The Scarsdale Diet was designed by Doctor Herman Tarnower. Its first phase lasts just two weeks but claims to help dieters lose up to 20 pounds (9 kilograms) during this short period. Don’t even think of stretching this very low-calorie diet for more than two weeks. Follow this super strict initial phase by a more flexible maintenance phase that also lasts two weeks. The Scarsdale Diet popularity may have received an unexpected boost when the doctor was murdered, allegedly by his long-time partner in March, 1980. I don’t remember the details but I don’t think that she was all that unhappy with the diet. Here are some of the diet principles.
During the initial phase follow the menus exactly. If you’re hungry you may gnaw on celery sticks, carrots, or other veggies. Drink as much coffee, tea, or sugarless carbonated drinks as you wish but don’t touch a drop of alcohol. Don’t eat fatty foods. Steam your vegetables. Don’t eat if you’re not hungry. Weigh yourself every morning. During the maintenance phase you are allowed a small glass of wine or a beer daily. There is a long list of forbidden foods.
Two advantages of this once extremely popular diet are its inflexibility (you never have to decide what to eat) and its brevity. On the other hand this diet lacks sufficient fatty acids and calcium so don’t think of returning to the initial phase after completing the maintenance phase. It can be frustrating to follow given its low level of calories and glucides.
Here are two sample menus:
Menu 1 (Initial Phase)
Breakfast: Half a grapefruit. 1 slice of toasted protein bread. Coffee or tea.
Lunch: Fruit salad. Coffee or tea.
Supper: A generous serving of grilled hamburger. Lettuce, tomato, olive, celery, and cucumber salad. Coffee or tea.
Menu 2 (Maintenance Phase)
Breakfast: Half a grapefruit. 2 slices of toasted protein bread. Coffee or tea.
Lunch: Grated carrots. A chicken leg. Green beans.
Supper: Green salad. Salmon filet. Ratatouille. Coffee or tea.
Some information in this article comes from a fascinating new book, La Bible des Regimes, written by Jenny de Jonquieres and published by Amerik Media. Her book describes over 80 diets and weight reduction programs. Each diet is presented with 5 menu plans, a detailed discussion of its advantages and disadvantages, and lots more. La Bible des Regimes is available only in French at present.