Scarsdale Diet: Overview, Benefits, and Downsides

The Scarsdale weight loss program was well-liked within the late 1970s.

Based on a top-selling e-book by Dr. Herman Tarnower — a heart specialist situated in Scarsdale, NY — the weight loss program promised as much as 20 kilos (9 kg) of weight reduction in beneath 2 weeks.

With its excessive restrictions and “quick fix” ideology, the Scarsdale weight loss program has been met with great criticism by the medical neighborhood.

Still, you might marvel if this weight loss program actually works and whether or not it’s best for you.

This article opinions the advantages and downsides of the Scarsdale weight loss program to indicate whether or not scientific proof helps it.

Rating rating breakdown

  • Overall rating: 1.25
  • Weight loss:
  • Healthy consuming:
  • Sustainability:
  • Whole physique well being:
  • Nutrition high quality: 2.5
  • Evidence-based:

BOTTOM LINE: The Scarsdale weight loss program slashes your calorie consumption to only one,000 per day utilizing a strict listing of accredited meals. Its concentrate on fast weight reduction and excessive restrictions make it troublesome to comply with long run, in addition to harmful.

The Scarsdale weight loss program began as a two-page weight loss program sheet made by Tarnower to assist his sufferers drop extra pounds for higher coronary heart well being.

After many particular person success tales, Tarnower revealed the e-book “The Complete Scarsdale Medical Diet” in 1979.

The weight loss program permits a mere 1,000 energy per day no matter your age, weight, intercourse, or exercise ranges. It’s heavy in protein, consisting of 43% protein, 22.5% fats, and 34.5% carbs.

The weight loss program additionally forbids snacks and quite a few wholesome meals, reminiscent of potatoes, candy potatoes, rice, avocados, beans, and lentils.

Tarnower died 1 yr after the e-book’s publication. Shortly thereafter, the Scarsdale weight loss program was closely criticized for its excessive restrictions and unrealistic weight reduction guarantees. As such, the e-book is not in print.


The Scarsdale weight loss program focuses on protein-heavy meals however limits you to 1,000 energy per day. The e-book it’s primarily based on is not offered or promoted because of the numerous risks of this consuming sample.

The guidelines of the Scarsdale weight loss program might be present in Tarnower’s e-book “The Complete Scarsdale Medical Diet.” Though it’s not in print, some copies are nonetheless offered on-line, and some unofficial Scarsdale weight loss program web sites listing its particulars.

The fundamental guidelines embody consuming a protein-rich weight loss program, proscribing your self to 1,000 energy per day, and following a restricted listing of accredited meals. You are forbidden from any snacks besides carrots, celery, and low sodium veggie soups, that are solely to be eaten when crucial.

You should drink a minimum of four cups (945 mL) of water per day however may take pleasure in black espresso, plain tea, or weight loss program soda.

Tarnower emphasised that the weight loss program is barely meant to final 14 days, after which you transition to the Keep Slim program.

Keep Slim program

After the 14-day preliminary weight loss program, you’re allowed to introduce a number of banned meals, reminiscent of bread (as much as 2 slices per day), baked items (as a uncommon deal with), and one alcoholic beverage per day.

While you’re nonetheless anticipated to comply with the listing of accredited meals, you’re allowed to extend your portion sizes and energy to permit extra flexibility.

Tarnower urged following the Keep Slim program till you discover your weight rising. If you regain weight, you’re instructed to do the 14-day preliminary weight loss program once more.


The weight loss program’s preliminary part lasts 14 days and is so restrictive that the majority snacks are banned. You then transition to the Keep Slim program, which is barely extra versatile.

A small collection of meals is permitted on the Scarsdale weight loss program. As you’re solely allowed 1,000 energy per day, it’s essential that you simply monitor your portion sizes and keep on with the accredited meals.

Although it appears contradictory, the weight loss program recommends that you simply eat till you’re glad.

Foods to eat

Foods allowed on the weight loss program embody:

  • Raw, non-starchy greens: bell peppers, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, celery, inexperienced beans, leafy greens, lettuce, onion, radishes, spinach, tomatoes, and zucchini
  • Fruits: select grapefruit each time potential; in any other case apples, blueberries, cantaloupes, grapes, lemon, lime, mangoes, papayas, peaches, pears, plums, starfruit, strawberries, and watermelon
  • Wheat and grains: solely protein bread is permitted
  • Meat, poultry, and fish: lean beef (together with hamburger), rooster, turkey, fish, shellfish, and chilly cuts (besides bologna)
  • Eggs: yolks and whites however ready plain — with out oil, butter, or different fat
  • Dairy: low fats merchandise, reminiscent of 2% milk, cheese slices, and cottage cheese
  • Nuts and seeds: solely six walnut or pecan halves per day, from time to time
  • Seasonings: most herbs and spices are permitted
  • Beverages: unsweetened black espresso, tea, and water, in addition to zero-calorie weight loss program soda

Foods to keep away from

The Scarsdale weight loss program forbids quite a few meals, together with many wholesome ones like candy potatoes, avocados, beans, and lentils. There are not any said the reason why these meals are prohibited.

Though grapefruit was initially the one fruit allowed, up to date variations now allow most fruits — however reserve them as a deal with.

  • Vegetables and starches: beans, corn, lentils, peas, potatoes (white and candy), pumpkin, and rice
  • Fruits: avocado and jackfruit
  • Dairy: full fats dairy together with milk, yogurt, and cheese
  • Fats and oils: all oils, butter, ghee, mayonnaise, and salad dressings
  • Wheat and grains: most wheat and grain merchandise (e.g., bagels, bread, breakfast cereals, cookies, crackers, doughnuts, pancakes, pasta, pita bread, pizza, sandwiches, tortillas, and wraps)
  • Flours: all flour and flour-based meals
  • Nuts and seeds: all nuts and seeds besides walnuts and pecans (in restricted quantities)
  • Meat: extremely processed meats, reminiscent of bologna, sausage, and bacon
  • Sweets and desserts: all sweets and desserts, together with chocolate
  • Processed meals: quick meals, frozen meals, potato chips, premade dinners, and so on.
  • Beverages: alcoholic drinks, artificially sweetened drinks, most fruit juices, soda, and specialty coffees and teas


The Scarsdale weight loss program limits you to a small listing of accredited meals. Many meals excessive in carbs or fats are banned.

The Scarsdale weight loss program’s fundamental declare is that it will possibly assist you lose 20 kilos (9 kg) in 14 days by way of a protein-rich, low calorie weight loss program consisting of principally lean meats, eggs, low fats dairy, leafy greens, and some fruit.

Since the weight loss program permits simply 1,000 energy per day — properly beneath the beneficial calorie consumption for any grownup — you’ll seemingly drop extra pounds.

That’s as a result of weight reduction relies on a calorie deficit, which signifies that you burn extra energy than you absorb (1).

However, grownup males and girls want 2,000–Three,000 and 1,600–2,400 energy per day, respectively. The 1,000 day by day energy prescribed by the Scarsdale weight loss program places most individuals in a day by day calorie deficit of 1,000–2,000 energy (2).

To compensate for the drastic lower in energy, your physique will start to make use of fats, muscle, and glycogen shops as power (Three, four).

Glycogen is a saved type of carbs that holds giant quantities of water. As your physique makes use of up glycogen and muscle shops, it releases water, inflicting a dramatic drop in weight (four, 5, 6).

Plus, the Scarsdale weight loss program recommends that 43% of your day by day energy come from protein. High protein diets have been proven to advertise weight reduction by aiding fullness, however they’re much less efficient in tandem with very low calorie diets like this one (Three).

As such, you’ll seemingly drop extra pounds in the course of the first 2 weeks of the weight loss program. However, very low calorie diets paired with excessive meals restrictions are unsustainable and seemingly result in weight regain when you cease weight-reduction plan (7, eight).

Even with the Keep Slim upkeep program that’s barely extra versatile, few meals are allowed and energy are nonetheless restricted. Therefore, few individuals can anticipate to maintain this weight loss program long run.

Though you might drop extra pounds rapidly, most medical consultants agree that fast weight reduction is unhealthy and unsustainable. Instead, it’s best to undertake wholesome way of life habits, reminiscent of portion management, wholesome cooking strategies, common train, and stress administration.


The Scarsdale weight loss program could be very low in energy, which seemingly results in short-term weight reduction — principally from water weight relatively than fats. You’ll seemingly regain the burden as soon as the weight loss program is over.

Despite its unrealistic weight reduction guarantees, the Scarsdale weight loss program has a number of redeeming qualities.

It’s easy and simple for many who are searching for actual directions, which take away the second-guessing that many diets contain.

Furthermore, it promotes excessive protein meals alongside greens at every meal. Depending in your routine consuming sample, this will enhance your weight loss program high quality.

Finally, the Scarsdale weight loss program is kind of low-cost and doesn’t require costly meals or gear.


Though the Scarsdale weight loss program is ridden with flaws, it’s simple, encourages excessive protein meals, and is comparatively cheap.

The Scarsdale weight loss program has quite a few downsides and uncomfortable side effects which will endanger your well being. As such, it’s finest to keep away from the weight loss program.

Highly restrictive

To comply with the weight loss program appropriately, you need to remove many meals, together with a number of nutritious choices.

This weight loss program leaves little room for flexibility and different necessary facets of consuming, reminiscent of cultural traditions and celebrations. If your meals change into much less pleasant and even overwhelming, the weight loss program will probably be troublesome to comply with long run (Three).

In many circumstances, restrictive consuming might harm your skill to regulate your meals consumption or improve your danger of overeating (9, 10).

The finest diets are people who enable all meals sparsely, present the optimum quantity of vitamin by entire meals, and are straightforward to comply with long run (Three, 11).

Encourages yo-yo weight-reduction plan

You’re meant to comply with the Scarsdale weight loss program for 14 days, then the Keep Slim upkeep program. However, you’re alleged to return to the Scarsdale weight loss program should you start to regain weight.

This suggestion proves that the weight loss program shouldn’t be solely unsustainable but in addition susceptible to weight biking, likewise referred to as yo-yo weight-reduction plan. This sample entails a relentless cycle of fast weight reduction adopted by weight regain (12).

Weight biking might be dangerous each bodily and mentally, as it could result in a slower metabolism, elevated danger of weight regain, poor physique picture, and disordered consuming ideas and behaviors (12, 13, 14).

Vilifies energy

The Scarsdale weight loss program emphasizes calorie consumption over vitamin.

In truth, it could result in nutrient deficiencies given its harmful necessities to eat a meager 1,000 energy per day and remove total meals teams like entire grains, starchy greens, avocados, full fats dairy, nuts, and seeds.

Plus, the weight loss program promotes the false perception that each one energy are inherently unhealthy. Rather, diets wealthy in nutrient-dense meals, which can be excessive in energy, are linked to a decrease danger of weight problems, mortality, coronary heart illness, diabetes, irritation, and sure cancers (15, 16, 17, 18).

Therefore, it’s best to concentrate on nutrient high quality relatively than energy. Try to comply with a weight loss program filled with nutrient-dense, minimally processed meals for wholesome weight reduction (Three).

Prioritizes weight reduction over well being

Rather than bettering general well being, the Scarsdale weight loss program focuses on excessive meals restriction and near-starvation strategies to set off fast weight reduction.

The foundation of the weight loss program is that weight reduction is paramount to well being. Yet, adopting wholesome way of life behaviors, reminiscent of consuming nutritious meals, exercising repeatedly, getting sufficient sleep, and managing stress, might enhance general well being with or with out weight reduction (Three, 11, 19).

Sadly, this weight loss program fails to acknowledge that your well being is greater than only a quantity on the size.


The Scarsdale weight loss program promotes pointless meals restrictions, dangerously slashes your calorie consumption, is unsustainable, and prioritizes weight reduction over well being.

The Scarsdale weight loss program recommends consuming the identical breakfast every day and ingesting lukewarm water all through the day. Snacks are banned, however you’re allowed carrots, celery, or low sodium veggie soups should you can’t wait till your subsequent meal.

Furthermore, you aren’t permitted to cook dinner with oils or different fat and can’t add spreads to your protein bread.

Here’s a Three-day pattern menu for the Scarsdale weight loss program:

Day 1

  • Breakfast: 1 slice of protein bread (no unfold), half of a grapefruit, and black espresso, tea, or weight loss program soda
  • Lunch: Salad (canned salmon, leafy greens, and vinegar and lemon dressing), plus fruit, in addition to black espresso, tea, or weight loss program soda
  • Dinner: Roast rooster (no pores and skin), spinach, half of a bell pepper, string beans, and black espresso, tea, or weight loss program soda

Day 2

  • Breakfast: 1 slice of protein bread (no unfold), half of a grapefruit, and black espresso, tea, or weight loss program soda
  • Lunch: 2 eggs (no fats), 1 cup (162 grams) of low fats cottage cheese, 1 slice of protein bread (no unfold), plus fruit, in addition to black espresso, tea, or weight loss program soda
  • Dinner: a lean hamburger (a big serving to allowed), salad (tomatoes, cucumbers, and celery) with lemon and vinegar dressing, and black espresso, tea, or weight loss program soda

Day Three

  • Breakfast: 1 slice of protein bread (no unfold), half of a grapefruit, and black espresso, tea, or weight loss program soda
  • Lunch: assorted meat slices, spinach (limitless quantities), sliced tomatoes, and black espresso, tea, or weight loss program soda
  • Dinner: a grilled steak (all fats eliminated — a big serving allowed), Brussels sprouts, onions, half of a bell pepper, and black espresso, tea, or weight loss program soda

There’s restricted info on portion sizes, although to make sure you keep throughout the 1,000 calorie restrict, you most likely must hold portion sizes small for all meals in addition to leafy greens and proteins.


The Scarsdale weight loss program recommends small meals comprised of protein and veggies, and it encourages you to eat the identical breakfast every day. No snacks, spreads, or excessive fats meals are allowed.

Though the Scarsdale weight loss program was well-liked within the 1970s, it’s not often promoted right this moment.

While you might drop extra pounds quickly, the weight loss program is extraordinarily restrictive, low in energy and vitamins, and finally unsustainable.

If you’re searching for long-term weight reduction, you’re higher off following a weight loss program comprising entire, minimally processed meals and a life-style that features common train, high quality sleep, and stress administration.

Source hyperlink Weight Loss Breakfast

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