Mayo Clinic Diet

Quit yo-yo dieting for good with these foolproof tips from the experts at the Mayo Clinic - Abigail Libers

Mayo Clinic Diet

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The Mayo Clinic Diet makes a bold claim that, “you’ll shed six to ten pounds in two weeks, and continue losing one to two pounds a week until you reach your goal weight”.

Established in 2010, the diet was developed by the renowned Mayo Clinic in Minnesota. It aims to focus not just weight loss, but also on overall health and lifestyle. The structured diet plan provides advice on how to break old, unhealthy habits (like eating while watching TV) and how to form new, healthy ones (like exercising regularly). The diet comes in the form of an online paid subscription with an accompanying book...

The Mayo Clinic diet comprises of two catchily titled phases, Lose It! (first phase) and Live It! (second phase).

The Lose It! stage:

From the information available online (you can get more by subscribing), it is difficult to decipher exactly what this stage entails. However, the menu plan appears to be based around fruits and vegetables, whole grains, healthy fats and sources of lean protein. Unlimited fruit and vegetables are allowed as snacks, and dieters are encouraged to exercise daily.

The Live It! stage:

This stage is calorie-controlled, but the emphasis is placed on becoming mindful of portion sizes rather than counting calories. The same healthy eating “rules” as the Lose It! stage apply, but there is more flexibility for treats, and no foods are excluded completely. Regular exercise and mindful eating are still encouraged...

Mayo Clinic Diet Pros

•Encourages regular exercise as part of the plan

•Focuses on mindfulness when eating (e.g advises against eating while watching TV)

•Puts emphasis on changing long-term eating habits rather than just a fad diet (unlike the Military Diet) •No food groups are completely off limits

•Encourages high intake of fruit and vegetables

•Has credibility behind it as established by medical professionals at the Mayo clinic

Mayo Clinic Diet Cons

•Has a subscription cost attached to it

•A prescriptive diet with specific rules and portion control doesn't suit everyone

•The diet is founded on well-established dietary advice, and therefore some may question whether the subscription cost provides good value or is necessary

The Verdict

“We all know the key to a fitter lifestyle is to ditch the fad diets and take on a healthier, long-term approach to our health, and The Mayo Clinic Diet does just that. It focuses on improving motivation to lose weight, understanding how to lose it, and knowing when you need more help," says Matthew Plowman, nutrition and supplement advisor at Cardiff Sports Nutrition.

“Overall, a healthy approach to diet and fitness is promoted — which are ultimately the two key factors in helping us lose weight and improve fitness levels.”

This diet is based upon commonly accepted healthy eating principles, and also focuses on exercise and other lifestyle factors that can impact weight loss. This holistic approach to dieting is widely advocated by health professionals. The downside is that the diet requires you to follow a structured meal plan, and requires quite a lot of meal preparation, which for some individuals might be impractical and or undesirable. The initial Lose It! stage also requires quite a lot of motivation and willpower, and compliance to this stage may be difficult for some.

Rating The Mayo Clinic Diet

Convenience/Feasibility — 14/20

Because emphasis is on eating fresh food and avoiding processed foods, an element of food preparation and planning is required. For some individuals, the two-week Lose It! phase might be difficult to keep up with. However, after this initial phase, no foods are completely off-limits, and food choices are guided by the Mayo food pyramid.

Cost — 12/20

Signing up for The Mayo Clinic Diet costs $65 a quarter. You get access to personalized meal plans, recipes, portion control guides, motivational tips, weight trackers, exercise guides and a food and fitness journal. Some may argue that because similar information is available freely on the internet, the subscription cost is unnecessary. However, these resources can be beneficial for dieters who find that rigid guidelines help them stay on track.

Groceries focus largely on fresh produce and lots of fruits and vegetables, but the diet is flexible and it can be adapted to suit all budgets. No expensive superfoods or supplements are required.

Safety — 20/20

The Mayo Clinic Diet is based around a healthy eating pyramid that’s closely in line with the government's dietary guidelines, and is therefore considered perfectly safe. However, it is always recommended that individuals with a medical condition consult their GP before starting a new dietary regime.

Flexibility — 18/20

The diet is largely plant-based, so it can easily accommodate vegetarians and vegans (Check out our review of the vegan diet for more info on eating a fully plant-based diet). Because of the wide range of foods incorporated in the eating plan, individuals with other allergies/intolerances should also be able to follow the diet with adjustments.

Effectiveness — 12/20

The only research specifically evaluating the diet comes from the Mayo Clinic itself, which has reported positive results. This is accompanied by hundreds of testimonials. However there is no independent evidence to support the claims made by the diet. The diet is based on simple principles of healthy eating, portion control and regular exercise, and so should result in gradual, sustainable weight loss for most healthy individuals.

Final Score — 76/100

Source: Naomi Mead, Does The Mayo Clinic Diet Work? AskMen.com

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Last Updated : Wednesday, October 20, 2021