The Truth About The Scarsdale Diet

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Losing weight can be challenging and when you get impatient, you may be prone to trying more crash diets. Unfortunately, many of us know that they might cause more harm than good. Research shows that drastic diets, even when created by doctors, are almost always unsustainable even though they offer an initial, short-term weight loss. The Complete Scarsdale Medical Diet is one of those drastic dietscreated by cardiologist Herman Tranower, who published the book in 1979 after seeing success with some patients. 

The Scarsdale diet, originally a two-page document created by Dr. Tarnower, was originally intended to help his patients with weight loss for improved heart health. The diet promises a large drop in weight — up to 20 pounds — in a short two-week time span (via Healthline). The diet is protein-dominant, with minimal allowance of fat and carbs. It requires an alarmingly low 1,000 calories per day, regardless of the dieter's weight, sex, and activity level.  According to LIVESTRONG, the goal of the macro division (43% protein, 34.5% carbohydrates, and 22.5% fat) is to maximize fat burn.

Here's what you can eat on the Scarsdale diet

The diet calls for three meals a day and, except for carrots and celery, there are no snacks allowed. Approved foods include fruit (a grapefruit with every breakfast), vegetables (specifically leafy greens, asparagus, and broccoli), lean proteins like chicken, turkey, eggs, and white fish, non-fat dairy product, protein-enhanced breads. Drinks include black coffee, tea, diet soda, and water (via Verywell Fit). 

According to LIVESTRONG, in addition to the daily grapefruit, breakfast might include one piece of dry protein toast and black coffee. You may have some lean deli meats for lunch with sliced tomatoes, and for dinner, a portion of approved protein with vegetables. Picking on plain celery and carrot sticks through the day is an option, and a minimum of 4 cups of water a day is recommended.

While there is an emphasis that the diet is only to be followed for two weeks, 1,000 calories a day is an extreme deficit, and it will facilitate weight loss mostly by dropping water weight. This dramatic drop in calories, however, is not healthy. Many experts agree that it is not sustainable, as opposed to the healthier weight loss option of a balanced diet and exercise (via Healthline).