Does the GM Diet Plan Work?

Medically reviewed by Natalie Butler, RD, LD on June 1, 2017Written by Ashley Marcin on June 1, 2017

What is the GM diet plan?

The General Motors (GM) diet plan is a seven-day diet that is said to have been created specifically for the health and wellness of employees at the General Motors Corporation. The diet was supposedly designed in 1985 with a grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. It was also said to be tested by Johns Hopkins Research Center before being passed on to GM employees. However, there’s no record actually linking this popular diet to GM.

The diet was designed to target weight loss between 10 to 17 pounds in a single week. As a result, it has become a popular diet well beyond the walls of one company. With such big promises, you might wonder if the diet really works.

GM Diet Now explains that it’s the combination of the foods that does the trick. Following the plan is supposed to turn your body into a detoxing, fat-burning powerhouse. Let’s break it down.

7-day plan

Before launching into the entire seven-day plan, it’s important to note that the diet does not allow you to drink alcohol. Instead, you should drink 10 glasses of plain water each day. Other approved drinks include black coffee, black tea, and club soda.

The goals of each day are detailed in the menu plan below. Know that these are merely suggested meals that follow the GM diet guidelines.

Always check in with your doctor before making any big changes to your diet.

Day 1

To start the diet, you can eat all the fruits you want, except for bananas. Among others, you may indulge in:

  • apples
  • oranges
  • grapes
  • berries
  • kiwi
  • papaya

In fact, the diet encourages you to eat many melons for the most weight loss. Watermelon and cantaloupe are good choices.

Possible meals

  • Breakfast: bowl of fresh fruit (such as watermelon) and 2 to 3 glasses of water
  • Lunch: bowl of fresh fruit (such as strawberries) and two glasses of water
  • Dinner: bowl of fresh fruit (such as cantaloupe) and 2 to 3 glasses of water
  • Snacks: bowl of fresh fruit (such as sliced apples) and two glasses of water

Day 2

Today’s focus is all on vegetables. You can eat as many raw or cooked veggies as you want. There are no rules for what specific types to eat, either.

You may also incorporate complex carbohydrates, such as potatoes, into your day. Top it with a pat of butter, if you like.

Possible meals

  • Breakfast: boiled sweet potato with pat of butter and 2 to 3 glasses of water
  • Lunch: salad with baby spinach, chopped tomatoes, cucumber, and other vegetables, plus two glasses of water
  • Dinner: baked potato topped with steamed veggies (broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, etc.) and 2 to 3 glasses of water
  • Snacks: bowl of your favorite raw vegetable with two glasses of water

Day 3

You can eat fruits and vegetables on day three, still excluding bananas. You also should not eat potatoes. Instead, you can get your energy from the complex carbohydrates in the other fruits.

Possible meals

  • Breakfast: bowl of cantaloupe with 2 to 3 glasses of water
  • Lunch: large salad with kale, red peppers, cherry tomatoes, carrots, and beets, plus two glasses of water
  • Dinner: steamed vegetables (cauliflower, broccoli, etc.) and a side of fruit with 2 to 3 glasses of water
  • Snacks: bowl of raw fruits or vegetables (or both), plus two glasses of water

Day 4

On day four, you can eat up to 8 bananas and drink 3 glasses of milk. Along with these foods, you can eat a specific soup called GM’s Wonder Soup.

The recipe? Combine 28 ounces of water with the following chopped vegetables:

  • 6 large onions
  • 2 green peppers
  • 3 whole tomatoes (or one 29-ounce can)
  • 1 head of cabbage
  • 1 bunch of celery

Add in four envelopes of onion soup mix. You can also add herbs and other spices. Cook everything in a pot until tender, about an hour or so.

This soup is similar to the soup promoted in the cabbage soup diet, which is another extreme diet.

Possible meals

  • Breakfast: 1 to 2 bananas, a glass of milk, and 2 glasses of water
  • Lunch: GM Wonder Soup, a banana, and 2 to 3 glasses of water
  • Dinner: GM Wonder Soup, a glass of milk, and two glasses of water
  • Snacks: bananas and a glass of milk (you can even blend the two together for a shake) or water

Day 5

Feeling hungry? Today is a feasting day. The diet encourages participants to eat two 10-ounce servings of lean beef along with 6 whole tomatoes. You’re supposed to eat all of the tomatoes for fiber, but you do not have to eat all of the meat.

You should also increase how much water you’ve been drinking by a quart (four cups). The idea here is to cleanse your system of uric acid.

Don’t like beef? Chicken or turkey are other options as well. If you’re vegetarian, you may substitute tofu, paneer, or cottage cheese for your protein.

Possible meals

  • Breakfast: serving of beef (prepared with ingredients such as lemon, parsley, salt, and pepper), tomatoes, and three glasses of water
  • Lunch: serving of cottage cheese with cherry tomatoes and three glasses of water
  • Dinner: serving of turkey with tomatoes on the side and three glasses of water
  • Snacks: cubed tofu and tomatoes and three glasses of water

Day 6

More beef is on the menu today, but how much is up to you. You may also eat an unlimited amount of vegetables. You should still avoid potatoes and fruit. Continue drinking lots of water.

Possible meals

  • Breakfast: bowl of GM Wonder Soup with or without meat, plus three glasses of water
  • Lunch: salad topped with lean beef and your favorite veggies, plus three glasses of water
  • Dinner: hamburger (no bun!) with GM Wonder Soup and three glasses of water
  • Snacks: bowl of raw vegetables with a side of paneer and three glasses of water

Day 7

If you’ve made it this far, today you will eat brown rice, fruit juices, and as many veggies as you can pack in.

You may choose to repeat the entire diet again if you did not get the results you wanted the first time around. If you do so, you may also add in a single glass of wine every now and again after the first seven days.

Possible meals

  • Breakfast: bowl of brown rice with steamed broccoli and three glasses of water
  • Lunch: veggie-loaded salad with a glass of 100% apple juice and two glasses of water
  • Dinner: roasted asparagus with brown rice and three glasses of water
  • Snacks: bowl of GM Wonder Soup and two or three glasses of water

Effects on the body

If you eat a lot of junk food, bad fats, and simple carbohydrates, trying to clean up your diet with plenty of fruits and veggies can help. Skipping alcohol, soda, and other sugary beverages may also give your weight loss efforts a boost. Eating more healthfully for seven days can be a good way to get motivated and shift yourself out of some unhealthy eating habits.

That said, the diet’s background is sketchy at best. More importantly, it’s extremely restrictive and at times wacky.

Many fitness sites and bloggers have examined the GM diet. For example, Christine Yu at Daily Burn consulted with a few dietitians about eating 8 bananas in 1 day. Their thoughts? If you have blood sugar issues or diabetes, eating that much sugar in a day is definitely not a smart idea. In addition, there is no credible research to back up the diet’s philosophy or claimed benefits.

It appears that the GM diet may be just another fad diet and not the stuff of long-term weight loss. Due to the many food rules and restrictions, this diet is classified as a very low-calorie diet. As far as how you’ll feel, the GM Diet Now website explains that you may experience “detox side effects” during your week-long adventure. These side effects may include things like:

  • muscle weakness
  • tiredness
  • headache
  • hunger
  • low energy

You may also gain the weight back quickly after returning to your old eating patterns, a common outcome of dieting.

Find out the best strategies for weight loss »

The bottom line

Follow the GM diet with caution if you choose to try it out. Better yet, make an appointment with your doctor to talk about losing weight and keeping it off. Very low-calorie diets should only be attempted with the support of your doctor. While dropping many pounds fast may sound appealing, slow is the way to go for sustainable changes. Losing weight slowly can help you avoid postdiet weight gain.

Doctors recommend losing just half a pound to two pounds in a week, not 10 to 17. Eat well, exercise often, and try setting your sights on moderate weight loss that will stick in the long term and keep you feeling your best.

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