Scarsdale Diet

 By Mizpah Matus B.Hlth.Sc(Hons)

The Scarsdale Diet was a famous book written in the 1970s. Dr Herman Tarnower ran a clinic in the town of Scarsdale, and (like so many other doctor-designed plans) created the diet for overweight patients.

The book has always been a huge seller and is still popular today.

Low Fat, High Protein

scarsdale-dietThe Scarsdale Diet has a peculiar nutrient ratio – the only diet exactly like this. It contains 43% protein, 22.5% fat, and 34.5% carbohydrate.

Dr Tarnower claims this level of diet brings about the process of ketosis.

The Scarsdale diet consists of two Phases:

Phase One: The Scarsdale 14 Day Medical Diet

This phase is low calorie (about 1000 per day), and has very strict rules during the first two weeks. Corn, peas, lentils, potatoes and any beans (except green beans or waxed beans) are forbidden during phase one.

The one week meal plan provided by Scarsdale is repeated twice for a total of 2 weeks.

The supposed weight loss is 20 pounds (9kg) in just 14 days.

Phase Two: Keep Trim Program

After the first phase, the calorie limit is lifted a little in the Keep Trim Program. Dieters are NOT to repeat the first phase until they have completed at least two weeks of the Keep Trim Program even if they haven’t reached their goal weight.

Dieters should use Scardale’s 2 On 2 Off  method until goal weight is achieved.

Recommended Foods

Lean meat, non-fat dairy, protein bread, eggs, green leafy vegetables, carrots, celery, broccoli, canned tuna, tea, diet soda.

Forbidden Foods

Dairy with fat, butter, fatty meats, potatoes, avocados, baked beans, peanut butter, artificial sweeteners, sugar, yams, pasta, sweet potato, cakes, pies, candy, chocolate, lima beans, rice.

Scarsdale 1 Day Sample Meal Plan

1/2 grapefruit
slice of wholemeal toast (no spreads or butter)
coffee (no sugar or milk)
Canned tuna
salad with oil-free dressing
Roast lamb (with all visible fat removed)
salad with lemon and vinegar dressing
Water, tea, soda water.

Now Online

There’s also an online version of the Scarsdale diet that contains over 300 recipes as well as a wealth of tips to help people be successful while following the protocol set forth by Tarnower.

Click here to try the Scarsdale Diet Online.

Scarsdale Diet Issues

While weight loss will occur, it is neither healthy, or sustainable in the long-term. If a low carb diet is desired, we would recommend finding one that is a little less strict.

Like many diets of this kind – the calorie recommendations are too low.

Also forbidden are a lot of healthy and nutritious foods that many have eaten and still experienced significant weight loss. On one hand he says no artificial sweeteners, but then he recommends diet soda in his meal plans, which seems to be a contradiction.

See Also

The Complete Scarsdale Diet which retails for $7.99.

Tasty High Protein Recipes

Scarsdale Diet
Click Here to try
 By Mizpah Matus B.Hlth.Sc(Hons)
  • Angela L

    Im on day one of this diet! I only have about 8 more lbs to lose (post baby) so I’m excited to lose it quick! I normally work out 5-6 days a week doing strength training and high intensity cardio (TurboFire) But is it safe to continue my workouts while eating so few calories?? Should I stick to less-intense cardio instead while on the diet? Any tips are appreciated!

  • Len

    I went on the Scarsdale diet in 1979 and lost 100 lbs in 4 months! The diet is fantastic, and the pounds just peeled off. The food regimen was fantastic!

  • EatWeighLove

    I am busy giving it a try and am having the most amazing results! I have lost almost 3kg and I have only been on it for 8 days! During the first week I did feel a little hungry, but now im use to it and loving it! I have documented the full diet and and pictures of the meals i have cooked in my blog.

  • Ange

    I want to start this diet within the next week. I’m currently 185 lbs. I want to get down to around 130 lbs in the next few months. I’ll update my progress. Wish me luck!

  • athena

    I was 175 a week ago… now 165…. don’t cheat..walk an hour a day… u will loseit!

  • MicheleC

    In 1998, I lost over 30 lbs on this diet. The diet was easy to follow and the weight just came off. I was never hungry and felt better after taking the sugar and processed foods out of my diet. For the most part, I kep the weight off because I stayed away from carbs and sugars.

    I recently put weight back on because of stress, and early menapause. I am back on the diet starting today. I am very motivated – wish me luck!

    • Ann E.

      Hi Michelle,

      How are you doing the Scarsdale diet? I am just wondering. I did the diet about 30 years ago with great success and now will try it again. I am also menopause so I would like to know how your success has been. Wishing you all the best. Ann

  • Sandy

    Just wondering if anyone could respond to this – I did great the 1st time on the diet – last march 2012 – lost about 30 pounds. Kept the 30 off and tried again in Sept – wanted to lose about 10 more pounds – and only lost 2 pounds in the first week. Is this normal and does anyone have any suggestions?

  • janet

    starting this diet today I only want to lose like 10pounds since we are going on holiday next month wish me luck and if you have please give me some pointers… (:

  • Sandy

    Second time trying the diet – did great the 1st time – lost about 20 pounds – but I am now in the 2nd week and I have only lost about 2 pounds – is this normal?

  • anniepost

    I did it 30 years ago and lost 13 pounds in two weeks. My ex lost 20 pounds. I did it again 15 years ago and lost 10 pounds. I need to lose 14 now. I have lost 5 in 5 days. But people don’t weight yourself for several days. That guy who weighed after one day and only lost 1/2 pound….come on. If you are fat give it too weeks. Plain and simple.It makes you feel better and it is healthy. Probably more veggies than most people eat. I eat no bread normally so this is fun eating bread/toast.. I feel like it’s a treat not a diet. No wine is sad, however but day 5 and no wine and I feel great, sleep better and am very happy!

  • Armin

    Aah man i weigh 285lbs and I am 186 cm tall.
    So I need to weigh 180lbs and lose 105lbs for me to have a perfect BMI.

    How long will you guys think it will take to lose all that weight while using this diet and walking fast everyday for 5km?

    It’s going to be hard :/

    • Jes

      Given that every third week will be a week off, and as you get closer to your target your weight loss will decelerate, you’ll probably average out at 7lbs a week, so it should take you about 4 months. Just a guess though; do let me know how long it takes. Good luck!

  • Mark

    This diet works!

    I am on day eight and have so far lost 15lbs. It’s true that I have also eel doing some exercise – gentle jogging and swimming – but the vast majority of the reduction in weight is due to the Scarsdale Diet.

    Every morning starts with the same breakfast – a slice of toast, half a red grapefruit and a coffee. And it’s the discipline of having a breakfast that sets be tone for the day.

    Each day’s lunch is different. And if necessary any of these can be substituted for an alternative. Dinners are also varied, but there is sufficient flexibility if there is anything you don’t like.

    I have lost weight every day so far with one exception – but this I have put down to eating too much rump steak on “steak day”!

    I still need to shed more pounds but, without question, it’s going to be the Scarsdale that gets me there!

  • Jes

    I am not overweight- bmi is about 22, but I just want to lose some weight I put on over summer. I thought as I was not an extreme case this diet wouldn’t fulfill the extravagant weight loss, but I’ve been blown away! Day 5 and I’ve lost 6 pounds and still going. I’ve been doing an hour of Pilates a day (half in the morning and half at the end of the day to make it more bearable) and sticking to the plan exactly. Hunger pains diminished by day 2 but today I feel drained of all energy, hopefully that will go away soon. Such a good programme, anyone needing a quick weight loss to boost start a sensible diet give it a try!

  • Vincent

    Started yesterday and have a lot of wind in my stomach, I find the lack of sugar even worse than the lack of a few glasses of wine. If you consider this diet please note you will be giving up all food containing milk, sugar, starch(potatoes, pasta, rice, etc.) and all alcohol. After day one I have only lost half a pound not the pound the diet indicated, but only day one. I’m not sure this is a healthy diet if you are busy working and not more than 10% over weight. I will keep going for a few more days but I suspect the lack of sugar will get to me as I have a sweet tooth.

  • Mm

    I want to lose like 25 pounds. Looks like a good diet just need some strong motivation ladies to complete 2 weeks.

  • suzie

    This really works. I have been on and off

    • mg

      I love to hear success stories!

  • Jules hall

    Hi all,

    Starting this week Nd have 4 weeks til holiday so the aim is to lose as much as possible! Quick question… Are there any subs for celery Nd cucumber? I don’t like them so do I substitute or leave them out totally? Thanks x

    • Sam

      you can use baby carrots. they don’t count as anything. Thats what I’m going to be munching on if I get hungry.

  • Kira

    Hi, I know this diet very well and I love it. It is the only diet I can follow and lose weight. It is a low fat (not: no-fat), no sugar, lower carb and good protein diet. It teaches you how to eat right. I love the fact that breakfast is the same every day during the 2-week intense weight loss-it makes things so much easier! And it works for me very well since I am never hungry in the morning, just have breakfast for coffee and out of habit. I find other diets with their 20-ingredients recipes too overwhelming and Impossible to implement, unless you are super rich and can hire a cook to prepare all those fancy diet meals for you. Scarsdale is EASY to follow even if you are a mom of 2 working full time. Meals are quick to prepare
    I do not understand why it is called fad diet and too low calorie diet by some. I weighed my food and counted calories every day while I was on this diet and I consumed between 950-1300 calories a day. Weight Watchers should be called unhealthy and too low cal diet: their average is only about 800 cal a day!
    Kimberly: it is not recommended that you stay on the intense stage of this diet for longer than 2 weeks, because you will stop losing weight if you eat lower cal for too long. For your information, I lost 12 lbs during the 2 weeks of intense Scarsdale and then I lost over 15lbs during “keep trim” stage later–. So I didn’t have to go back to intense Scarsdale, as there was no need for that. But some people who want to lose more weight, alternate between “intense” 2 weeks and 2 weeks Keep Trim. This causes consistent weight loss. I have not heard that anything in Scarsdale diet causes liver and kidney damage. What could cause it: lack of sugar? :-) I don’t think so. Anyway, I guarantee you will bet bored after 2 weeks of intense Scarsdale and you will be looking forward to adding new foods!
    Sonia: Of course, you do not have to drink coffee or tea. Just don’t drink anything with sugar in it and they do not recommend artificial sweeteners, either. Pure water is the best, just add a slice of lemon for flavor.

    • Angel

      Wow, 27 lbs in 4 weeks. Thats amazing, any tips for newbies?

    • Lisa

      I am needing to lose 25 lbs in one month.Any suggestions?

  • latrice

    This really does work…completed my 12 days and lost15lbs. I started to slip a little noticing i gained 5lbs after quitting and eating wjat i was craving. Got back right into eating right and lost the 5lbs in 4days. The point is too eat more healthy things than fast and easy greasy foods.

  • Denise

    Well now, this is working like it said it would. This is day 5 and I’ve lost 8 pounds. I’m a little light headed, but I find when I drink lots of water, it goes away. I’ve had a lap band put in and taken out, and this beats that hands down. Good luck to everyone out there!

    • mg

      I would love to hear your how you have progressed because I am in a similar situation to you,

    • Jennifer

      Thanks for the advice! Did you incorporate exercise into that?

      • Kira

        I chime in here…In Dr. Hanover’s book it says it is not necessary to to add exercise or gym time to this diet, however, he recommends that we move more. It can be any kind of physical activity, some walking, some cleaning, this and that. Just do not sit in a chair all day.

  • Lisa Prominski

    This diet works!! I went on this as a freshman in highschool needing to lose about 30 lbs. Over a summer I lost all the weight. But I also incorporated aerobic exercise 5x a week for 45 min. This diet taught me how to eat a low fat diet and still be able to live. I usually took one day a week to reward myself and have a candy bar or something else that I would consider a “cheat.” This really became my basis for how I would eat over the next 28 years. I am 43 now, have had 3 children and am still a size 4:)

  • darlene

    I want to try it but not a fan of fish or tuna any suggestions?

    • Kira

      If you don’t like fish, you can have meat instead. Fish/meat=protein

      • Lisa

        I am very excited to read all of this encouraging news. I have taken diet medication on and off for about 6 yrs. and my weight has gone way up and way down. I am really wanting to stay at my lowest (which is a size 4) permanently. I searched yesterday and found this site and started reading. I have studied many diets in the past and tried atkins and many more.This one seems like it is more of a lifestyle change instead of a diet. I have 25 lbs to lose. I started yesterday and this morning I lost 1/2 lb.I am wondering what I can snack on? Also, what are the portion sizes?

  • Amelia

    This diet works! Toward the end of first week the lack of sugar caused me to have a headache, but there was a remedy listed in the book and everything worked out great. I lost 36 lbs in 6 weeks and kept it off!

  • dezi

    I was just shown this diet and I’m curious about I really want to try it. I’m worried about the energy levels. I am 220lbs and I am 5’3″ so I really need to lose the weight. I’m going to start in the next few days I hope it works. Anyone have ideas for meals in the Keep trim diet?

  • susie

    Just looked this up I am starting tomrrow on this diet I am at 178.2 I am short 5 1 so i need to lose48 pounds anyone else starting in July 2011?

  • Teresa

    It’s 2 weeks on and 2 weeks off. During the 2 weeks off you still diet but it is different, called the keep trim plan. Same basic concept as the first 2 weeks except you create your own menu according to what you learned the previous 2 weeks, but you can add fat free salad dressing and skim milk etc to it. This is a way to continue and make it safe and also to “shock” your metabolism so it doesn’t get immune to the diet. After the 2 weeks off you can go back to the regular diet for 2 more weeks and continue to alternate on 2 off 2 on 2 off and so on. Hope this helps! :)

  • jayn

    Four yrs ago i tried this and went from 175 down to 163. I admit the first two days were not easy but after that it went smoothly and I didn’t even eat the carrots so much. This is the only diet that has ever worked for me, I’ve struggled with weight my entire life. I tried the detox with the drink made of lemon, cayenne pepper, and honey and the cabbage soup diet and most people reported losing up to 25lbs and I only lost 4!! I’ve slipped a little and am now 188.7 but I’m on day 1 and am very optimistic, this diet really does work and it’s not deprivation it’s just learning discipline for a better quality of life in the end. So 188.7, I’ll check-in after the two weeks. Good luck everyone!

  • stef

    I started the scarsdale diet on May 15th and I love it it gives me enough food to get satisfied. I have lost 8lbs in only 4 days Im so excited and I want to keep this going cuz one day it will stop. I have learned to eat on this diet


    How many calorie aday?

  • las

    you shouldn’t stay on for more than two weeks because it can cause liver and/or kidney damage. google it.

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