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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 4 of 5, 95 total comments)


Myself and my husband are doing this diet and I have lost 20lbs since beginning of January. We did go off the diet around Valentines and a day or two during the months. But it works. I am interested in hearing ideas for the 2 weeks off. Like daily meal plans and/or recipes.

posted Mar 14th, 2010 5:29 pm


Myself and my husband are doing this diet and I have lost 20lbs since beginning of January. We did go off the diet around Valentines and a day or two during the months. But it works. I am interested in hearing ideas for the 2 weeks off. Like daily meal plans and/or recipes.

posted Mar 14th, 2010 5:28 pm

Angelia Evans

I'm officially starting today. I work out during the week, so i hope I get similar results. I'm 5'7 and weigh about 180...I need to get to 140-150 by June 15th. Will it happen?

posted Feb 16th, 2010 1:58 pm


I started on this diet today. I am really hoping for some massive results. I am 5ft6" and weigh 172 pounds. My ideal weight would be 143 pounds. What can i substitute protein bread for as I come from a country that lacks in that sort of thing.

posted Feb 8th, 2010 2:53 am


Hi well done!!! have not lost any more weight but have not gained either. Have stopped and started but am going to be strict with myself now!!! get back to ya in a few weeks.

posted Jan 26th, 2010 2:08 pm


I am going to try this.........we shall see.

posted Jan 21st, 2010 9:16 am


Hi Sarah the diet is excellent i tried the two weeks menu and i lost 13 pounds i started 173 and now i am 162......Im gonna give you my update in one month, i wish you good luck and also post your update too!!!! :-)

posted Jan 18th, 2010 5:12 pm


Hi i know this is a bit later than two weeks but this diet is great!! i lost just over 1/2 a stone and that was just within a week of being consistant with this diet. Think i have gained a pound or two over christmas but am ready and raring to go with the diet. Am wanting to lose 1 1/2 stone by mid febuary, let the diet begin lol. Gud luck Gabi post a note to let me know how you get on.

posted Dec 29th, 2009 5:05 am


i gonna give it a try to this diet, i haved tried them all already and anything seens to work for me!!!!!!!This is my last chance. Wish mi good luck!

posted Dec 10th, 2009 9:26 am


Dunno if this works as yet, as this is my first day on the diet. Am really excited after reading all of the comments from you guys. will post ya all another note in two weeks and post the results mwa keep it up guys

posted Dec 7th, 2009 1:55 pm


I have used this diet successfully after the birth of each of three children. It is easy to follow - not much measuring or counting. There is a lot of pancreatic problems in my family but this diet actually helped me with my problems with sugars and starches. You can make small substitutes like that but be careful. I eat an apple instead of grapefruit. Also it works so well that it is tempting to keep going after 2 weeks instead of switching to the Keep Trim part of the plan - but you should really follow the Keep Trim program- it's very very important for keeping the weight off with better lifetime habits.

posted Nov 15th, 2009 5:57 pm

laurita gonzalez


posted Oct 26th, 2009 7:12 pm


I tried this diet but could only do it for 3 days! I am a very active person and was looking to not only lose wieght but to tone my body. The limited calories did not allow me to work out as vigorously as I am use to and I love to do. For me, this is just another fad diet, and anyone who tries this is looking for a miracle & are just yo-yo dieting. My respects to all who do like this diet. But in my opinion, this is not a lifestyle, how can you live the rest of your life with this diet? What about any parties, family gatherings... just life itself? Either way, I applaude all of you who had results & have kept off the weight. Personally, I have had excellent results with a lifestyle change ... I have followed the "Eat Clean Diet" by Tosca Reno. To me, it makes more sense, and it is not sooo restricted. I am a food lover and this lifestyle allows me to enjoy food to its fullest, I have reached my goal weght & dont feel deprived in any way! Plus, I have all the energy to work out hard and still have energy left over to be a mom of two, wife and a full time worker.

My main issue with this diet was that I had headaches all day, it made me irritable, I was starving beyond belief and the carrot snacks were just not cutting it, I also had no energy. I just couldnt see my entire life that way,,,, in a dark cloud.

I know that many will not agree with me but this is only my opinion. I respect the opinions of others. Good luck to all.

posted Oct 16th, 2009 1:46 am


ive been on the diet 8days now and have lost 10pounds, i have really seen a change in my body and love the results. I would recommend trying it whats their to lose Nothing

posted Oct 4th, 2009 2:18 am


I'm going to try this...
Hope it Does Goo = )

posted Sep 30th, 2009 11:46 am


I Love This Solution This Really Changed me. I Recomand This soultion To any trying to find a Quick, Fast way to lose Wait!
Thank You Scarsdale

posted Sep 30th, 2009 11:44 am


to kelly the firrst comment -= try having soem ginger - its supposed to really help with the moion sickness and also 1 cup of popcorn - is that before or after its made? cos if its enough i would gladly have that as a subsitute meal - i love popcorn!

posted Apr 2nd, 2009 4:35 pm


Usually if you are able to follow the diet strictly, it is indeed a successful one. When my mom was 40 she began the diet and stuck to it religiously. In the first month she lost 22lbs (with the doctor watching her carefully, of course.) She spent the entire summer swimming for her exercise, and at the end lost a total of 76lbs.

Keep in mind, you must also take into account your metabolism. I fully agree that it is a successful diet, but unfortunately I personally haven't been able to stick to it. If I commute on an empty stomach I become violently ill, and the lack of fiber tends to cause terrible constipation within two days. I was able to do it about 8 years ago, but with some minor adjustments (which sometimes boost the weight loss.) The following tweaks are the ones I found the most helpful:

2 slices bread, no spread, OR 1 slice with spread.

Grapefruit juice instead of an actual grapefruit (particularly helpful in getting more into you. The citric acid is a major fat burner, and you can drink it throughout the day.)

1 cup of popcorn a week (I did this, and the day I ate it was always the day I lost the most weight that week.)

I am going to give the diet another shot starting tomorrow, but adding a couple more tweaks to deal with the car sickness. Hopefully they will help without impacting the results drastically.

In the mean time, I strongly recommend this diet. It is without a doubt difficult at first, but it is well worth it.

NOTE!!!!! You should consult a doctor before starting, ESPECIALLY if you are diabetic or have any other health issues that are affected directly by diet.

posted Mar 28th, 2009 8:03 pm


to those who it has worked you use protein bread or whole wheat? do you keep it to one slice for bkft or 2? and do you allow yourself a whole grapefruit instead of 1/2? I'm starting the diet today...last time I was on it was abour 18 years used to wiork, but I'm a lot heavier now after 2 kids, age 44, etc. But I'm hoping it will be a good kick start....pls give me encouragement..Thanks!

posted Mar 12th, 2009 8:08 am

rachel o9

ive been thinking of doing this diet but im worried that ill notbe able to stick to it as ive got 4 small kids to look after any advice would be great

posted Mar 10th, 2009 7:04 am


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