12 Investigates: The Ice Cube Diet

Posted by: Mark Bullock - bio | email

Some of you may take your drinks on the rocks. How about your diet? There's a novel new approach to weight loss. And it's all about ice.

It's called the Ice Cube Diet. But can it really help you lose weight? Alicia Puma says yes.

Puma drops a Hoodia-filled ice cube in her glass of water or she eats an ice cube straight. The cubes come in the mail already frozen and packed in dry ice.

"You take once ice cube daily," Puma said. "It tastes great, like a margarita. It gives you a wonderful burst of energy."

But Puma is now speaking for the company that manufactures the Ice Cube Diet. She says she lost 25 pounds on the plan and was hired to become a spokeswoman.

Hoodia come from a desert plant native to Africa. It is said to reduce appetite.

"Would I try it? The answer is 'no,'" said dietician Roberta Anding.

Anding says she's concerned that two pharmaceutical companies backed away from Hoodia.

"Pfizer actually tried to develop this into a drug and stopped its clinical trials without any real explanation," she said. "And Unilever, which makes Slim-Fast, was going to make a dink with Hoodia and they also discontinued development."

"The difference from those other companies is that they processed it (Hoodia) into pill form," explained Puma. "And when you do that, you destroy the structure of the plant."

One study showed women did lose weight on the program. But Anding says more studies on Hoodia's safety and effectiveness is needed.

The ice cube diet is relatively inexpensive - averaging about $1.50 a day.

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