Scarsdale Diet

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  • The Scarsdale Diet is a low-carb, low-fat, high protein diet that was devised by an American doctor, Herman Tarnower, in the 1970s. You have to follow it exactly to lose a possible 20 pounds in two weeks.

    What is the Scarsdale Diet?

    The Scarsdale Diet, designed by American doctor Herman Tarnower, is made up of 14-day menu plans and hopes to become a lifetime eating plan to continue following. While you’re on a plan, you follow a low-fat, low-carbohydrate, high-protein diet for two weeks, followed by a break. Unlike the Atkins Diet, the Scarsdale Diet lets you eat some complex carbohydrates like bread and fruit, which, the diet claims, is much healthier for you. Dr Tanower claims you can lose up to 20 pounds in two weeks.

    There are five 14-day menu plans to choose from. Each is designed to give you exactly the right amount of fat, protein and

    You’ve got to follow the plans exactly but the way they’re planned means you should definitely lose weight. You’re supposed to wait a few weeks between following the meal plans to get the best results. This is because by taking the breaks, your body isn’t able to adapt to the regime.

    Who is the Scarsdale diet good for?

    People who like being told what to do. You’ve got to follow the menu
    plans word for word. A two week plan can be good if you need to shape up
    in a hurry like before a holiday, but if you want to continue the plan for longer then the five 14-day meal plans also account for this.

    What are the drawbacks?

    Critics of the Scarsdale Diet claim the weight you lose is mostly
    made up of water instead of fat. Because they’re only short-term plans,
    there’s a high chance you’ll put weight back on again once you’ve
    finished one.

    You must stick rigidly to the Scarsdale Diet plans if you want to
    achieve the best possible results. Snacking is not allowed – unless
    it’s raw carrots or celery!

    Breakfast always includes half a grapefruit which supposedly helps burn
    calories. Lunch and dinner are mainly made up of fruit, salad,
    vegetables and lean proteins such as white meat and fish.

    Alcohol is strictly banned while you’re on the 14-day menu plans. In
    fact the only drinks you’re allowed are decaffeinated coffee, black tea
    and diet fizzy drinks.

    What can you eat on the Scarsdale Diet?

    Fish, lean meat, cottage cheese, tea and coffee, plus lots of fruit, salad and veg. You are allowed some carbohydrates but in limited quantities and these mainly consist of natural wholegrains.


    Typical day’s diet

    Breakfast: 1/2 grapefruit,1 slice of wholemeal toast (no spreads or butter)
    Lunch: A tin of tuna, salad with oil-free dressing
    Dinner: Roast lamb (with all visible fat removed), salad with lemon and vinegar dressing
    Drinks: Water, diet drinks, tea and coffee (no milk or sugar), soda water

    Top tip

    Use lemon, vinegar and herbs on salads instead of mayonnaise or salad dressing.

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    Find out more

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    Where to next?

    “I tried the Scarsdale Diet”
    Diet quiz: Find your perfect diet
    BMI calculator