Lose Over a Stone in Six Weeks with the Watercress Soup Diet
The Watercress Alliance teamed up with leading nutritionist Sarah Schenker to develop our own version of the Watercress Soup Diet so beloved of celebrity Liz Hurley. Eleven volunteers were selected who, after following the diet for just six weeks lost an average 1 stone 3lbs while the star dieter, Roy White, shed an incredible 3.5 stone. He lost nearly 10% of his body fat and had a final BMI (body mass index) of 33.5 down from 4.0.
All the participants were impressed by how easy the diet was to keep to. Virtually everyone lost weight within the first week which meant motivation to continue was high but it was not just weight loss, all of them stated that the condition of their skin and hair had improved and that they felt unusually energised.
Sarah Schenker said: “Watercress Soup is extremely healthy as it is packed full of vitamins – it is also filling which is why it is ideal in helping people stick to the recommended calorie count. This version of the watercress soup diet has been designed to help participants lose the maximum amount of weight considered to be safe for health during a six week period. It is a balanced diet and provides all the essential nutrients needed to keep healthy.”
What Our Volunteers Said
The Watercress Soup Diet has long been the preferred choice of Liz Hurley who claims that whenever she gets a hunger pang and is tempted to raid the fridge, she helps herself to a cup of watercress soup. Our version of the Watercress Soup Diet devised by Sarah Schenker, a leading UK nutritionist, is nutritionally balanced with a high carbohydrate breakfast, followed by watercress soup for lunch and then a high protein supper. There are other suggested meal ideas involving watercress, but watercress soup remains the key feature. All participants had to have watercress soup for lunch at least four days out of seven and, à la Liz, were encouraged to have a cup of the soup if they felt peckish between meals.
The average daily energy (calorie) intake was 1000-1200kcal and never went below 800kcal. The 11 volunteers, who responded to an advert and whose ages ranged from 32 to 62 included three male participants. All 11 met with Sarah on a weekly basis to be weighed and to discuss how they felt the diet was going. At the end of the six week trial period, collectively they had lost over 13 stone.
Star dieter was Roy White, a 48-year-old site manager from Wanstead who dropped nearly 3.5 stones from 21 stone 5lbs to 17 stone 13lbs. He lost nearly 10% of his body fat and had a final BMI of 33.5 down from 40. “I wanted to lose some weight and decided to give the Watercress Soup Diet a go. I’m quite a focussed person and so stuck to the diet and calorie intake rigidly. I made a large vat of the soup which I ate if I ever felt hungry between meals and I had the soup for lunch every day. I set myself the target of losing a stone in the first week – and did – so that spurred me on to lose another stone by week three. I felt much more energised when I’d started the diet and so began to do regular exercise as well. The weight continued to fall off and now I’ve set myself the task of losing another stone to bring me down to my target weight.”
Roy added: “Not many men are prepared to join diet groups as they tend to be dominated by ladies, however, I know a number of blokes from my local rugby club who’ve been following my progress on Facebook and have expressed interest in losing weight. I’m planning to set up a Watercress Soup Diet club for them in the New Year and we’ll be shedding the pounds together.”
HR Officer and mother of one Lisa Regan (42) lost nearly 1.5 stone on the diet. “I found the diet really easy to stick to. The meals were tasty and satisfying and it was simple to make up enough watercress soup to be eaten over several days. I didn’t eat much watercress before doing the diet but over the six weeks I’ve noticed that I feel more healthy and energetic and my hair and skin look better too.”
Lisa’s sister Anita Barker (46), an office administrator from South Woodford, also took part, losing just over a stone. “I feel great! I didn’t want to lose a lot of weight – I just wanted to feel more comfortable in my clothes. The Watercress Soup Diet was simple to follow and because results could be seen within the first week it kept you motivated and keen to keep it up. Like Lisa, I might have eaten watercress occasionally but now I’m a real convert and I will definitely keep eating the watercress soup.”
Watercress has emerged in recent years as a super food containing an amazing 15 vital vitamins and nutrients. Revered since ancient times for its health-giving properties gram for gram watercress boasts more vitamin C than oranges, more vitamin E than broccoli, more calcium than whole milk, more iron than spinach and it is also the richest available dietary source of PEITC (phenylethyl isothiocyanate) which research suggests can fight cancer.1
*The reference for the Ulster study: Gill CIR, Haldar S, Boyd LA, Bennett R, Whiteford J, Butler B, Pearson JR, Bradbury I and Rowland IR (2007) Watercress supplementation in diet reduces lymphocyte DNA damage and alters blood antioxidant status in healthy volunteers. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 85 (2), 504-510.
The Reference for the Southampton study:  Br J Nutr. 2010 Jun 15:1-9. [Epub ahead of print]PMID: 20546646 In vivo modulation of 4E binding protein 1 (4E-BP1) phosphorylation by watercress: a pilot study. Syed Alwi SS, Cavell BE, Telang U, Morris ME, Parry BM, Packham G.