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Scarsdale Diet

A world-reknowned program since the 1970s.

BACKGROUND Start the Diet Now Advertisement

Created in the 1970s by Dr. Herman Tarnower, the Scarsdale Diet is named for the town in New York in which Dr. Tarnower conducted his thriving medical practice, before meeting his untimely death by the hands of his long-time lover, Jean Harris. As a medical doctor specializing in treating obesity, Dr. Tarnower combined the medical phenomenon of ketosis, and its ability to generate weight loss, with an MD-designed food program that causes ketosis in otherwise healthy individuals.

Ketosis, or the production of excess Ketones, is described as producing the residual "ashes" or "embers" of fat-burning. Ketosis is generally a bad thing, causing both Alcoholics and Diabetics to lose fat rapidly as an unwanted side-effect of the disease. One can check if the body is engaged in Ketosis by measuring Ketones in the urine, though it should be noted that the Ketosis generated by the Scarsdale diet is generally at lower levels than those with illness-induced Ketosis.

The Scarsdale Diet is reknowned the world over for its rapid weight loss results, generally 1 pound per day. Some users boast a loss of 20 pounds in 14 days, though they readily admit that a significant part of that is water loss and readily returns once the diet is discontinued.

  • The Scarsdale Diet has a long-running history of success all over the world
  • The high protein component of the program resonates strongly with those who have had success with off-shoot programs such as Atkins
  • Menu plan is very specific, making it easy for the user to follow
  • Rapid weight loss is ideal for someone preparing for a vacation, wedding, or other special event in which appearance is important
  • Easy to dine out
  • The calorie level of 700 to 1000 calories is too low for even a moderately active individual
  • Many users complain of fatigue and extreme hunger
  • The restrictive nature of The Scarsdale Diet could be too excessive for many, and leaves little room for error or variation
  • No maintenance plan means the weight can quickly return when you abandon the diet

A sample day on The Scarsdale Diet looks like this:


  • 1/2 grapefruit
  • slice of wholemeal toast (no spreads or butter)
  • coffee (no sugar or milk)


  • canned tuna
  • salad with oil-free dressing
  • coffee


  • roast lamb (with all visible fat removed)
  • salad with lemon and vinegar dressing
  • coffee


  • Water
  • Diet drinks
  • Tea
  • Soda water

The program's devotees have created a number of support websites, which include some fun, easy recipes that the whole family will enjoy. In addition, the unlimited nature of lean meat and plain vegetables, especially at dinner, makes it easy to dine out while still staying true to program.


Never discussed, though that is a good thing, as the low-calorie nature of the program lends itself ideally to the individual that engages in little to no activity, other than some light gardening or housekeeping. Think "ladies who lunch" rather than "soccer mom who actually plays soccer."


The Scarsdale Diet, and its companion program the "Keep-Trim" Diet, is one that will never lose its style or place in dieting history. While Ketosis is best when medically supervised, it is not uncommon to find a container of Ketostix in the medicine chest of most American households.

In addition, high protein menu programs provide energy and satisfaction, from a sensory perspective, as well as making us feel full. Potential digestive disturbances aside, The Scarsdale Diet, doesn't feel like a restrictive diet at all, but rather permission to be diligent about food intake.

Common Misspellings

scarsdale diet, TSD, scarsdial diet, keep trim diet, scaresdale diet, scarsdale deit

Related Diets: Atkins Advantage, Atkins Diet, High Protein Diet, Low-Carb Diet

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(Page 1 of 5, 87 total comments)


I started that diet 12 days ago and, I only lost 4 pounds. I don't understand how one person can loose all that weight in 2 days and for me, 12 days. I respect everything that they say to do. I dont add anything and even sometime I dont finish my plate. Why is that diet not working as well for me? Does somebody know ? Thank's

posted Mar 7th, 2014 9:21 pm


I am starting this program today. I used it many years ago with great success. Now in my 50s, dealing with menopause, diabetes and weight gain associated with that. The article states that there is no maintenance. That is inaccurate. The second two weeks is the same diet with some things added in to up the calorie intake and to make it, in my opinion, a great way to eat for the rest of your life. All food groups are represented in a balanced way. However, I would not recommend this plan to someone who is very active, runners, athletes. The calorie count is too low.

posted Jan 8th, 2014 10:10 am

Leigh-anne Smith

I did this diet before I got married and just loved it, that was 22 years ago. I lost the diet in the move and have just found it again. Myself and a friend are starting it again tomorrow and im alittle excited about it. Last time I lost 20 kilos.

posted Jan 4th, 2014 11:11 pm


I started this diet three days ago out of curiosity, and so far I have lost 3 pounds. I have tried so many different diets that I thought what do I have to loose. So far it is bearable, and I do have moments of hunger
but I have used coffee blended with freshly ground mint and it helps a great deal. I am determined to see this to the 14 days .

posted Aug 29th, 2013 7:36 pm


I started this diet yesterday and I hope to lose 40lbs altogether. I did with my mum which is great and the first day I was starving but today my stomach has adjusted! I have been trying to lose weight for the last two years and after reading all these posts I feel truly inspired! I am so excited about this!! Is there any blogs where people on the scarsdale diet post receipes?

posted Aug 21st, 2013 8:26 pm


Great diet !

posted Jul 12th, 2013 2:55 pm


I started this diet 9 days ago, and Im not going to lie, in the beginning it was hard, and I did feel hungry, but stick to it guys! I have documented my whole journey on my blog:, which I initially started for a varsity project, but have had such fantastic results, I want to share it and hopefully inspire people!
I have lost almost 3kg already :D which is very exciting!

Good luck guys!

posted Apr 24th, 2013 6:12 am


I started the diet yesterday, weighing 161 at 5ft. I've lost 3 pounds so far. Going to keep at it! Will report back at the end of 2 weeks.

posted Feb 25th, 2013 12:09 pm


Hi - Just started yesterday - Have done this diet a long time ago and was very successful lost 68 pounds. I have packed a few pounds on in the past 10 years and just thought I would go back to it. I need to loose 40 pounds - real easy to let it accumulate over the years should have kept it up but thought like most of us that its just 3 pounds it will work its self off not true lol lol - I am down 3 pounds today - starting day 2. Will keep you updated. This is great to be able to post and get it out here. Talk to you later.

posted Jan 22nd, 2013 8:40 pm

Ada Milanovici

Excellent Diet!

posted Nov 18th, 2012 12:05 pm


Hi, I am on day 8 of the Scarsdale Diet and lost 7 lbs! This is really the only diet that makes sense to me and is easy to do, I especially like that breakfast is the same every day. No sugar is a blessing for me anyway, I feel so much more energetic and my belly is FLAT FLAT finally :-) Sometime in the 2nd week I usually lose all my sweet/sugar cravings and it can last for months. This time I plan to alternate 2weeks diet with 2 weeks of Keep Trim 3 times so that I am in good shape in the end of August. I do not feel deprived at all, since it says "eat all you want". This time I am more flexible, so I add 2% milk to my morning coffee every other day, and if I get fed up with celery and baby carrots - I make myself another big salad as a snack I also add a teaspoon of olive oil to my salads once in a while. Maybe it slows down my weight loss a bit, but sometimes I am in this TOTALLY DEVOTED DIETING MOOD and this time I lack some of the required 100% of determination, so I do bend some rules. I am losing weight regardless. Better to do something than nothing. Any progress is good. Greetings to all other Scarsdale dieters! We can do it!

posted Jun 7th, 2012 3:27 am


This diet is great! I lost 25 pounds on this diet in total. It teaches good dietary habits that stick! The food is great and you can doll anything up with awesome spices!

It's been about a year since I lost all the weight and I've only gained 5 pounds back. I still stick to what I've learned - but let myself have treats (you have to allow for some food fun or else you will go crazy)

As long as you stick to a work out routine, be mindful of the Keep Trim plan and drink lots of water ... you should be able to maintain your initial weight loss after you take a good chunk of the weight off. HIGHLY RECOMMEND!

It's also best to do it with a buddy. My mom and I did it together. Hope this helps! :)

posted Mar 1st, 2012 9:35 pm



Hi Im thinking of starting this diet, I'd like to lose 40lb, in your post you mentioned that you lost ' roughly 81lb in 4 months', Congrats!
I was just wondering if Its possible for me to achieve my goal in a similar amount of time, if I stick to the Scarsdale diet.
Thanks :)

posted Jan 1st, 2012 5:31 am


This diet is great. Im a teenager and Ive been on it for about a week now and I lost 7 pounds so far. Its super easy to follow and the foods great.
I reccomend this diet to anyone who wants to loose weight generally quickly and can stay on a diet for 2 weeks

posted Dec 19th, 2011 8:57 pm


This diet is amazing. I don't know why they listed restrictive as a con... We eal a lot of food. The food is different everyday... And you are able too find the diet itself online for FREE! I have lost a total of 81 lbs in roughly 4 months. I do not recommend heavy workouts on this diet because it just isn't necessary. I just had to throw away every piece of clothing I owned. I am so happy. I have done EVERY diet in the past and I really cannot stress enough how easy the plan is. It takes some meal preparation but It isn't hard. I mean I hate cooking... But this is super easy. No membership fees... No weekly weigh ins.. However I weigh myself in front of my mon to keep me honest.. :) I have 60 more lbs to go and if will be at my goal! I'm thinking another 4 months!!!! Yay!

posted Dec 7th, 2011 5:29 am


Has anyone else wanted to lose this much and how long did it take u? Also ive read that u should I just found this diet (Scarsdale Diet) and I wish I had found it sooner. I need/want to lose atleast 50-60lbs. I had my son and the weight just stayed and Ive had no energy so now im sick of always feeling tired. Going to start this soon. But had a couple questions first!!

posted Nov 20th, 2011 10:19 pm


I work out for at least an hour everyday, i.e. a workout video, running or the elliptical. Will I still be able to manage this regiment with this diet as far as energy goes?

posted Nov 7th, 2011 3:21 am


This is the only diet that has ever worked for me. Food is healthy, and quantities are not restricted. Just wished the good doctor was around sure he would have modified it to move with the times. I repeat the days I like best, like the hamburger night

posted Oct 29th, 2011 11:49 am


i started this diet 3 days ago and i have lost one pound each day! i will let everybody knows how it was at the end of the 2 weeks. :)

posted Sep 28th, 2011 6:47 pm


I LOVED IT!!This Diet really does work. If you are like one of those people that SWEAR the followed the diet word for word and didn't see results, you #1 need to go see a DR. because you might have a thyroid that needs to be checked or #2 Even when you were told to eat as much as you wanted, you took it literally. What it really means (if you read the book) EAT UNTIL YOU ARE SATISFIED Almost full. Not to the point you have to loosen your belt and undo your top button. I lost 13 pounds every cycle.

posted Aug 29th, 2011 3:11 am


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