McDougall Diet

 By Mizpah Matus B.Hlth.Sc(Hons)

Background


When Dr. John McDougall worked as a medical practitioner on a sugar plantation in Hawaii he discovered that his older Filipino, Japanese and Chinese patients – who consumed a diet of rice and vegetables – were thin and free of chronic disease. Conversely their children and grandchildren, eating a modern diet with meat and dairy products, became fat and sick.

Subsequently he created The McDougall Program, which is based on the assumption that ideal weight and optimal health can be achieved and maintained if we eat a diet based on whole and unprocessed low-fat plant foods.

Dr. McDougall Diet Basics

Dr Mcdougall Diet ProgramMcDougall asserts that animal products provide an excessive amount of harmful fats, which increase blood cholesterol levels, damage the arteries and cause heart disease and stroke. In comparison, plant foods provide us with immune-boosting and cancer-fighting antioxidants, phytochemicals, vitamins, minerals, and other health-promoting substances.

According to McDougall, humans were designed to crave sweet-tasting foods like starches, vegetables, and fruits because they provide us with energy and quality nutrition. He claims that if you don’t eat enough carbohydrates you are likely to feel hungry and may tend to overeat.

On his program you will consume between 70 and 90 percent of calories from complex carbohydrate foods like whole grains and root vegetables. You will add fruits, vegetables, sauces, dressings and seasonings to create complete meals. Foods to be avoided on this program include meat, fish, poultry, eggs, dairy products, nuts, olives, fats, oils and refined flour products.

“Breakfast is centered around various starches. Lunch can be a soup or a grain salad, or both. For dinner, plan a starch-based main dish, along with a low-calorie salad. Salads are preferred for between meal snacks. “

There are no limits on the amount of food you can eat and you are encouraged to eat to the full satisfaction of your appetite, without regard to calories. Because all of the foods are low in fat and high in fiber you will naturally consume a caloric intake that will allow you to effortlessly lose weight.

Recommended Foods

Oats, brown rice, quinoa, couscous, whole wheat bread, whole wheat pasta, oat bran, sweet potato, butternut squash, cannelloni beans, garbanzo beans, lentils, fresh fruits and vegetables, raisins, low fat soy milk, fat-free soy mayonnaise, soy sauce, balsamic vinegar, herbs and spices, carob powder, herb tea.

Sample Meal Plan

Breakfast 

Oatmeal with fresh fruit

Lunch 

Garden Stuffed Pitas

Dinner 

Coleslaw
Mushroom Stroganoff

Exercise Recommendations

Although diet is the focus of the McDougall program, exercise is also recommended as an essential component of a healthy lifestyle. Even a daily walk can improve your health by reducing your triglyceride and blood sugar levels, alleviating depression, boosting energy and assisting with weight loss.

Costs and Expenses

The McDougall Program for Maximum Weight Loss retails at $18.

Also available is The McDougall Quick and Easy Cookbook: Over 300 Delicious Low-Fat Recipes You Can Prepare in Fifteen Minutes or Less for $16.50.

Click here to order Dr. McDougall’s books at discounted price.

Pros

  • Encourages a high intake of fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes.
  • Many dieters have experienced successful results on the McDougall Diet for weight loss and recovery from chronic health conditions such as heart disease and diabetes.
  • Does not require calorie counting or limiting portions.
  • Can be followed as a lifestyle approach to healthy weight management.
  • Addresses the psychological factors involved in successful weight loss.
  • Provides tips on eating out.
  • Includes a 21-day meal plan with recipes.
  • Author is a medical doctor who specializes in weight loss and preventative medicine.

Cons

  • Very restrictive and requires complete elimination of meat, dairy products, eggs, oils, chocolate, coffee and alcohol.
  • Some dieters do not respond well to a starch-based diet and may experience hunger between meals or blood sugar imbalances.
  • Diet may be too low in protein for many individuals.
  • Meal plan appears to be lacking in adequate essential fats.
  • Necessary to take a vitamin B12 supplement.

Conclusions

The McDougall Diet is a low fat plant-based diet that has been used by many dieters with success to achieve weight loss and for the management of conditions including heart disease and diabetes.

According to Dr. McDougall all fats must be strictly avoided, however this advice conflicts with current knowledge about the value of healthy fats in the diet, which have been demonstrated to improve cardiovascular health and weight management when consumed in moderation.

See Also: Dr. McDougall’s latest book, The Starch Solution.

 By Mizpah Matus B.Hlth.Sc(Hons)
  • ilove_mydaughter

    I lost a lot of weight on this diet, and looked the best I ever have. Problem is, I felt terrible! It turns out I had developed hyperinsulinemia and was having low blood sugars almost all day long. By the next year I had insulin resistance with high blood sugars. Now i have gained the weight back and can’t lose it. This diet ruined my body!

  • Kate Porter

    I have been eating vegan for a couple of months now. I haven’t lost any weight or inches. I am eager to begin Dr. McDougall’s weight loss diet.
    A very good friend of mine says you can’t lose weight without counting calories and rigid exercise. I’ve been on every diet on the planet except Dr. McDougall’s. Painful arthritis keeps me from exercising much.

  • Alex

    Been on McDougalls diet for about 55 days, down 18 pounds. I eat all I want ( on the approved list of veggie, starches, and fruits) am never hungry, and feel great to boot!!!!!

  • myrna cox

    I am suffering with RA, and would like to do the natural thing. My Dr. put me on prednisone which was a very bad experience. Now that I have weaned off from the drug, I would like to try diet and I do exercise each day which I firmly believe is a healer in itself. I am looking forward to the newsletter. thank you for the information

  • Marie

    This is the first diet I have been able to stay on without cheating. I love it and I feel better than I have in years. This is day 11 and I am down 11 pounds.

    • Judith

      oh, this is my 2nd day…..the stomach is not as bloated…..I have not weighed my self though….. Only last week and I will weigh myself again next tuesday…..the top I have on had stretched and now it shows it has wrinkles that I have lost on my stomach…yahoo…this is great, and I am enjoying my meals….everything tastes better…..

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