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The M-Plan Diet : An Unhealthy Trend for Weight Loss

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Read the article to learn about the nutritional content of mushrooms, as well as the drawbacks and risks associated with the M-Plan or mushroom diet.

Medically reviewed by

Dr. Vineetha. V

Published At July 13, 2023
Reviewed AtJuly 14, 2023

What Is the M-Plan Diet?

The mushroom diet can be defined as the functional establishment of a meal substitution diet, where one meal a day is replaced with the consumption of mushrooms, without restricting any other vegetables or foods. This diet plan typically involves replacing at least one meal per day with a mushroom-based meal alternative, which can be implemented for a minimum of 14 days. Proponents and some nutrition experts who recommend the M-Plan claim (without any current scientific evidence) that this diet can effectively reduce fat in the thighs, hips, and waist region, especially in women, without compromising their original bust size. These claims have led many women to specifically follow this trend. Most followers who tend to adopt the M-Plan (mushroom diet plan) into their diets have been influenced by a few people over the last decade as part of fad weight loss trends.

However, nutrition reports specifically indicate that even in individuals who regularly followed this diet plan, spot reduction of fat was not possible. This demonstrates that the M-Plan is merely another fad diet lacking scientific evidence to support its weight-loss claims. In addition to consuming around two regular meals a day, this two-week diet plan calls for a single meal consisting of cooked mushrooms. Any variety of mushrooms and style of cooking is permitted. Aside from the mushroom-based meals incorporated into the day, one can also consume any other foods they like. There are no foods that are set as off-limits when following the M-diet.

What Does the M-Plan Diet Incorporate?

Advocates of the M-Plan suggest experimenting with various cooking styles to enhance the culinary flavors of mushrooms. These styles can include roasting, steaming, or sauteing the mushrooms. It is important to note that these methods should be used with minimal fat (negligible amounts) to obtain the dietary benefits of mushrooms. Most grocery stores carry the most commonly available varieties like white mushrooms or Agaricus mushrooms, button mushrooms, and portabella mushrooms (which have a taste resembling meat). The M-Plan also allows you to consume or opt for more exotic mushroom varieties such as chanterelle, shiitake, and cremini. For the rest of the meals that someone wants to follow along with the M-Plan, they are instructed to consume a balanced diet.

What Is the Nutrition Content of Mushrooms?

The following nutrition information is provided by the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) for one cup of raw common white mushrooms, which is approximately 70 grams (taking into account the nutrient amounts per serving).

  • Sodium: 3.5 milligrams.

  • Carbohydrates: 2.3 grams.

  • Fiber: 0.7 grams.

  • Sugars: 1.4 grams.

  • Protein: 2.2 grams.

  • Fat: 0.24 grams.

  • Total Calories: 15.4 kilocalories.

Apart from the nutrition content provided by the USDA, mushrooms are also good sources of fiber, especially the soluble fiber known as beta-glucans, which promote digestion and cardiac health. Mushrooms are low-calorie substitutes for many higher-calorie foods, which is another reason why they are more adaptable to weight loss diets apart from being nutrient-dense and satiating. They are loaded with multiple vitamins and minerals such as copper, vitamin B3, vitamin B5, potassium, phosphorus, and iron. They are also naturally low glycemic index foods, which means they are presumed to exert a negligible effect on blood glucose spikes. Furthermore, their low calorie and low carbohydrate content makes them an easy addition to any healthy diet plan or weight loss plan.

Can the M-Plan Diet Be Followed?

This diet is primarily popularized as a weight loss fad trend for women, focusing on losing weight in specific body parts, and may be seen by many as an easy plan to adapt. The diet does not require counting calories, carbs, or portion control. Mushrooms are considered the most satiating fungi and can be an excellent addition to any healthy eating plan. However, the problem lies in the many advantages or disadvantages that accompany following the M-Plan.

What Are the Disadvantages of the M-Plan Diet?

Following are the disadvantages of the M-Plan, despite the known health benefits of consuming mushrooms.

  1. The fact that this plan targets women seeking to lose fat in specific body parts or problematic areas of body fat shows that it is a fad trend that can promote negative body image and potentially lead to self-esteem issues among diet followers.

  2. Nutrition experts around the globe disagree on the fact that while mushrooms have numerous health benefits, including healthy weight loss, a balanced diet should always comprise a mix of protein, grains, dairy products, fruits, colorful vegetables, and greens, legumes, and heart-healthy fats. Although mushrooms can be included in vegetable-based diets, replacing a balanced meal daily with mushrooms while following this plan can promote unhealthy long-term eating habits and affect one's mindset.

  3. It is a proven fact in nutrition research that no individual food alone can be solely responsible for burning fat in specific areas of the body. A balanced diet combined with regular exercise should be the primary focus for individuals seeking healthy weight loss. Cutting down on saturated and trans fats, consuming monounsaturated cardioprotective fats, and incorporating an ideal dose of protein with a balanced carbohydrate intake form a healthy diet plan that can prevent the long-term risk of obesity and cardiovascular diseases. Hence, the M-Plan diet is not advisable regarding this elaborated scientific logic.

Conclusion

The M-Plan diet is thus not approved by nutrition experts, although one can agree that consuming mushrooms more often in their diet (for those who are not allergic to them) can yield many systemic benefits due to their nutrient density. This weight loss plan may promote negative body image in women and lacks scientific rationale. It also promotes unhealthy eating patterns that compromise the intake of a wide range of dietarily diverse elements necessary for a balanced diet. If an individual's goal is healthy weight loss, a balanced nutrient-rich diet, exercise regimens, and sufficient sleep are the most important factors for preventing obesity.

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Dr. Achanta Krishna Swaroop
Dr. Achanta Krishna Swaroop

Dentistry

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