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The Sacred Heart Diet is a fad diet that has been circulating for many years.
The diet was supposedly thought to come from the cardiology department at Sacred Heart Memorial Hospital where it was used for overweight heart patients. However, like most of these diets – this is an urban myth.
The Sacred Heart Diet has been called a number of different names (such as the Spokane Heart Diet, the Cleveland Clinic Diet, Sacred Heart Memorial Hospital Diet and the Miami Heart Institute Diet).
Basically A Soup Based Diet
The Sacred Heart Diet is a soup-based diet and claims that you will lose 10-17 pounds in the first week.
This may be true, but most of the weight lost will tend to be water – and will be gained right back very soon after the diet.
This diet is very clearly an unsustainable fad diet but is not as nutritionally unsound as similar diets. Most of these diets claim some magical fat-burning science is involved, or that there is something special about the combination of foods. This is simply untrue – it is nothing more complex than a reduction in calories!
Here are the two of the most popular Sacred Heart Diet soup recipes that are the foundation of this fad diet.
The Sacred Heart Diet Soup Recipes
Most Popular Sacred Heart Soup Recipe
- 1 or 2 cans of stewed tomatoes
- 3 plus large green onions
- 1 large can of beef broth (no fat)
- 1 pkg. Lipton Soup mix (chicken noodle)
- 1 bunch of celery
- 2 cans green beans
- 2 lbs Carrots
- 2 Green Peppers
Season with salt, pepper curry, parsley, if desired, or bouillon, hot or Worcestershire sauce. Cut veggies in small to medium pieces. Cover with water. Boil fast for 10 minutes. Reduce to simmer and continue to cook until vegetables are tender.
Alternate Soup Recipe
Soup to be eaten ALL DAY as much and as often as you can.
- 2 – 11oz. cans chicken noodle soup (Campbell Healthy)
- 5 stalks of celery (diced)
- 1 lb. pack frozen string beans
- 4 carrots (diced)
- 4 potatoes (diced)
- ½ green pepper (diced)
- 2 onions (diced)
The diet also bears a striking resemblance to the cabbage soup diet.
7 Day Diet Plan
Any fruit (except bananas). Cantaloupes and watermelon are lower in calories than most other fruits. Eat only soup and fruit today.
All vegetables. Eat until you are full with fresh raw, cooked or canned veggies. Try to eat green leafy veggies and stay away from dry beans, peas or corn. Eat veggies along with the soup and a baked potato at dinner time with butter. Don’t eat any fruits through today.
Eat all the soup, fruit and veggies you want. Do not have a baked potato.
Bananas and skim milk: Eat at least 3 bananas and drink as much milk as you can today, along with the soup.
Beef and tomatoes: you may have 10 to 20 ounces of beef and a can of tomatoes, or as many as 6 tomatoes on this day. Eat the soup at least once today.
Beef and veggies, eat to your heart’s content of the beef and veggies today. You can even have 2-3 steaks if you like with green leafy veggies but no baked potato. Be sure to eat the soup at least once today.
Brown rice, unsweetened fruit juice and veggies, until full (and eat the soup). You can add cooked veggies to your rice if you wish.
- Unsweetened juices
- Tea (also herbal)
- Cranberry juice
- Skim milk
- Lots of water
The soup can be eaten at any time.
Sacred Heart Diet Variations
Here is a different version of the diet – alleged to have come from Lehigh Valley Hospital, Pennsylvania.
Follow the daily plan for 2 consecutive weeks, then take the following week off. You can repeat the cycle for as long as you like or until you achieve your weight loss goal.
Eat SOUP and all the FRESH FRUIT that you want. Nothing else. (no bananas)
Eat SOUP and all the FRESH VEGETABLES that you want. (no corn or beans).
Eat SOUP and BOTH FRUIT VEGETABLES, all you want. Nothing else.
Eat SOUP all day and 3 BANANAS. 1 GLASS OF SKIM MILK. Nothing else.
Eat SOUP, up to 8 TOMATOES and ALL the skinless CHICKEN, lean BEEF FISH that you want. Nothing else.
Eat SOUP, ALL the skinless CHICKEN, lean BEEF FISH that you want… nothing else.
Eat SOUP and all the BROWN RICE that you want. Nothing else.
The Problems With This Diet
- Any diet that would tell you to eat unlimited red meat is not healthy, especially for those with heart disease or cholesterol problems.
- Diets that only focus on certain food groups and eliminate others isn’t sustainable long term.
- With no calorie or portion guidelines in place, people could consume too little calories or way too many on certain days.
- The Sacred Heart Diet is nutrient deficient on certain days.
Diet Not Endorsed by a Hospital
This diet is not recommended
- The Sacred Heart Hospital in Montreal Canada (Hôpital Sacre Coeur) issued a press release in 2004 stating that “no nutritionist at the Hospital took part in the development of this diet”.
- The American Heart Association have claimed that the diet is phony (ref).
- The Sacred Heart Medical Center also disclaim any association with the diet (ref).
While people have reported losing a lot of weight on The Sacred Heart Diet, it is not a diet that will promote long-term healthy weight loss¹ ².
Most people gain the weight back quickly and have to keep repeating fad diets like this over and over again.
Diets that become a lifestyle teach portion control, address emotional eating issues, and are not very restrictive.
My Sacred Heart Diet is a book version of the diet and retails for $19. This is an improved and healthier version of the original.
By Mizpah Matus B.Hlth.Sc(Hons)
- 1. Saris, W. H. (2001). Very‐Low‐Calorie Diets and Sustained Weight Loss. Obesity Research, 9(S11), 295S-301S.
- 2. Apfelbaum, M., Vague, P., Ziegler, O., Hanotin, C., Thomas, F., Leutenegger, E. (1999). Long-term maintenance of weight loss after a very-low-calorie diet: a randomized blinded trial of the efficacy and tolerability of sibutramine. The American journal of medicine, 106(2), 179-184. Link
Last Reviewed: February 7, 2018