Created in the 1970s, the Scarsdale diet was the brainchild of Dr. Herman Tarnower, who operated a clinic in Scarsdale, New York, to help overweight patients lose weight 12. The diet includes two phases, and the first phase is called the Scarsdale 14-Day Medical diet 12. Despite the diet's age, many people trying to lose weight continue using the principles outlined by Tarnower.

The 14-Day Scarsdale Diet Explained

The first phase of the Scarsdale diet lasts for 14 days, hence its name 2. If participants stick to the diet plan, they'll consume no more than 1,000 calories per day. The diet is quite strict in terms of what foods they're allowed to eat and what foods are off-limits. The low-carb diet is broken down to a ratio of 43 percent protein, 22.5 percent fat and 34.5 percent carbohydrates. Tarnower claims that during this first phase, participants can lose up to 20 pounds.

Foods That Are Permitted

The diet allows diet soda as well. Participants aren't allowed to have snacks.

Foods That Are Forbidden

There is a much longer list of foods that aren't allowed on the diet. For example, participants aren't permitted to have butter or dairy foods that contain fats, including milk, cheese, yogurt and ice cream. Other off-limits foods include fatty meats such as:

  • bacon
  • sausage
  • potatoes
  • sweet potatoes
  • beans
  • avocados
  • rice
  • chocolate or any kind of dessert with added sugar

Other than grapefruit, most fruits aren't allowed on the diet.

Pros and Cons of the Diet

One of the only benefits of the 14-Day Scarsdale diet is quick weight loss, though the weight loss isn't necessarily achieved in a safe manner 2. The restricted number of foods allowed on the diet makes it difficult to follow as well. The diet also makes it difficult to eat plenty of fresh fruits, vegetables and dairy foods, which might leave participants deficient in certain nutrients, especially if it's followed for more than the recommended 14-day limit. Further, most weight that's lost is water weight, which is usually regained as soon as participants return to their normal eating habits.