What we like about the 17 Day Diet
First thing, it’s based on a low carb approach to weight loss. Most people who stay skinny and don’t have to diet, eat a low carb diet without even thinking about it. Fast carbs like breads, pasta and cookies are empty calories that do nothing but make you fat. Consider them banished to the junk food category from here on out. Whether you chose this diet or not, your health and your figure are better off without simple carbohydrates.
We also like that the 17 day diet places a large focus on food quality over calorie counting. When you’re eating healthy food, you don’t really have to count calories anyway. While the number of calories you consume is important, the type of food you eat matters more. Your body will work best when it is supplied with plenty of healthy nutrients. Not only will you get skinny faster, if your diet is rich in things like vitamins, minerals and healthy fats, you’ll look hot and feel great too. Your waist line will come back, your skin will glow and your hair will feel like silk. What you put into your body shows up on the outside.
The 17 Day Diet is built around healthy, fresh food and the distinct stages of the diet, discussed later, mean that you never really settle into eating in one particular way. This not only prevents dietary boredom – the enemy of any dieter – but also promises metabolic confusion which, says Moreno, will further enhance fat loss.
Designed by a doctor and approved by Doctor Phil, this is a serious diet. It’s a smart, sensible, sustainable eating plan designed for long-term use rather than a short-term fix. The 17-day phases create periodic changes that help you avoid feeling like gerbil on a wheel.
The diet becomes less strict as you progress through the stages – the first stage being the toughest. By the end of the diet there are periodic cheat days and even alcohol is allowed in moderation. The 17 day diet is designed to not only help you reach your ideal weight but then maintain it to; it’s a diet for life and not just the next few weeks. Unless, of course, that’s all you need.
The 17 Day Diet Claim
Dr. Moreno believes that changing the diet every 17 days keeps your metabolism in a state of “confusion,” speeding up weight loss, targeting belly fat, and letting you avoid the normal plateaus. Dr. Moreno suggests you can expect to lose up to 12 pounds in the first 17 days alone. He claims this combination of alternate-day fasting and a strict limit on starch and sugar turns the body into a fat-burning machine.
How does 17 Day Diet work?
Based on Michael Rafael Moreno’s 2011 book, “The 17 Day Diet: A Doctor’s Plan Designed for Rapid Results,” the regimen is purportedly built to help you shed pounds quickly and permanently. The diet is divided into three 17-day cycles to prevent boredom and your body from plateauing, says Moreno, a California-based family medicine physician. In the first cycle, “Accelerate,” you’ll cut back to about 1,200 calories per day, reduce your sugar intake, and focus on improving your digestion. This is when you’ll lose the most – 10 to 15 pounds – though most of it will be water weight, he says. After 17 days you’ll reach the second cycle, “Activate.” During this period you’ll alternate between Accelerate’s limited-calorie diet and Activate’s slightly higher-calorie meal plan. This back-and-forth supposedly resets your metabolism and stimulates fat burning to yield an additional loss of 5 to 6 pounds. In the third cycle, “Achieve,” you’ll focus on developing good eating habits to drop another 2 to 3 pounds. The final cycle, “Arrive,” is ongoing. You’ll maintain your goal weight by eating healthfully on weekdays and enjoying your favorite foods (in moderation) on the weekends.
You can build your own meal plans using Moreno’s lists of acceptable lean proteins, non-starchy vegetables, low-sugar fruits, and natural carbohydrates, including some general portion guidelines. Need more structure? Moreno offers 17 sample menus for each cycle. Green tea pops up in every meal because Moreno is a big believer in its fat-fighting properties, claiming that it blocks the growth of blood vessels in fatty tissue.
Moreno also offers tips for dieting on the road, at restaurants, during the holidays, for different cultural cuisines – and even if you’re PMS-ing.
The 17 Day Diet relies on a style of weight loss known as metabolic confusion, which means you’re changing up what you’re doing on a regular basis to keep your body from settling in to a routine.
Like many popular diet programs, 17 Day Diet is cyclical, using four phases, or cycles, to progress people from start to goal. The diet itself does not actually last a mere 17 days, instead, that is the length of time for each of the four cycles.
- Cycle 1: Accelerate. Jump start the program and facilitate rapid weight loss, cleansing, and fat burning. Discourages fat storage.
- Cycle 2: Activate. During this cycle you will “reset” your metabolism.
- Cycle 3: Achieve. Develop healthy eating habits, and develop a new understanding of how to eat carbs.
- Cycle 4: Arrive. Considered the maintenance phase and the culmination of what was learned in the first three cycles. On weekends, you have freedom to enjoy just about anything you like.
If you make it to cycle four and have not yet reached your goal, then it is encouraged and advised that you jump back to another cycle and continue your efforts, on schedule. Cycle four is considered the maintenance phase, and is reserved for those who’ve reached goal by following the guidance outlined in the first three cycles.
17 Day Diet Sample Meals
It’s fair to want to know exactly what you’ll be eating before taking on a new diet. The 17 Day Diet book outlines detailed meal plans for each day of each cycle, so all you have to do is shop and prepare, eliminating the worry and frustration over what you can or cannot eat. The following is a snapshot of what a day of meals look like on each 17 Day Day cycle:
Cycle 1: Accelerate
Goal: Improve digestion, initiate fat burn/discourage fat storage
Rate of Weight Loss*: 5-10% of total body weight; 10-20 pounds
- Breakfast: Plain low-fat yogurt with fresh berries, green tea
- Lunch: Green salad with a variety of vegetables like tomato and cucumber with a homemade vinaigrette, green tea
- Dinner: Grilled salmon, choice of raw or steamed vegetables, green tea
- Snacks: Sugar-free fruit-flavored yogurt, choice of one fruit
Cycle 2: Activate
Goal: Rest the metabolism, stimulate fat burn
Rate of Weight Loss*: Half of cycle 1; 5-10 pounds
- Breakfast: Scrambled egg whites, half grapefruit or in-season fruit, green tea
- Lunch: Baby spinach salad with tomatoes and feta and homemade vinaigrette, green tea
- Dinner: Grilled turkey patties, side salad, green tea
- Snacks: Fresh berries, plain low-fat yogurt
Cycle 3: Achieve
Goal: Nurture healthy eating habits, reintroduce more foods, move closer to goal weight
Rate of Weight Loss*: Half of cycle 2; 2.5-5 pounds
- Breakfast: High-fiber cereal with skim milk, fresh berries, green tea
- Lunch: Whole-wheat pita with lettuce, tomoato, feta cheese, Italian dressing; baby carrots; green tea
- Dinner: Barbecued boneless chicken breast, steamed vegetables like asparagus or broccoli, green tea
- Snacks: choice of one fruit, Skinny Cow ice cream sandwich
Cycle 4: Arrive
Goal: Maintain goal weight
Brunch: Blueberry waffles with syrup, turkey sausage, orange juice Dinner: Grilled chicken breast, steam broccoli, green tea Snacks: Sugar-free fruit-flavored yogurt, raw baby carrots
- These rates of weight loss were determined during an interview with Dr. Mike Moreno in 2011. This is the amount of weight he says you could safely lose within each cycle. Pounds lost are based on a 200-pound person. The industry standard rate of weight loss is 1-2 pounds per week.
17 Day Diet Pros
- Encourages the intake of a variety of unprocessed, natural foods.
- Carbohydrate and calorie cycling may help to accelerate the rate of weight loss.
- Variety in the 17 Day Diet structure can help to maintain motivation and prevent boredom.
- An eating plan is simple to understand.
- Includes meal plans and recipes.
- An exercise program is short and effective.
- Home delivery meals are available for an additional cost.
- Includes tips for avoiding holiday weight gain.
17 Day Diet Cons
- Not suitable for Type I Diabetics.
- Calorie intake may be too low for physically active dieters.
- Irregular eating patterns have the potential to trigger disordered eating in susceptible individuals.
- Does not adequately address the psychological factors required for successful weight loss over the long term.
Costs and Expenses
The 17 Day Diet retails for $26, the workbook is additional $16, and the cookbook is $26.
What Else You Should Know
Support: There’s a 17 Day Diet app, which includes recipes and a tool to check whether a food is allowed. A number of online support communities also exist, and the TV show The Doctors has even created an online community called the 17 Day Diet Club. 17 day diet, 17 day diet recipes, 17 day diet cycle, 17 day diet reviews, 17 day diet food list, 17 day diet meal plan
Whether it revs up your metabolism or not, the 17 Day Diet provides a framework of diet and exercise that may help you shed the pounds. Even at its most restrictive phase, the plan allows enough calories to provide an interesting and balanced diet. And it lets you add activity gradually until you meet or exceed the amount recommended by the American Heart Association and most health experts. The maintenance phase and strong support communities should help to reinforce long-term success.
If you eat out a lot, are on the road, or have a very busy schedule, it may be challenging to find the time needed to shop for and prepare these meals. You will need to be highly motivated. Also, you will be spending money on probiotics that may not really be helping you meet your nutrition and fitness goals.