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Scarsdale Diet

A world-reknowned program since the 1970s.

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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.

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  • 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

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(Page 2 of 5, 95 total comments)




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



I did this diet in 2010 and lost 10lbs in the two weeks and no exercise, i then ate alot of crap afterwards but the weight didnt pile straight back on it did take time so now 2011 and im back on the diet started yesterday and today im down 4.1lbs i was 156.7 and today 152.6 but this time im going to do a little exercise along with it. Deffinately give it a try what is two weeks its not alot when you could lose alot more weight than you would usually.

posted Aug 22nd, 2011 11:05 pm


Today is 8/9/11 and I will be starting the diet tomorrow. I hope it works for me because I have read good things about it. I will post and let y'all know how it goes.

posted Aug 9th, 2011 11:48 am

Marie Griffith

Just started today on the scarsdale diet. Hope to do it for 14 days.

posted Aug 3rd, 2011 1:04 pm



I started this diet yesterday weighing in at 182lbs!! i'm only 5 foot 4 inches so I am desperate to try anything. I am sticking to it and was down 2lbs this morning. I want to lose 7lbs by Friday week! Enjoyed todays food. Bit nervous about the next few days as I am away all day tomorrow and going out for dinner thurs night. I will post back with my progress (hopefully!!)

posted Jul 19th, 2011 5:50 pm


@ Jenny... How can you expect to loose weight in less than 24 hours??? There is something call liposuction for that! And not, it wasn't the scale, you'll ALWAYS weight less in the morning, A-L-W-A-Y-S.

posted Jul 19th, 2011 12:25 am



weighed myself this morning (frist day of it)...11.2... ate my grapefruit and weighed myself at the end of the day after only eating 3 slices of cold ham, i had put on 4 pounds?
might have just been the scales but that doesnt sound right?....

posted Jul 12th, 2011 11:36 am



is there something I can substitute for the bread? And a way to get more calcium on it?

posted Jun 11th, 2011 2:27 pm


did anyone recently tried this diet?

posted Apr 8th, 2011 11:14 am



After 2 weeks I have lost a total equal amount of 14 pounds (about a pound a day) and I have felt better! That was even with cheating a little and not doing too much exercise. I am going to use these next 2 weeks to do the grapefruit diet as I don't want to go off with no eating plan (my favorite part of this diet) and when I get closer to my goal weight I am going to do the keep trim weeks. But anyway I am using these next 2 weeks to make an organized exercise plan and use these two weeks to stick to it so when I get back on SMD I am good for a lot more weight lose! I didn't feel tired on the diet and what has helped me a lot was I found an SMD group on yahoo that has given me some great friends to lean on! Good luck to those that are going to try it! Email with questions!

posted Feb 26th, 2011 1:49 pm



I just started this diet today. I have only eaten what they have told me to and I don't think that it's that unhealthy. I have been logging EVERYTHING into my IPOD and it came out that I ate 1594 calories (71% protein, 15% fat, and 14% carbs). I feel very satisfied right now in fat I LOVED the dinner- broiled fish (with lemon/pepper seasoning), 4 cups salad, a squeeze of lemon as dressing and it was VERY yummy- PLUS I got to eat the bread and a nice cup of minty tea YUMMY I might make this a regular dinner even after the diet! And tomorrow while I am running around doing errands I will have a healthy fruit salad lunch to munch on while out and about!

posted Feb 12th, 2011 11:34 pm



I am starting this diet on Sunday after i do 2 days of the Hollywood diet to kick everything off. I would like to stay in communication with someone though while doing this as i do not have that much support at home. But all of these posts are really old. if someone wants to try it please just post here and we can be scarsdale diet buddies =)

posted Feb 10th, 2011 6:26 pm


I stayed on it religously and lost one pound in two weeks...

posted Feb 7th, 2011 6:27 pm


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