What Is the GM Diet?

Six bananas, one peeled, on a bright blue background
Getty Images / Anjelika Gretskaia.

At Verywell, we believe there is no one-size-fits-all approach to a healthy lifestyle. Successful eating plans need to be individualized and take the whole person into consideration. Prior to starting a new diet plan, consult with your healthcare provider or a registered dietitian, especially if you have an underlying health condition.

What Is the GM Diet?

The GM Diet, formally the General Motors Diet, is a seven-day diet plan that promises to help you lose an eyebrow-raising number of pounds—up to 15—in just one week. The diet involves cutting out many food groups while eating only certain foods on specific days. There is also a particular soup participants are to eat when hunger strikes.

This so-called miracle diet isn’t backed by any science whatsoever. It’s also been referred to as the GM Detox Diet, which is yet another red flag because self-imposed detoxes of any type may not be a good idea.  Though Verywell doesn’t recommend the GM Diet as a bona fide weight-loss diet or a sustainable healthy diet, it is worth discussing, if only to debunk its falsities. 

What Experts Say

“The GM diet includes healthy foods but is very regimented in how and when to eat them. For example, you can only eat fruit on the first day. The diet is unrealistic and not backed by science. Creating strict rules around food is not the healthiest psychologically.”
Kelly Plowe, MS, RD

The 7-Day Diet Plan

The GM Diet is a seven-day weight loss diet plan. It involves eating specific foods on specific days, cutting out many food groups and beverages, and drinking something called “GM Wonder Soup” when you get hungry. The origins of the diet (and any connection to the automotive company) are unknown.

  • Day 1: Fruit only. Eat any kind of fruit except bananas and mangoes. The diet encourages you to eat melons for extra weight loss, although no studies say melons specifically induce weight loss. 
  • Day 2: Vegetables only, raw or cooked. Limit potatoes to your morning meal.
  • Day 3: Eat fruit and vegetables of any kind, except bananas and potatoes.
  • Day 4: Only bananas and milk allowed. Eat up to 6 large or 8 small bananas, and drink three glasses of milk. The diet encourages you to drink skim milk but doesn’t ban whole or 2% milk.
  • Day 5: You can eat portions of beef, chicken, or fish. Other than the meat, you may consume up to six tomatoes (yes, six whole tomatoes), wonder soup, and power soup.
  • Day 6: Any meat, beef, chicken, or fish, plus unlimited vegetables (no potatoes, sweet potatoes, corn, or peas)
  • Day 7: Only brown rice, fruit, fruit juice, and vegetables.

What You Can Eat

GM Wonder Soup

GM Wonder Soup contains celery, tomatoes, onions, bell peppers, and cabbage.

Fruits and Vegetables

You can eat fruit and vegetables on particular days, such as:

  • Melons
  • Apples
  • Broccoli
  • Carrots
  • Spinach
  • Tomatoes

What You Cannot Eat

Processed Foods

No processed foods of any sort, including:

  • Chips
  • Crackers
  • Pretzels
  • Cakes
  • Cookies
  • Ice creams and other desserts
  • Granola bars

Grains

No grains such as bread, rice, and oats, are allowed, There is an exception for vegetarians, who may eat brown rice in place of protein sources.

Fruits and Vegetables

On certain days, you cannot eat any fruits or vegetables or are not allowed to eat particular fruits or vegetables such as:

  • Potatoes
  • Corn
  • Peas
  • Bananas
  • Mangoes

How to Prepare the GM Diet & Tips

The selection of foods you eat on the GM Diet isn’t necessarily bad (they’re all healthful foods in their own right), but the combinations in which you’re allowed to eat them do seem strange and can even contribute to troubling mindsets about food combining.

This practice may lead to disordered eating habits if you follow the diet for longer than its intended seven days.

There’s no such thing as “recommended" timing on the GM Diet—it’s mandatory. You can actually eat at whatever time of day suits you, but you’re only allowed to combine certain foods on particular days throughout the week. 

Interestingly enough, the GM Diet doesn’t specify any calorie limits or food quantity limits. You’re free to eat as much as you want, although overeating any food can be a detriment to your weight loss progress.

You may not have an issue with that on the GM Diet, though, because all allowed foods are relatively low-calorie. This means you can eat a higher volume of food but take in fewer calories. 

When you get hungry in between meals, the GM Diet encourages you to eat “GM Wonder Soup,” made of celery, tomatoes, onions, bell peppers, and cabbage. While those ingredients are nutritious, it’s improbable that this soup will help spur weight loss. 

On each day where protein intake is required, vegetarians can substitute brown rice or cottage cheese in place of chicken, beef, or fish. Keep in mind that while the protein content of cottage cheese might be somewhat comparable to animal sources of protein, the protein content of brown rice is not.  

Pros of the GM Diet

Despite its peculiarity and unsustainable structure, the GM Diet does hold onto—if only by a thread—some notable health attributes.

  • Includes healthy foods: If the (unknown) creators of the GM Diet did anything right, it was that they chose a healthy group of foods, even if they are spread out over seven days. The health benefits may be near null because of the diet structure, but nonetheless, the food choices—fruit, vegetables, animal protein, milk, and vegetable-based soup—do offer health benefits in their own right. Soup is an excellent way of consuming vegetables and water and encourages weight loss by increasing feelings of fullness and satiety.
  • Doesn’t restrict calories: One of the very notable things about the GM Diet compared to other fad diets is that it doesn’t emphasize calorie restriction. Of course, eating mostly fruit and vegetables does indeed lend itself to weight loss because produce has a low calorie density
  • Emphasizes hydration: The diet encourages you to drink a vegetable, broth-based soup, which is a great way to consume fluids and nutrients simultaneously (just watch your sodium intake). But besides the soup, the GM Diet emphasizes hydration and encourages you to drink plenty of water with and in between all of your meals. 

Cons of the GM Diet

Don’t let the above benefits fool you into thinking the GM Diet is a sustainable, healthy eating pattern. The cons of the GM Diet heavily outweigh the pros. 

  • Strange, unsustainable setup: Even if the bold claim of “up to 17 pounds lost in one week” is true (which it is very likely not), that’s not a manageable way to lose weight. While rapid weight loss sounds appealing, you are likely to lose more water weight and lean body mass rather than body fat.
  • Claims not backed by science: This diet makes very bold claims that aren’t supported by any peer-reviewed scientific studies or prominent, trustworthy organizations. And it assigns itself the name of a well-known brand that has nothing to do with nutrition or healthy living. 
  • Not balanced: There is limited evidence that eating fruit as snacks can aid in weight loss (as opposed to eating processed snacks), but eating only fruit for a day can cause blood sugar spikes and crashes without protein and fat to help slow digestion. 
  • Lacks essential nutrients: While the GM Diet does include some nutritious foods, it leaves a glaringly wide gap in nutrient intake because it completely cuts out two major food groups: grains (unless you’re vegetarian and choose to eat brown rice) and healthy fats. Without whole grains, you may find yourself struggling with a severe lack of energy (carbs are your body’s preferred source of energy) and without healthy fats, well, a whole host of unfavorable outcomes can occur.
  • May lead to a strained relationship with food: Any diet restricting food groups can lead to disordered eating habits. This is something you should consider when weighing your diet options, especially if you have struggled with disordered eating in the past. If you tend to moralize foods—that is, give foods “good” and “bad” labels—the GM Diet may not be suitable for you. You may fare better with a diet that doesn’t impose restrictive rules and allows you to eat many nutritious foods and treats. 

Is the GM Diet a Healthy Choice for You?

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) healthy eating recommendations for Americans s include five food groups: fruits, vegetables, grains, dairy, and protein. The key recommendations in the federal guidelines include:

  • A variety of vegetables from all of the subgroups—dark green, red, and orange, legumes (beans and peas), starchy, and other
  • Fruits, especially whole fruits
  • Grains, at least half of which are whole grains
  • Fat-free or low-fat dairy, including milk, yogurt, cheese, and/or fortified soy beverages
  • A variety of protein foods, including seafood, lean meats and poultry, eggs, legumes (beans and peas), and nuts, seeds, and soy products
  • Oils
  • Limited saturated fats, trans fats, added sugars, and sodium

In terms of food options, the GM Diet surprisingly falls in line with many USDA recommendations (when considered as a whole, not by individual day). However:

  • The GM Diet leaves out healthy sources of whole grains, such as whole-wheat bread, oats, quinoa, and barley, which are excellent sources of essential vitamins and minerals. Whole grains also contribute to preventing type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and colorectal, pancreatic, and gastric cancers. 
  • The GM Diet also leaves out healthy fats, such as nuts, seeds, olive oil, and avocados, containing nutrients essential to overall health. 
  • There is no calorie limit on the GM Diet, so you might inadvertently surpass your daily calorie needs. Or, you might not meet your calorie needs because most GM Diet foods are low-calorie (and you may be so sick of bananas or tomatoes or whatever that day's food is that you don't consume the suggested amount). 

To reach your weight loss and health goals, it’s important to know how many calories you should be consuming each day, no matter if your goal is to lose weight, gain weight, or maintain your current weight. 

While most people need around 2,000 calories per day, some people may need less or more. For example, smaller, older people may need fewer than 2,000 calories each day, while very active people may need more than 2,000 calories each day. 

Your calorie needs differ from everyone else’s, with your age, height, weight, body composition, and activity level all playing a role. This calculator can help you determine a daily calorie goal that's appropriate for you.

Although losing a large amount of weight in a short period of time may sound tempting, this type of weight loss is rarely sustainable and could result in weight regain. Aim to lose one to two pounds per week for a safe rate of weight loss.

A Word From Verywell

The GM Diet makes promises that aren’t backed by science. It also lacks many vital nutrients, may contribute to disordered eating habits, and doesn’t set you up for a sustainable healthy eating pattern. It’s a fad diet that won’t result in long-term weight loss or health benefits. 

Remember, following a long-term or short-term diet may not be necessary for you, and many diets out there don’t work, especially long-term. While we do not endorse fad diet trends or unsustainable weight loss methods, we present the facts so you can make an informed decision that works best for your nutritional needs, genetic blueprint, budget, and goals.

If your goal is weight loss, remember that losing weight isn’t necessarily the same as being your healthiest self, and there are many other ways to pursue health. Exercise, sleep, and other lifestyle factors also play a major role in your overall health. The best diet is always the one that is balanced and fits your lifestyle.

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10 Sources
Verywell Fit uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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