It started with cooking classes offering recipes for Cohen dieters. The Cohen program is a customized weight-loss program based on the individual’s blood profile. As such, the diet has restrictions.
Initially, the local licensees of the Cohen Lifestyle Center (CLC) thought it was harmless.
“It may even be helping our clients,” said Barbara Young, CLC chief executive officer. However, some cooking classes offered samples of the eating plan from unverified sources.
Last year, CLC got flak from people who were deceived by fraudulent Cohen programs. A doctor-client complained that her patient, who was diabetic, became unwell after undertaking the Cohen program. The patient got her eating plan from a person who claimed to be a Cohen agent in Bulacan. To begin with, diabetics are disqualified from the CLC program.
The “agent” turned out to be a former CLC client who devised her own programs. She mimicked CLC’s standard presentation, which included before-and after-photos of CLC clients lifted from the CLC Facebook page and the blood tests.
CLC filed charges of estafa and unfair competition against the “agent” under the Intellectual Property Code. She was accused of selling bogus Cohen programs to clients for P15,000. Her lack of qualifications and scientific knowledge posed risks to her clients’ health.
The fact is, CLC has not authorized any agent to represent the center. Prospective clients must visit the official centers at The Infinity in Bonifacio Global City and Oakridge Center in Banilad, Cebu.
Then came the dubious sites. People were calling CLC, demanding their Cohen programs. Young said the callers weren’t on CLC’s client list. They insisted that they had ordered their program online linked to the Cohen site.
But “we wouldn’t offer it for a ridiculously low price,” said Young.
The Cohen Lifestyle Program costs P66,500 which includes the eating plan, refeeding program, management guidelines, a digital food scale, vitamins, blood tests and a six-month support service.
CLC Philippines medical director Dr. Angel Bandola cited a dubious ad for a Cohen diet for blood type O: “It’s quite misleading. A lot of people end up feeling weak.”
Dr. Bandola added that a potential client, who did the Cohen program based on someone else’s plan, developed ketosis: “She was having too much protein that the body could not handle it.
Since the genuine program is scientifically based, the eating plan provides the body the exact sustenance.
CLC also faced competition from food delivery services supposedly based on the Cohen diet. However, people complained that they weren’t losing weight. It turned out that the food contained ingredients that were not allowed in the program.
“Our advocacy is to teach you so you can prepare the food on your own and maintain your weight loss. We offer cooking lessons, not deliveries. If you become dependent on deliveries, what would happen if your program is over?” said Young.
The Cohen program was even sold at a bargain on Sulit.com. Pictures of CLC clients, including Bandola and her baby, were in the profile.
Tried and tested
The CLC is doing an information campaign to warn the public about these fraudulent programs. Young said success in weight loss can only be attained through a tried-and-tested, scientific and sustainable program developed by American gynecologist Dr. Rami Cohen.
Cohen was looking for remedies for infertile patients. He discovered the connection between hormones, obesity and fertility, and that hormonal imbalance could be corrected with the right food. Thus, his clients lost weight and got pregnant.
From the individual’s blood, kidney and liver profiles, CLC provides an eating program and teaches the clients to eat and sleep at the right time to improve metabolism.
Most people were attracted to the Cohen Lifestyle Program because of the promised safe weight loss and constant monitoring of their health. Young maintained that all these clients’ programs are produced by no less than Dr. Cohen and his medical team in Michigan.
“We don’t make programs. Our role is to help the clients in their journey,” Young explained. “Dr. Cohen is focused on program and service. As a doctor, he is particular about blood tests and medical screening. We have a way of communication with him so that every question from the client can be answered: ‘Is this food allowed? Is it normal to feel this way? What can I do?’ There’s a periodic blood test cycle which he reviews. He’ll prescribe more water or vitamins, depending on the results. When he announces that he’ll take a Christmas vacation for two weeks, we set deadlines for our clients.”
Young underwent the program in CLC Singapore in 2006. She lost 46 lbs in less than five months. She brought her friends Regina Chuavon and Bandola to Singapore to also undertake the program. Chuavon lost 80 lbs with the eating plan, coupled with badminton. Eventually they would fly in Filipinos to the Singapore center.
In 2009, Young, Chuavon and Bandola established CLC Philippines. Through the years, clients have been happy with the results.
Gerry Francia experienced shortness of breath after a flight of stairs. But after losing 165 lbs in 10 months, he feels reinvigorated. He said the program helped him regain his confidence. His wife supported him in making his meals and kept temptation at bay. Prayers helped him remove doubts about his success.
After being diagnosed with brain cancer, producer Roger Rosales underwent surgery and radiation. He gained 30 lbs from taking steroids. Under the Cohen plan, he lost 25 lbs and was no longer hypertensive in the first month. He has lost 90 lbs.
In the past, the annual MRI tests showed a swollen sinus. Last January, the MRI results showed that the swelling had subsided. Rosales credits it to Cohen’s nutrition program.
Said Young: “If you want to lose weight, we can help you, but with a genuine plan.”
The official website of CLC Philippines is www.cohen.com.ph.