Mayo Clinic Plan

 By Mizpah Matus B.Hlth.Sc(Hons)

The Official Mayo Clinic Plan is a great diet, designed by medical professionals from a reputable health institute.

The diet promotes a nutritious diet of fruit and vegetables with starchy carbs and then proteins and dairy.

This is based on the Mayo Clinic Healthy Weight Pyramid.

With the Mayo Clinic plan you eat practically unlimited amounts of vegetables and fruit, plus whole-grain foods, lean protein and heart-healthy fats.

The objective is to eat foods containing a small number of calories in large amounts, such as fruits, vegetables, legumes, poultry, fish and whole grains.

Also on the menu are low-fat dairy and unsaturated fats (especially from nuts and olive and canola oils). This is not a restrictive diet plan, so carries its own incentive to stick with it long-term.

The result is a balanced, nutritious diet to achieve a healthy weight. The Mayo Clinic claims that the plan can help reduce your risk for heart disease (by lowering high blood pressure and cholesterol), cancer and Type 2 diabetes.

This diet shouldn’t be confused with the unofficial “fad” version.

The Official Mayo Clinic Diet Plan Basics

the-official-mayo-clinic-dietThe Mayo Clinic Diet Plan encompasses more than adjusting eating habits and is a complete lifestyle change program. Dieters are provided with tools and advice that will help them to let go of negative behaviors while incorporating positive habits.

For the first two weeks dieters follow the ‘lose it’ phase, which helps to kick-start weight loss and allow dieters to lose up to ten pounds. After these initial two weeks dieters progress to the ‘live it’ phase, which is followed over the long term for healthy weight management.

The authors say that the key to weight loss is to eliminate five bad habits, adopt five good habits and, over the longer term, take on five bonus habits.

Adopt Five Good Habits:

  • Eat a healthy breakfast, but don’t eat too much.
  • Eat at least 3 to 4 servings of vegetables and fruits a day.
  • Eat whole grains, such as whole-grain bread.
  • Eat healthy fats, such as olive oil and nuts.
  • Walk or exercise for at least 30 minutes a day.

Eliminate Five Bad Habits:

  • Don’t watch TV while eating, and spend no more time watching TV than you do exercising.
  • Eat no sugar except what is naturally found in fruit.
  • Eat no snacks except vegetables and fruits.
  • Limit the amount of meat and low-fat dairy that you eat.
  • Eat no restaurant food unless it fits in the diet program.

Add five bonus habits:

  • Keep records of what you eat.
  • Keep records of your physical activity.
  • Walk or exercise at least 60 minutes a day.
  • Eat mostly fresh foods and healthy frozen or canned foods.
  • Write down your daily goals.

Mayo Clinic Diabetes Diet


The Mayo Clinic Diabetes Diet is a program to help diabetics safely lose weight to improve and control their blood sugar. It was designed for people with type 2 diabetes and prediabetes.

Losing weight can help you:

  • Prevent yourself from ever getting diabetes.
  • Reduce your need for diabetes medications.
  • Prevent complications associated with diabetes including heart attack, stroke, nerve damage, kidney disease and eye damage.

Mayo Clinic Diabetes Diet Basics

This program differs from the general Mayo Clinic Diet because it includes information and advice specific to those with diabetes.

The basic principles are the same. However, on this plan you will not only lose weight but also learn how to safely improve your blood sugar.

Phase 1: Lose It!

Mayo Clinic Diabetes Diet begins with a two-week quick start diet. This is designed to jump-start your weight loss and release 6 to 10 pounds in a safe and healthy way.

Within the first few days after starting your diet you should begin to see a decrease in your blood sugar levels.

You will also start to learn how long-term changes in diet will help you better manage your diabetes.

Phase 2: Live It!

Following this you continue to lose 1 to 2 pounds a week until you reach your goal weight.

You will then maintain that weight for the rest of your life. That is why there is no specific length for this phase.

If you want to boost your weight loss again at any time you can repeat the first phase.

Recommended Foods

Those following this diet can expect to eat the following foods:

Oatmeal, whole-grain bread, brown rice, low-fat yogurt, low-fat cottage cheese, eggs, tuna, halibut, salmon, peanut butter, almonds, legumes, bananas, berries, pineapple, grapes, baby carrots, cherry tomatoes, cauliflower, spinach, avocado, olive oil, cinnamon.

Sample Meal Plan

A sample meal might include:

  • Pancakes with syrup and strawberries
  • Dilled Pasta Salad with Spring Vegetables
  • Rosemary Lemon Chicken
  • Fresh Apricots

Here’s a 3 day sample meal plan for the non-diabetic version.

Day 1 Day 2 Day 3
1 cup nonfat, skim milk
1 slice whole wheat bread
1 1/4 cups sliced fresh strawberries
2 pancakes, from mix (4” diameter)
1 1/2 tbsp. maple syrup
1 tsp margarine
1 cup nonfat, skim milk
3/4 cup fresh blueberries
1 cup honeydew melon
Poached Egg with toast and orange juice
2 slices whole wheat bread
1 tsp margarine
1 cup orange juice, calcium-fortified
Southwestern Salad
1/2 whole-wheat, approximately 6” (2 oz.) pita bread
1 cup nonfat, skim milk
Dilled Pasta Salad with Spring Vegetables
1 small apple
1 cup nonfat, skim milk
Tuna Salad Pita
1 bell pepper
1 small apple
Spaghetti with Marinara Sauce
1 slice whole wheat bread
5 baby carrots
1 cup nonfat, skim milk
1 cup cantaloupe
Rosemary Lemon Chicken with Sweet Green Beans and Brown Rice with Green Onions
1 cup nonfat, skim milk
6 tomato slices
1 tsp. balsamic vinegar
1 cup cantaloupe
Tomato-Basil Pita Pizza with salad and cantaloupe
2 cups lettuce, romaine or lettuce of choice
1 cup chopped or sliced cucumber
2 Tbsp. dressing, Italian low fat
1 cup cantaloupe
1 cup nonfat, skim milk
7 whole almonds
1 cup red or green grapes
1 small pear
3/4 cup fresh blueberries
Vegetable juice
1 medium banana
1/2 cup canned vegetable juice
6 Whole Wheat crackers

Exercise Recommendations

Physical activity is an important component of The Official Mayo Clinic Diet and any way that you can increase your daily activity level is encouraged such as cleaning the house, shopping, and gardening.

This will help to increase your calorie expenditure and burn fat. However, structured exercise such as walking, cycling and swimming are also regarded as important with 30 to 60 minutes of vigorous exercise recommended on most days of the week.

Brisk walking and gardening that involves constant motion can be substituted for aerobic exercise so long as they increase your heart and breathing rate.

Costs and Expenses

The Mayo Clinic online plan offers a free trial.

The Mayo Clinic Diet book retails for $25.99. Also available is the Mayo Clinic Diet Journal for an additional $9.99.

Click here to purchase this diet for a discounted price.

The Mayo Clinic Diabetes Diet book retails at $25.99.

Click here to purchase this diet for a discounted price.


  • Book comes with a money-back guarantee.
  • Educates dieters about portion control.
  • Rapid weight loss in the first phase can boost dieter’s motivation.
  • Encourages exercise.
  • Based on scientific research.
  • Additional resources are available on the Mayo Clinic website.


  • Does not allow snacking except vegetables and fruits.
  • May be difficult to eat out and stick with the program.
  • May take some time for dieters to learn to judge serving sizes.


The Official Mayo Clinic Plan altogether appears to be comprehensive and effective in its goals. It should appeal to many looking for a long-term lifestyle in which a healthy weight can be achieved and maintained without causing undue stress – in fact, it promotes a healthier life overall.

The Mayo Clinic Diabetes Diet helps at-risk people prevent and manage diabetes by losing weight quickly and safely.

It then supports maintenance of an ideal body weight while also ensuring blood sugar levels are kept under control.


  • Smith, A. M., Lopez-Jimenez, F., McMahon, M. M., Thomas, R. J., Wellik, M. A., Jensen, M. D., & Hensrud, D. D. (2005, April). Action on obesity: report of a mayo clinic national summit. In Mayo Clinic Proceedings (Vol. 80, No. 4, pp. 527-532). Elsevier. link
  • Hensrud, D. D. (2001). Dietary Treatment and Long‐Term Weight Loss and Maintenance in Type 2 Diabetes. Obesity Research, 9(S11), 348S-353S. link
 By Mizpah Matus B.Hlth.Sc(Hons)
Last Reviewed: March 15, 2016. Disclaimer