If you’re ready to dive into a quirky way of eating that involves lots of grapefruit, if you love following weight-loss plans promoted by the latest reality television stars, and above all, if you’re ready to shed a ridiculous number of pounds overnight, well, the Mayo Clinic Diet probably isn’t for you.
However, if you’re more interested in adopting a common-sense lifestyle that may help you trim down and maintain a healthier weight, without fad dieting or drastic weight loss, then you may find the Mayo Clinic Diet appealing.
The Mayo Clinic Diet: Lifetime Changes
Unlike many fad diets, the Mayo Clinic Diet doesn’t promise major short-term weight loss, says Katherine Zeratsky, RD, LD, a dietitian at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. “What we strive to promote is an overall healthy diet and lifestyle change, looking at it as something you can maintain over time for the best health outcome for the long term.”
Instead of setting specific weight-loss goals, the Mayo Clinic Diet has its users set goals that are related to eating more healthy foods or doing more exercise. Your goals should be specific and measurable. The Mayo Clinic Diet suggests that you focus on sticking with long-term weight loss, rather than racing for short-term change.
The Mayo Clinic Diet: Highlights
The main components of the program are:
A food pyramid. You can eat an unlimited amount of fruits and vegetables, which occupy the wide base of the pyramid. Next up you have carbohydrates like pasta, with four to eight daily servings, and then three to seven servings of protein and dairy. Bringing the daily pyramid to a tiny tip at the top are fats (three to five servings) and sweets (up to 75 calories), which occupy a small part of your diet. Fruits and vegetables are typically high in fiber and nutrients but lower in calories, and by focusing on these, “people are going to feel full and satisfied, yet consume fewer calories. The outcome very well could be that they find that they have weight loss and better weight control,” Zeratsky says.
Physical activity. For weight loss and overall health, you should get 30 to 60 minutes of moderate physical activity on most days of the week, which burns calories and improves your fitness.
The Mayo Clinic Diet: Sample Day
Healthful eating means you won’t go hungry on the Mayo Clinic Diet with 1,200 calories a day:
The Mayo Clinic Diet: Pros and Cons
Dietitian Susan Burke March, MS, RD, a former chief nutritionist at eDiets.com and author of Making Weight Control Second Nature: Living Thin Naturally, applauds this “holistic” and well-rounded approach to weight loss. “It’s a great program. It’s going to give you a lot of credible information. That is a really safe way to go.”
However, steering yourself into a healthier lifestyle, as recommended by the Mayo Clinic Diet, may not be easy. “For some people, they just don’t have the energy or the time or the support to really undertake that kind of behavioral change on a daily basis,” March says.
The Mayo Clinic Web site also offers information on assessing how ready you are to change, then how to take the right steps that match your stage of readiness, Zeratsky says.
Mayo Clinic Diet: Beware of Imitators
If you had looked online for a Mayo Clinic diet years ago, you might have found a plan bearing the name of this famous hospital that promised weight loss by focusing on an odd, unbalanced array of foods. However, that diet was not sponsored or developed by the hospital. The well-rounded diet plan is the only official Mayo Clinic Diet, explains Zeratsky.