Why Scarsdale Diet Works Best for Weight Reduction

Updated on February 17th, 2020
scarsdale diet

The Scarsdale diet can help you achieve your weight loss goals in this short timeframe. Created in the 1970s and named after a town in New York, the Scarsdale diet is a low-calorie diet.

Similar to many well-known and successful weight-loss diets, the Scarsdale diet emphasizes on consuming a higher percentage of proteins and a lower percentage of carbohydrates(1). Contrary to many other diets, the Scarsdale diet plan does not require you to be mindful of calories but induces it through rigidity. Curious to know more? Keep reading!

The diet is named after the town where the founder, Herman Tarnower, practiced as a cardiologist.

Benefits of Scarsdale Diet

The Scarsdale diet gained popularity due to its promise of expedited weight loss – and this is one promise that it delivers on. The diet plan is rigid, but that can work in your favor. You need not wonder about what to eat each day as the plan can simplify meal planning and grocery shopping.

Since the Scarsdale diet plan is only for a duration of seven to fourteen days, it is one of the best plans that you need to lose weight in a short span. Despite the severe calorie-deficit, the Scarsdale diet is well-balanced.

Your daily nutrition(2) when following the Scarsdale diet will have 43% protein, 22.5% fat, and 34.5% carbohydrates. You are not deprived of any macronutrients, and the high protein proportion helps you stave off hunger. The diet also stresses the importance of consuming fruits and vegetables and ensures that you get the required vitamins and minerals for your body to function.

The diet was first published in the book titled ‘The Complete Scarsdale Medical Diet plus Dr. Tarnower’s Lifetime Keep-Slim Program.’

Foods to Include in the Scarsdale Diet

You can consume the following foods if you are following the Scarsdale diet:

1. Fruits

Fresh Fruits health

Grapefruit was the only fruit that was allowed in the original Scarsdale Diet. However, other fruits such as peaches, mangoes, papaya, cantaloupe, and tomato were permitted in the revised version of the diet.

Grapefruit is one of the highest sources of Vitamin C(3); this single fruit can help you meet your Vitamin C requirement for the day. All the fruits permitted in the diet are nutrient-rich. You can consume them raw or drink the juices of these fruits.

[ Read: Grapefruit Diet ]

2. Protein

Your primary sources of protein in the Scarsdale diet plan are lean meats such as turkey, chicken, pork chops, fish, and lean beef. Eggs are also allowed in the diet. You can prepare your proteins in any manner you like, but the preparation should use the least amount of fat.

3. Vegetables


You can consume low-carbohydrate vegetables(4) such as carrots, cauliflower, lettuce, celery, broccoli, spinach, and radish. It is recommended that you consume them raw in the form of a salad.

[ Read: Benefits of GM Diet ]

4. Drinks

You can consume as much coffee, tea, or diet soda as you wish.

5. Seasonings

You can add seasonings to meats and vegetables using salt, ketchup, pepper, lemon, soy sauce, herbs, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, and mustard.

Foods to Avoid in the Scarsdale Diet

As with most diets, the Scarsdale diet also places restrictions on food groups that can violate the calorie requirement for the day or the proportion of macronutrients. Most of them are either high in fat or high in carbohydrates or both and contain minimal protein. The diet focuses on consuming more protein to keep you feeling full for longer and helps kick start the weight loss.

  1. Fatty and processed meats such as bacon, sausages, etc. are not permitted by the diet.
  2. The diet also restricts all types of dairy products and all varieties of potatoes and rice, since they are high in carbohydrates and can impact the balance of the nutrients. Even though avocados are usually the holy grail food in diets, the diet does not permit it.
  3. Chocolates and desserts are also a strict no-no.

[ Read: Know All About Warrior Diet ]

A Day in the Scarsdale Diet

Given all the inclusions and exclusions, here’s how you can begin a diet plan.

  • Begin your day with a breakfast consisting of half a grapefruit along with coffee or tea. You can add a sugar substitute to the beverage. The breakfast remains constant during all days of the diet.
  • Your lunch should include some form of a lean protein and a salad. The salad can contain a mixture of the vegetables that are permitted under the diet with some seasoning.
  • Additionally, you can also consume coffee or tea with lunch.
  • Dinner would be similar to lunch with a source of lean protein and a salad. You can use a different protein than what you consumed during lunch to add some variety to the diet.
  • You can also consume tea or coffee with dinner.

Snacks aren’t permitted in the diet, however, and these three meals will be all you can consume during the day.

[ Read: Golo Diet Benefits ]

Disadvantages of the Scarsdale Diet

The most obvious pitfall of the diet is its lack of sustainability – it becomes incredibly boring and tiresome to stick to the diet for a minimum of seven days. Returning to the same menu after a gap of two weeks will not be something that many look forward to. The diet can work in the short term, but it isn’t really sustainable in the long run.

The severe calorie deficit may help you lose weight, but there is a good chance that you would gain that weight back once you stop the diet. It can then prompt you to start the diet again and lead to yo-yo dieting, which tends to take a toll on your health.

The sole focus of the diet is weight loss without much regard to the quality of the food consumed. It permits diet soda, which is known to be an unhealthy beverage.

Final Take

The Diet is a controversial diet. Although many have lost weight successfully after following it, some have found it impractical and unsustainable. However, if you are looking for a quick weight loss solution, then you can give this diet a try.

[ Read: Anabolic Diet ]


1. Can you eat fruit on the Scarsdale diet?

Yes, you can consume grapefruit, papaya, peaches, mangoes, and cantaloupe on the Scarsdale diet.

2. How fast can I lose weight on Scarsdale Diet?

You will see visible weight-loss results in two weeks.

3. Can you eat eggs on Scarsdale Diet?

Yes, you can consume eggs on the diet. However, they should be prepared with no fat.

4. Is the Scarsdale Diet a long-term diet?

The diet is not sustainable in the long run.

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