The Official Mayo Clinic Diet Program
Donald Hensrud, M.D.
Mayo Clinic's Official Diet Program is Based on Changing Habits Quickly and Maintaining the Lifestyle Changes
For years, people have been trying to associate Mayo Clinic with various diets. One year it was grapefruit; another year it was bacon and eggs. There was even a "Mayo Clinic diet" with cabbage soup. To set the record straight, Mayo Clinic has never been associated with any of those fad diets.
But now the physicians and researchers at Mayo Clinic have developed a dietary program that we can endorse. We believe there's enough evidence in the scientific literature and enough experience with it here at Mayo Clinic that we feel comfortable putting Mayo's name on this program.
This is the official Mayo Clinic Diet
It's based on changing your lifestyle habits quickly and sustaining those healthy changes for the long term.
The Mayo Clinic Diet consists of two phases
The "Lose It!" phase lasts for two weeks. In this phase, people make quick changes in their diet and physical activity habits. Next, the "Live It!" phase incorporates the habits that have been changed in the "Lose It!" phase into a long-term, sustainable and enjoyable lifestyle program. In the "Live It!" phase, people can continue to lose 1 to 2 pounds a week indefinitely until they reach their goal weight.
The "Lose It!" phase is designed to be the healthiest way possible to lose weight quickly. Mayo Clinic conducted a pilot program of this phase that involved approximately 50 people. The average weight loss during the first two weeks was 8 pounds, with most people generally losing 6 to 10 pounds, although some lost more and some a little less.
This first phase is focused on changing habits suddenly: adding five habits, breaking five habits, and utilizing five bonus habits. All of these habits have evidence supporting their effect on better managing weight by either decreasing calorie intake or burning more calories.
For example, excessive television viewing is included in the habits to break. The amount of time you watch TV each day shouldn't be more than the amount of time you spend exercising. We found this to be one of the most challenging habits for many people. However, there's good evidence that TV viewing is a sedentary behavior and contributes to increased weight. In fact, it's been shown in children that the more TV they watch, the higher their weight.
An example of a habit to add is eating breakfast every day. It's been shown that people who eat breakfast regularly are more effective at managing their weight.
In The Mayo Clinic Diet , we encourage people to make a lot of changes all at once, as best they can. The cumulative effect of all these changes can be increased weight loss, done in a safe and healthy way to lose weight quickly. All of the recommendations are grounded in strong science that's based on research studies and clinical experience from Mayo Clinic, as well as other institutions.
Another unique feature is that The Mayo Clinic Diet is based on the Mayo Clinic Healthy Weight Pyramid. The foundation of the pyramid is fruits and vegetables, which are low in energy density -- meaning they have a lot of bulk and a lot of volume but not many calories -- so people can get a lot to eat, yet they don't consume as many calories as they would with other foods.
You can lose weight by decreasing calorie intake no matter what you eat. For example, you can eat just sugar, and if you consume fewer calories than normal, you'll lose weight. But that isn't healthy. The foods we recommend in each food group in the Mayo Clinic Healthy Weight Pyramid will not only help people lose weight, they will improve their overall health, too. And, importantly, the foods we recommend also taste great.
All the details of this dietary program will be included in the new
book, "The Mayo Clinic Diet
," to be published in
Medical Edge from Mayo Clinic is an educational resource and doesn't replace regular medical care
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