Move over, South Beach: Florida now brings you the cookie diet

The secret to losing weight, Sanford Siegal has been telling his patients for the last 30 years, is eating cookies.

From his kitchen in Kendall, he baked up a 90-calorie concoction that is rich in hunger-suppressing amino acids and kneaded it in cookie dough. He vowed they could lose between 10 and 15 pounds in a month by eating six a day -- and a reasonable dinner.

After decades of refusing the national spotlight, the 80-year-old doctor has gone commercial. He's taking trips to Beverly Hills and catching up with the Kardashians. He's feuded with Madonna and done media blitzes on shows that don't really cater to his demographic.

"I'm flying to L.A. to do a segment for this show called Extra," Siegal said recently. "It's one of those flashy shows."

To those people, he is simply The Cookie Man. Although this moniker has given him wealth and prestige, he often wants people to remember that "doctor" is the title he is most proud of.

Siegal began his medical practice in Hialeah in the pre-Slim Fast world of the 1950s, and soon noticed most of his clients wanted advice on how to lose weight. So he began focusing on obesity, drawing the conclusion that simply encouraging exercise and healthy eating would not be realistic. If clients wanted to eat, they would.

"Hunger kills diets," is one of Siegal's favorite phrases.

He started experimenting with different protein-based ingredients to make a person feel full. Then he threw in a little flour, a little sugar and created the cookie. Because the cookie satisfies the eating sensation, Siegal said, the person takes in fewer calories -- 1,000 in a day -- and feels like they are eating much more.

After the person reaches an ideal weight, Siegal then suggests exercising to keep the pounds off. At this point, Siegal says it's easier to persuade someone to exercise because there's an incentive to keep the pounds off.