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What is The 17 Day Diet?
For those who like to know exactly what to do, there is The 17 Day Diet. The diet has been burning through the Internet ever since the start of the New Year when its creator, Dr. Mike Moreno, was “seen on TV” on Dr. Phil and The Doctors. The book jacket claims the diet is “a simple plan that targets both belly fat and visceral fat and produces fast results that last.” 'Belly fat' and 'fast', the magic words. Dr. Mike knows the right thing to say.
The 17 Day Diet Plan
Days 1 – 17 are to “Accelerate” on a low carbohydrate diet that provides around 1200 calories. Eat unlimited lean meat and no-starch vegetables, two fat-free plain yogurts and two low-sugar fruits, a bit of oil, green tea, and 64 ounces of water a day. Typical for any low carb diet, fat-burning and fluid loss is favored during those days.
Days 18 – 34 are to “Activate” by calorie cycling (aka calorie shifting or calorie zigzagging), which means that the daily calorie intake cycles and recycles from low to high over the course of several days. The goal is to trick the metabolism to prevent it from slowing down. Two servings of whole grains are added to the above to raise the average calorie intake to 1500 a day.
Days 35 – 51 are to “Achieve” good eating habits that last a lifetime. This phase is the same as “Activate” except that lean meat is no longer unlimited and more grains and fruit are added, along with an optional serving of alcohol and a 100-calorie snack. In other words, the low carb diet is 'Out' and a balanced low-calorie diet is 'In' sans the processed food.
Day 52 and on are to “Arrive” at a lifelong eating plan, which is a constant cycling through phases 1, 2 and 3 - until the weekends when you can splurge. But don’t binge, says Dr. Mike, and if you gain more than 5 pounds, return immediately to phase 2.
A Nutritional Critique
For many people, the beginning phase is too low in calories, and for everyone, it is too low in fiber. But a low carb vs. low fat diet is simply a matter of choice because research shows they both work if the calories are low. Dr. Mike says the diet is not for type 1 diabetics, or for teens, pregnant and lactating women, and sick people I might add. And it is prudent to take a multivitamin-mineral supplement during the first two phases.
And since I was quoted on Shine from Yahoo, I’ll share what I said about the rest.
Regarding calorie cycling:
"There is no scientific evidence to support the efficacy of calorie cycling or its effect on metabolism,” says Mary Hartley, RD, MPH, the director of nutrition at Calorie Count. "There is no harm in calorie cycling temporarily or indefinitely and the process happens naturally for most people, who don't eat or burn the same number of calories every day. But I am not in favor of focusing on any process that takes you away from attending to the lifestyle changes that you need to make and practice for permanent weight control."
Regarding 'tricking' the metabolism:
"A few specific foods and beverages have been shown to boost metabolism in research studies. They are hot red pepper (capsaicin), grapefruit, green tea, coffee and other caffeinated foods, and even water. But keep in mind that the increased metabolism these foods provide is too small to really be meaningful," Hartley says in the article "How You Can Control Your Metabolism" at DietsInReview.com.
Regarding splurging on the weekends:
"Bad idea," says Hartley. "Wild weekends can reverse the progress you make during the week. Ultimately, you’ll feel like you are working hard but not getting anywhere. For example, if you created a 3500 calorie deficit by dieting and exercising Monday through Friday, you could easily undo it by eating and drinking 1750 extra calories for two days. Also, note that successful dieters change their mindsets so they want to eat healthy most of the time."
A Psychological Diversion?
Many people enjoy following a 'diet' for awhile. Like a trip to a spa, it can feel energizing and may renew a commitment to eating clean. And who can argue with clean eating: lots of water, no processed foods, no sugar, solid fats, or booze? Dr. Mike has meal plans and recipes and a 17-minute exercise CD all for $29.00 - and even home delivered meals for an additional fee.
But The 17 Day Diet doesn’t touch the day-to-day behavioral issues tantamount to effective change. It might be an interesting diversion for those with only 5 pounds to lose, but when more loss is needed, the diversion could keep you from figuring out a plan that works over the course of a lifetime for YOU.
What's your take on the 17 Day Diet?
Join the discussion, Anyone try the 17 Day Diet book?, in Calorie Count's Weight Loss Forum.