The Scarsdale diet

The Scarsdale diet

The Scarsdale diet was one of the first protein based diets to go viral and if you’re looking to shift some serious weight fast, then this is the diet to do so.

The Scarsdale dietThe Scarsdale diet was developed by American cardiologist Herman Tarnower in the 1970s. One of the better things to come out of the seventies.

It claims a weight loss rate of a pound a day (450g) over a two week period provided you only eat low-carb, low-fat, protein-rich foods.

Obviously rapid weight loss diets have their downfalls. Forcing your body into ketosis is not always recommended. However, if you’re desperate to shed some weight and only do the diet for the recommended two week period it won’t cause any health risks (obviously talk to your GP if you are concerned).

So we’ve looked at the pros and cons of the Scarsdale diet to see if it lives up to it’s name!

How it works:
The Scarsdale diet, or Scarsdale Medical Diet (SMD) is a 14-day programme based on a low calorie intake of around 1000 kcal a day – 43% of which coming from protein, 34.5% from carbs and 22.5% from fat.

Expect to eat lots of protein in the form of meat, lean fish and low-calorie vegetables for the first 14 days of hard-core dieting and to highly reduce the amount of carbohydrates in your diet.

After the initial 2 weeks of dieting comes a stabilisation (keep-trim) phase during which you can eat more: three eggs a week, two slices of bread a day, sugar-free jam, nuts and a glass of wine a day.

All starch, added fat (oil, butter, cream etc), most dairy produce, fruit juice, alcohol, sugary desserts, chocolate and fatty meat are to be avoided at all costs!

There’s no specific portion control with the Scarsdale diet – calorie counting is going to be your mantra.

A typical day:
The Scarsdale dietBreakfast: 1/2 grapefruit or seasonal fruit, 1 slice of plain protein bread or wholemeal bread (no spread), coffee or tea with no sugar.

Lunch: Chicken, as much salad as you want, 1 tsp olive oil, coffee or tea with no sugar, fruit (4 times a week).

Snack: Raw carrots and celery.

Dinner: Lean fish, as much low-calorie veg as you want, 1 tsp sunflower oil, coffee or tea with no sugar.


Rapid weight loss: you lose around 4 kilos in the first week, or around a pound a day.

Plus points:

No portion control, so in theory you can eat as much as you want of one thing as long as you stick to the calorie counting formula.

As well as this, the weight loss is super fast!

It’s a very restrictive diet and you can soon feel very hungry!

Critics argue, among other things, that you only lose water weight and that you put the weight straight back on again as soon as you stop dieting.

Following the Scarsdale diet once for 14 days won’t put your health at risk. However, it is dangerous to repeat the diet because it will cause nutritional deficiencies in the longer term.

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