Judy Ann Santos and Bea Alonzo
Photos: Stylebible.ph and Pinoyexchange.com

Atkins. South Beach. Dukan. These are three of the most popular diets that gained cult followings as soon as Hollywood and local celebrities endorsed them. The growing market of people wanting to get thin is simply undeniable. In fact, many just hop on to whatever weight loss bandwagon is in the spotlight. Proof to this is Beyonce’s phenomenal detox drink that reportedly trimmed her down in a few days. Soon enough, the weird combination of lemonade with maple syrup and cayenne pepper was an instant hit! Reviews and guidelines are all over the internet.

It’s no wonder local actresses Judy Ann Santos and Bea Alonzo created a similar buzz when they recently surprised the public with slimmer figures. Interestingly, both revealed a common fat-busting technique that many are now curious about – the Cohen diet.
Watch as Judy Ann shares some details in a TV interview: 

Video: Youtube (TV5 newsclip uploaded by user mycouchtv)
Waiting Area at the Cohen’s Lifestyle Centre at Suite 1006 Medical Plaza Makati  (July 2010)
The Cohen diet sets itself apart from other fad diets. Read on to grab some useful weight loss tips and find out what the P55,000 program is all about. Just to make it clear, we are not advertising the diet in this entry but merely sharing whatever information we have at hand. Below are some data we compiled as we scoured our records from last year’s information seminar. The seminar was facilitated by the center’s chief executive officer Ms. Barbara Young. Ms. Young also went through the program and shared that she lost 46 pounds in 4.5 months (from 172 to 125).


Dr. Rami Cohen 
Photo: cohensdiet.com
Ms. Young shared that the Cohen’s Lifestyle Centre has only one main doctor – Dr. Rami Cohen, an obstetrician-gynecologist from South Africa who specialized in infertility. In the course of a test-tube project he led, he encountered the problem of obesity. Through intensive research, he was able to isolate some of the hormones driving obesity and came up with a breakthrough – the solution of using food as treatment to it. “Food as medicine” eventually turned out to be the Cohen program. 
Dr. Cohen is now based in the United States and has other clinics all over South Africa, Europe, Australia, Singapore, Taiwan, and Malaysia. 

Photo: topnews.us
Ms. Young quoted Dr. Cohen in saying that obesity or being overweight is a medical condition that can be overcome by a change in lifestyle. She continued to explain that obesity has little or nothing to do with discipline. It is commonly driven by a metabolic rate problem – a hormonal imbalance.
Hormones Involved
  1. The Human Growth Hormone (HGH) is responsible for the regeneration of bodily tissues. It also plays a key role in breaking down body fat allowing the Cohen diet to result in rapid but healthy fat loss. 
  2. Serotonin is responsible for a happy well-being (also known as feel-good, happy hormones).
  3. Insulin regulates blood sugar levels and transports sugar to the blood for energy transformation.
Photos: freshhealthyvending.com and myhealthguardian.com

For those who have a tendency to be big, there is an imbalance of the three hormones. In that case, the body becomes a fat factory. The goal of the Cohen program is to bring the body back to being a fat-burning factory

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Here’s the list of common symptoms you might be experiencing:
          • Always hungry (constant hunger pangs) 
          • Low blood sugar (possible indication of overactivity of insulin)
          • Low energy and constant tiredness
          • Bloated feeling or water retention (pamamamanas)
          • Always dieting but still gaining weight
Photo: mindbodygreen.com
It was emphasized during the talk that if you decide to get into the program, they want you to think of it as a medical program, and not as a diet. The speaker likened it to a doctor’s prescription. If we have been given a prescription to take medicine at “500 mg, three times a day, seven days a week”, we have no other choice but to strictly follow it. We do not have the liberty to tweak the dosage as we please. She reiterated that the same thing holds true for the Cohen program. One has to follow Dr. Cohen’s prescribed eating plan (with a list of allowed foods) as strictly as possible and finish it off for success. 
Given how harsh some onlookers can be to dieters, the centre advises clients to give a standard answer in case they get asked: I’m on a strict medical program. The speaker jokingly said, “Never tell them you’re on a diet. People are not nice when you tell them you’re on a diet.” 
Photo: guidedimageryhealing.com
  • The Cohen program is based on medical research. It is NOT a fad diet and it is not readily available off the shelf. The program started 26 years ago but is not as popular as other diets because no book has been published about it. Dr. Cohen, according to the speaker, finds no use in publishing a book as his diet requires individualized plans based on a person’s blood chemistry profile. 
  • The program is uniquely worked out for a client. Dr. Cohen will need a client’s initial blood tests in order for him to develop an individualized eating plan. He will also need to monitor the client’s progress through the local Cohen’s Lifestyle Centre.  
  • Not everyone is suitable for the program. The Cohen’s Lifestyle Centre screens the clients based on their medical record and blood test results. 
  • Exercise is NOT required for total weight loss in the program. The Cohen program is not designed to accommodate strenuous exercise. Some continue to play badminton or walk on the treadmill but if one is just starting on the program, exercising is not advised. Weight, as the speaker said, will shed off. She added that it’s a balanced eating program, not calorie-counting and not high-protein (diet consists of 45% protein and 55% others).
  • Complex and processed carbohydrates are NOT allowed during the weight loss phase. One’s body is likened to a computer being reset/rebooted. 
  • Food will be the ONLY thing to take – no injections, diet pills, tonics, meal replacements, or special foods. The foods are readily available in the kitchen. One will be taught what these foods are and how they should be prepared. If one continues to feed the body with the right amount and kind of food, the fat is guaranteed to be released naturally.
On the Ease of Meal Preparation

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Photo: service-1.org
Ms. Young shared that if you know how to steam, boil, broil, stir-fry, you will survive. She emphasized that one needs to mentally prepare for the program. According to her, most successful clients prepare their meals beforehand.

On Why They Don’t Provide the Food

Photo: healthontrack.info
It was stated in the seminar that the centre does not sell food because they are teaching a lifestyle. As Ms. Young explained, “From a business standpoint, I’d like to see you again. But my mission is not to see you again. My mission is to make you healthy for the rest of your life which you can do on your own.”

Photos: made-in-china.com, bodyfitnesshealth.com, blog.caloricious.com, getfolic.com
  • One has to measure and weigh the food which will be prescribed. Similar to medicines, measurement has to be precise. A client will be given a list of allowed foods/ingredients. It was said that Dr. Cohen checked the foods that are good for the weight loss period. 
  • The number one culprit in low weight loss rate is the low water intake. Water is the number one food our body needs. Whether one is on the program or not, if he or she doesn’t drink 2-3 liters (around 8 glasses) of water, the toxins in the body are not going to be released. Toxins are released when fat cells are burned. Weight loss rate slows down when these toxins are not flushed out. It’s more gentle to the  bladder if one drinks water every 15-30 minutes. Sips or gulps will do as long as the recommended quantity is consumed. The more you drink water, the faster your weight loss will be.
  • There should be a minimum of 5 hours in between meals to allow the body to digest properly. 
  • For the weight loss phase, there should be no mixing of proteins
  • The client’s last meal should be before 9PM to allow proper digestion.  One should not sleep without fully digesting. The human growth hormone will only work at night if the body is not busy with something else like digestion. .
  • Fruit and crackers will have allowances for snacks. Seasonings such as salt, pepper, vinegar, fresh dried herbs, and low-fat mayonnaise will also be given allowances. Fish sauce, soy sauce, oyster sauce, ketchup, and tomato sauce are NOT allowed. 
  • Optional drinks such as tea, coffee, and select diet drinks can be taken on top of the non-negotiable  water intake. As much as three cans of diet sodas are allowed. 
  • Vitamins and  supplements should be taken. It is advised to take good multivitamins which include important nutrients such as calcium, magnesium, iron, zinc and chromium. Vitamin B6 should not exceed 5mg in dosage as it encourages the appetite. 
  • Make the first 3-4 days of your program relaxing. As much as possible, one should not plan out-of-town trips as detoxification may take place and manifest as hunger, irritability, and sleepiness. On the fifth day, the body’s energy should be higher than the level when the program started. It is important to note that some detoxification phases are extended depending on the amount of toxins the body has to release.
  • One mistake (i.e. cheating or deviating from the plan) may lead to a week of delay and may cause a change in one’s biochemistry. 
  • Each program is individualized and uniquely worked out for a person. Putting loved ones at risk should be avoided. One is discouraged from sharing his or her meal plan with others as it may do more harm than help.  It should be remembered that not everyone can undergo the program. Even if we are experiencing the same medical conditions, we are not given the same medications. 
  • Once done with the weight loss phase, the client is advised to maintain the goal weight. In the case of a 6 to 7-pound weight gain, one can go back to the original eating plan and the weight will go down very quickly. If the weight gain exceeds 10 pounds from the goal weight, it is possible that the original plan may no longer be effective due to the change in biochemistry. 

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Photo: faqs.org
Following the weight loss period is the refeeding program which will take around 3 weeks. In this phase, richer foods will gradually be added to the client’s food list. This is to re-introduce other foods such as complex and processed carbohydrates in a way that will not “shock” the body coming from a controlled program. This method is also a way to test if the body is at its metabolic equilibrium. 
The client is advised to weigh everyday to identify certain foods that may not be good for the body. Overnight weight gain, flatulence and other effects should be observed and noted. This way, your eating plan will be good for you for the rest of your life.

Photo: flowersplane.com
Support program ends once the goal weight is reached and the refeeding program is done. The usual period for a 45-pound weight loss is 6 months. If one needs to lose more than 45, a month is added for every 10 pounds.
What to Expect
Based on previous clients:
About 70% of FEMALES lose 15-22 pounds on the first month. For the entire duration, the average is 6-8 pounds every month.
MALES lose 30-32 pounds on the first month.
  • Loss of fats and inches
  • Lowered cholesterol levels
  • Decreased cellulite
  • Increased skin elasticity
  • Decreased hunger pangs
  • Increased energy level
  • Improved fertility
  • People who want to be healthy again
  • People who want to lose 10 pounds or more
  • Overweight and obese
  • People with high cholesterol
  • People with high blood pressure
  • People suffering from stress
  • People suffering from irritable bowel syndrome
  • People suffering from cellulite problems
  • Pregnant women
  • Breastfeeding mothers
  • Children below 15
  • People over 65 (unless granted permission by doctors)
  • Full vegetarians
  • Diabetics 
  • People with kidney or liver problems
  • People with heart conditions

For more information, you may reach the Cohen’s Lifestyle Centre at +632-502-1090 or +63917-89-COHEN (+63917-892-6436).