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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 3 of 5, 95 total comments)



This diet WORKS. I have been on it a couple of times in the past 25 years and I am not the type of person that can really stick to a diet. The diet suggests that you weigh yourself everyday. The first day you loose 3 pounds ( water weight) after the first day, you are supposed to loose a pound a day. Keeping a calendar and posting to it everyday does keep you motivated. I found it to be a very healthy diet as well as diverse. You can go to any ethnic restaurant and choose something on the menu that will be safe. Whether you are a vegetarian or a meat eater you can still loose the weight relatively quickly.

posted Feb 6th, 2011 4:12 am


Exercise is mentioned. A daily two mile walk is suggested.

posted Feb 2nd, 2011 12:49 am



I've used the Scarsdale Diet several times over the years losing anywhere from 13 to 18 lbs. in the two weeks of the diet. Today I'm on my fourth day and have lost nearly six lbs. It's always worked well for me but I do suggest you get the book by Dr. Tarnower. It tells you what substitutions are allowed and even has menus and recipes for the Keep-Trim Diets (Gourmet, International, Vegetarian, etc.) It's easy to find the book online (I just bought one for a friend for 99 cents from an online bookseller).

posted Jan 6th, 2011 7:00 pm


today12-13-10 is my first day on this diet
hope it works before xmas

posted Dec 13th, 2010 2:29 pm



Well, after 8 days of doing this diet, strictly, I've lost 1kg...about 2 pounds I guess. I am completely over it, but will persist, because it has worked for me about 20 years ago, and I'm determined to look good for swimming!! Btw, I was 80 kgs, now 79 kgs...: >(

posted Nov 9th, 2010 12:58 am



today is my day one this time i'm going for the full two weeks

posted Oct 1st, 2010 1:04 pm



Aiming to lose one pound per day for one week using the Scarsdale diet menu, tried Atkins but the food seemed really unhealthy. Scarsdale sounds much better. Any advice welcome.

posted Sep 25th, 2010 2:45 am



i so want to try this diet again but without the greapfruit and coffe for the morning i think i will take intead tea and a apple, does anyone knows if it's gonna make a difference?

posted Sep 12th, 2010 3:40 pm



This diet sounds great.I have got to give it a go. i want to lose at least 10lb in two weeks for my holidays.keep you posted.

posted Jul 26th, 2010 5:16 am


What can you substitute for grapefruit and coffee? I don't really care for grapefruit and the last time I drank coffee it gave me some really nasty heartburn. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated :).

posted Jul 17th, 2010 10:37 pm



I've been using this diet off and on since the 70s! It is my favorite ever diet. It REALLY works, and I seldom feel hungry. We can do ANYTHING for 2 weeks! I don't weigh myself until day 3 or 4, and am always happy to see at least 5 pounds gone in that short a time. I've still got my dog-eared copy of the book, though it's like my 3rd copy.

posted Jul 3rd, 2010 5:04 pm


I'm really motivated to start this diet by all the comments posted. I am 19yo my bday is in 14 days and since I started college I mysteriously gained a whopping 40lb. I am only 5' 4" and I weigh 180 I look like I weigh 160 "they" say but evn thts toooo much. I have bought pills, committed to working out which didnt quite work out for more than a week :-/, I tried "thinking positive" (smh what a waste of 4 mins) I'm going to do this!

Im starting tmaro! I hope to lose 12lb by June 20th:-) and my ideal weight is 140lb. which I really pray I get reach by August so that I can go to my cousins wedding in Jamaica. I just want to feel good in my skin again!


posted Jun 6th, 2010 11:40 pm


Hi Sophie
Trying to get back on that diet. Did it years ago and it is fantastic. I lost 20 in two weeks and felt like I had loads of energy and I kept it off as well until I went back on the chocolate. Trying to start again and remind myself of how it felt then and I want to feel that again.

posted Jun 5th, 2010 9:15 pm



Started on Monday 05/24 with 194.8 pounds today is 05/26 I am down 5 pounds. 189.8. Today I was not hungry at all...I believe that the diet is not hard..It just to eat more healthy...Hopefully I can be at 145 by September.

posted May 26th, 2010 12:39 pm



went on this diet a few years ago and lost quite a lot of weight, now gonna try it again in the hope of losing excess baby weight! dreading it!!

posted May 24th, 2010 5:18 pm


Trying every single diet ever ever...This is my last resource..I need to lose 40 pounds...I will give everything to lose it..Weigh today 194...

posted May 24th, 2010 1:05 pm


Eraa you can do it, and yes you can also use that kind of protein, i want to do this diet again....the first time it worked out for me

posted May 7th, 2010 7:10 pm


I want to try this after hearing all the positive reviews...but I only eat chicken, fish, and turkey. Can I substitute? If so..please help! I NEED to lose 16 pounds in 21 days.

posted May 4th, 2010 12:13 am



Loved this diet, always full and easy to have substitutions.

posted Apr 26th, 2010 10:47 pm



I love this plan. If you go on this plan, and input your daily food into www.fitday.com, you'll see at the bottom of the page a pie chart. If you follow the diet to the rule, you will eat 50% complex carbs, 25% protein, and 25% fat each day. According to Dr. Oz, that is what the human body needs each day for optimal health. I love this plan. I have hypothyroidism, and am doing this plan along with taking the amino acid, L-Tyrosine, $2.50 per bottle at Vitacost.com, or any online store. I have lost 8.5 lbs in the last 6 days. I have used this plan after the birth of my children, two. For the past 4 years, I haven't been able to budge the weight that has slowly crept up, due to my thyroid. But I have hit the jackpot with this amino acid and Scarsdale combined! It works wonders! The L-Tyrosine gives you energy, stumps your appetite, and helps your body burn fat! Google it and read about it. I came upon it by accident, as I've always treated my thyroid naturally. I also take kelp tablets daily, 4.

posted Apr 16th, 2010 6:41 pm


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