-fat cheese or yogurt interesting as well as timely in light of study results that find low fat dairy beneficial for weight loss and disease prevention. Level III allows the participant to consume 1200 to 1600 calories a day with the addition of whole wheat toast at breakfast and fruit following dinner in the evening.
Bottom line: As this plan seems to incorporate low-fat, low carb and protein balance into one minimalist plan, I can't see how you could not lose weight, especially if the strict guideline of meal replacement fits into a busy schedule that does not allow for time to think let alone plan or eat a good healthy meal. On the other hand, even though I found some of Houdret's less conventional dietary no-nos food for thought and plan on experimenting with them in my own eating plan, I don't want to spend most of my food budget on consuming proteins packets and supplements instead of real food. I would rather learn how to eat right for the long term without having to rely on a quick pre-packaged fix.