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Dr. Phil's 20/20 Diet

Dr. Phil's 20/20 Diet Review: Does it Work?

Dr. Phil's newest prescription could turn your weight loss vision into reality.

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What is it?

Dr. Phil’s 20/20 Diet is a weight loss diet offering food and dieting tips, as well as claimed results for those who have found it impossible to lose weight. The diet suggests 20 different foods which are said to help increase calorie burning.

The diet also is emphasized to be a scientific way to lose weight. It promises behavioral, cognitive, and behavioral tools. It’s claimed to have been formulated using cutting edge science for weight loss. This review will go over customer reviews, what pros and cons the diet has, and whether or not weight loss is likely. The top rated diet was awarded to 18Shake Diet. It offers a potent metabolism booster and all natural meal replacement that users say helps with weight loss. Learn more about the 18Shake diet by following the link provided here.

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Dr. Phil’s 20/20 Diet Ingredients and Side Effects

There are no supplements or pre-packaged foods on this diet. It emphasizes selecting certain foods and it provides recipes. The diet is broken down into 3 different phases:

• Phase 1 (1-5 days) “Boost”: Four different meals are allowed, within 4 hours apart. This phase is to keep your metabolism going at a steady rate. You’re also only allowed to eat a few food options, known as the 20/20 foods which are:

•        Whey powder, eggs, rye, tofu, cod, mustard, olive oil, almonds, coconut oil, green tea, dried plums, chickpeas, apples, yogurt, prunes, leafy greens, raisins, lentils, peanut butter,  and pistachios.

There’s no information to back up the claim that these specific foods can help with raising metabolism. Though these can be healthy foods, there’s no reasoning as to why these specific foods were chosen.  It’s likely most of the weight loss is due to the lack of sodium and refined carbohydrates.

         • Phase 2: (6-10 days) “Sustain”: New foods as well as the one’s on the 20/20 plan are available. Every meal and snack has to have a minimum of 2 different 20/20 foods.

The new allowed foods are:

Tuna, chicken breast, brown rice, oats, blueberries carrots, tomatoes, and mushrooms.

The eating schedule stays the same, with 4 meals a day 4 hours apart.

One or two cheat meals are allowed per week.  The foods eaten can’t have more than 100 calories per serving. The kinds of foods suggested as a possibility are a 4 ounce glass of wine or 14 potato chips. Less restrictive options for weight loss are available via the top 10 list of diets.

         • Phase 3 (11-30 days) “Attain”: The same eating schedule is maintained, alongside new foods. A sample of the foods available includes:

• Potatoes, spinach, raspberries avocado, black beans, and quinoa.

If you haven’t hit your goal weight, it’s advised to repeat the 3 phases. Once the targeted weight loss is hit, maintenance of phase 3 is followed alongside following the eating and lifestyle tips.

The registered dietician Ashvini Mashru says:

“sticking to such a rigid meal plan-not to mention that whole eating every four hours thing-may be overwhelming for some”

She also adds that:

“There are no phases or end dates to healthy eating”

According to her the diet:

“has a start/stop date… instructs you to eat super-specific foods for a super –specific period of time is a red flag”

The diet focuses a lot on helping people make lifestyle changes, but there’s no proof that it’s truly supported by real science. It also makes general claims that are already known, such as limiting processed sugars, refined grains, full fat dairy, and processed foods.

A list of the top 10 best diet plans is featured in the link provided here.

The diet also contains the myth that eating more frequently will increase metabolism.  Examine.com has debunked this by saying:

“There is no evidence to support the idea that multiple meals increases metabolic rate”

Not only was there no benefit, but by eating more foods there was actually less of an increase:

“One recently published paper actually finds the opposite”

They also add that:

“Weight gain is due to caloric intake rather than frequency”

Therefore, a big part of D.Phil.’s 20/20 Diet is not backed by science. The diet claims they have used cutting edge science to come up with this weight loss plan, but it’s clear there are some mistakes.  The top 10 list of the best diets is featured when you click here.

EDITOR’S TIP: Combine this diet with a proven meal replacement such as 18 Shake for better results.

Dr. Phil’s 20/20 Diet Quality of Ingredients

The diet focuses on whole foods which are good, but there can be difficulty in people who have to cook every single meal. It’s especially hard since there are very limited food options. As you’ll see in the “Customer Opinions of Dr. Phil’s 20/20 Diet” section, it was incredibly difficult for people to follow the diets strict standards.

Especially in the beginning, only 20 foods are allowed. This can make it hard to continue to diet. There’s also no evidence that these allowed foods are any better at raising metabolism than others.  Without any proof, there’s no good reason to believe that the diet will be safe and effective.

The Price and Quality of Dr. Phil’s 20/20 Diet

The book itself sells for $26 on sites like Amazon.com. There’s also an optional app offered. Most of the price depends on the quality of foods chosen, since the recipes have to be cooked from foods found in grocery stores.

Some followers of the diet did mention that it was expensive to have to keep making dishes based off the allowed foods.

The top 10 list of the best diets is featured when you click this link.

Business of Dr. Phil’s 20/20 Diet

The creator of the book and diet is Dr. Phil McGraw. He is not a dietician but a psychologist, and there’s no information on how he discovered the 20 foods which are recommended for raising metabolism.

The Federal Trade Commission investigated him after he began to make weight loss claims about his weight loss products. This caused him to remove some brands form the market. The same brand that he pulled off the market was targeted in a lawsuit.

Dr. Phil paid $10.5 million to settle with customers who failed to lose weight. The brand claimed:

“contain scientifically researched levels of ingredient that can help you change your behavior to take control of your weight”

These exaggerated claims were since pulled. It’s now known that there are claimed weight loss solutions from Dr. Phil which have been shown to be promoted with exaggerated and unproven claims.

See which diets were ranked in the top 10 list featured here.

EDITOR’S TIP: The top 10 list of the best diets is available here.

Customer Opinions of Dr. Phil’s 20/20 Diet

Here are some direct quotes from customer reviews:

“he doesn’t say anything any different than any of the other 100 plus so called diet/eating experts”

“This book is like a recipe for how to set yourself up for a really unhealthy relationship with food”

“Weird food combination and not very effective”

“It’s ridiculously had and requires too much effort to work in the long term”

A total of 898 people have criticized this diet on their Amazon.com page. Many said it was unrealistic; due to the food options being incredibly limited and being difficult to mix into a meal.

There were also concerns of people who felt that the diet didn’t offer any new information. Many of the suggestions and tips were obvious to people, since it excluded known unhealthy foods.

People mentioned the diet would be impossible to keep up with such a limited allowance for cheat foods, and very specific foods allowed.  Functional weight loss is possible; find the top 10 diets by clicking here.

Conclusion - Does Dr. Phil’s 20/20 Diet Work?

When deciding on a diet plan it’s important for it to be practical, customer approved, and backed by evidence. Dr. Phil’s 20/20 Diet claims to offer practical tips for weight loss, but many of these are already known. There are also suggestions which have been debunked, such as the claim that one has to eat every 4 hours to keep the metabolism going. This is not proven, and it makes the other claims seem questionable. It’s also suggested that certain foods will raise metabolism but no proof is offered. Lastly, many customers found it impossible to keep up with this diet.

The 2016 best diet of the year was found to be the 18Shake Diet. There are no dietary restrictions, and it promotes weight loss via a natural metabolism booster and high protein meal replacement. There’s only natural ingredients added, and it contains no stimulants or harsh additives. Learn more about the 18Shake Diet when you click the link here.

Many users have left testimonials and glowing reviews to showcase their weight loss results.

The 18Shake Diet’s natural diet pill and nutritionally balanced meal replacement are backed by a full 30 day money back guarantee. Returns are allowed for any reason within these 30 days. Discover more information by looking at the official website offered here.  

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User Feedback

(Page 1 of 2, 39 total comments)


I heard about this book during an episode of Dr. Phils last December 2015 and guess what, went to the book store the following days and to my surprise all the stores in my city with a population of over 1M were all sold out. So if this does not work, than why is everyone purchasing the book? To my surprise, I saw the episode last where someone lost 128 lbs so off I went to a book store and purchased it. I have nothing to lose but to gain in reading it. I look back today and calculated how many years I have been dieting - been exactly 29 years. I remember the neighbour walking up to me and said "you lost weight" while I was sitting on the porch in from of my house 29 yrs ago. It has cost me thousands of dollars in 29 years joining programs that once you are off of them, you gain all right back and more. Some I do not recall the programs as they closed but some were Dr. Bernstein, Weight Watchers, Herbal Magic, and more. I am excited to start reading it and start the plan as I am tired looking the way I do and would love to find a man to share my life again after being single for 9 years. If only man would judge themselves before looking at a women. Wish me luck!

posted Mar 9th, 2016 4:37 pm



I have lost 12.5 lbs in 5 weeks and am eating foods that I enjoy which make it easy to stick with the diet!

posted Feb 25th, 2016 8:30 pm



I am closing Day 5 and I feel like I can do it! I like the fact that the book says, "We can do anything in 5 days!", so I take it 5 days at a time.
I am no longer drinking coffee (for some reason I just don't want to) and I don't mind the food preparation.
I found out that I actually like Tofu, but very quickly realized I absolutely hate Lentils and Chickpeas. But that's ok, the book also says we can eat whatever we want several times, but I wanted to try everything at least once to discover. I found myself thinking how good the tofu was, so I had it again today. Also, I LOVE the shakes. Probably because I love Greek Yogurt and the fruit that goes in is a nice mix.
I can't wait to weigh myself tomorrow and start excercising!!!!
To the ones that say they are bored of the same foods ~ this is just a way to kick start a healthy way of eating. The book clearly states that after the 20 maintaining days, you can add in other foods! This just shows us how to put certain foods together that work. It also teaches us that food is meant for energy, and not just indulging everyday on whatever we want. It "makes our mind over", and once we do that it's easy! because it gets easier. Then we are happy and healthier for it. Hugzzz X
p.s. ever start something and for the first little while it seems like a task, but after awhile you feel like you're missing something if you don't do it? Or think of it this way....Imagine you've already started this journey a year ago...now it's a year later. Look at you now ;)

posted Feb 20th, 2016 1:01 am



I am 65 and 20 lbs overweight I have been on the diet for 1 week and have gained weight!!! I am following the

posted Feb 13th, 2016 7:27 pm


I love the Diet plan, I actually call it healthy choices. Started it 14 days ago sticking to it religiously. My husband and my self have lost 15 lbs each.we feel healthy, energetic and recently joined a gym, my husband has never been in a gym in his 53 years of life. Both of our attitudes have changed we are not grumpy. Our joints do not hurt and my skin is looking amazing. The food is not that bad I just chose to look at the long term goal of the weight loss and getting rid of the Junk food, coffee and sugars. One thing that helped us is I totally emptied my cupboards and refrigerator of all food. Got rid of it all condiments etc. have only the food in my house that is from the list. It helps so much knowing I can't go after chips, candy bars or dip. If you are determined and have a positive attitude this lifestyle change is do able. Yes there is lots of planning and food prep but I'm worth it.

posted Feb 1st, 2016 1:29 pm



I love the Diet plan, I actually call it healthy choices. Started it 14 days ago sticking to it religiously. My husband and my self have lost 15 lbs each.we feel healthy, energetic and recently joined a gym, my husband has never been in a gym in his 53 years of life. Both of our attitudes have changed we are not grumpy. Our joints do not hurt and my skin is looking amazing. The food is not that bad I just chose to look at the long term goal of the weight loss and getting rid of the Junk food, coffee and sugars. One thing that helped us is I totally emptied my cupboards and refrigerator of all food. Got rid of it all condiments etc. have only the food in my house that is from the list. It helps so much knowing I can't go after chips, candy bars or dip. If you are determined and have a positive attitude this lifestyle change is do able. Yes there is lots of planning and food prep but I'm worth it.

posted Feb 1st, 2016 1:28 pm

Sandra Fortier


Regarding Dr Phil's 20/20 diet Because I'm prone to have kidney stones, I shouldn't eat too much spinach or kale. What can I substitute for them and get same nutritional benefit?

posted Jan 16th, 2016 1:49 am


Don't get me wrong I love Dr. Phil.! Don't care for the 20/20 diet.

Call me a quiter, but I can't stand fish and basically that was the only decent choice (in phase one) to feed my family.

I am the main cooker in the house and had a hard time making 2 meals, but I did it for the 1st day. I probably could have still done the 2 meals, but just couldn't handle the lack of variety (and fish) in phase one.

When I put my mind to something I'm not a quiter, but just couldn't keep eating the same basic foods everyday for 5 days. Most of these foods were totally new to my stomach and I just felt tired. I will have to go back to an old diet that worked for me.

Sorry Dr. Phil!

posted Jan 14th, 2016 10:16 pm


So far on the 2nd day of the diet and finding it very hard to stick with. Phase 1 doesn't have many options. The apple PB smoothie is good, but not sure if I can make it the rest of the 3 days on the same basic stuff.

I do not like fish, but am trying for the sake of losing weight. About all of these foods are new to me and my stomach. Most are not real thrilling, but are edible.

The 1st day I had a headache because of withdrawals from my bad habits I'm guessing. But still not feeling like myself. Do not feel well enough to exercise. My stomach now makes lots of noises and not feeling the same.

Not sure I can stick with such a dramatic change in my diet, but I will keep trying for today and see what tomorrow holds.

posted Jan 14th, 2016 8:52 pm



I'm on day 16 and have lost 10lbs. I gained over 50 pounds in the past 7 years after starting menopause. I've tried several diets that I failed at. After reading the 20/20 Diet book, I changed my way of thinking. I'm not really on a "diet", I'm deciding to put better food into my body. This seemed rather silly, but strangely seems to be working.

posted Jan 14th, 2016 7:05 pm


I see in the management phase there is no beef or pork. I can't believe Dr Phil never has a steak, burger, ribs or hot dog especially being from Texas

posted Jan 13th, 2016 3:43 am



very disappointed! choices leave alot to be desired.
Fan of Dr. Phil, this is not his finest work.

posted Jan 13th, 2016 12:13 am

Agnes Bailes


Has anyon else had low blood sugar and have to eat healthy carbs (Fruits) to elevate bs readings. I am a diabetic and use an insulin pump. On phase1 I had 7 or 8 lows . I ate an apple, raisins, or dried plums. I lost 11 lbs.eating even though I had extra snacks to elevate bs readings. Now I am 2 days into phase 2. I can hardly wait to see how I am doing. So far I have not had to eat extra snacks because phase 2 has more carbs.

posted Jan 11th, 2016 2:10 am



This diet is the best. My husband lost 6 pound and I lost 4 pounds in a week. The weight loss will keep us motivated to continue. On Weight Watchers I lost 1/2 pound the first week. The next week the same. THANKS, Dr. Phil.

posted Jan 11th, 2016 1:14 am



How was your first day? I am getting ready to start my first day on this diet and I'm a little scared. Scared that I will fail, again. After reading this reviews I am pumped up and ready to go. I have 40 pounds to lose I know I can do it. Thank you to those of you who gave honest feedback and were inspiring to me!

posted Jan 6th, 2016 4:26 pm

Patricia Melnik

I am 68 years old and i have gained at least 50/60 pounds in 3 years...i have trouble bending and putting my shoes on.I am very active all day everyday. My whole body hurts. I need some help Where do i start?

posted Dec 30th, 2015 5:09 pm


It is a good book and diet. I like Dr. Phil!

posted Dec 28th, 2015 6:48 pm user comment


I really want to try this. I am in my late forties and really don't feel healthy and need to drop about 50 pounds. My problem is I do not like very many vegetables. Its a texture and flavor thing. So, how do I get through any diet without liking the veges??

posted Dec 28th, 2015 6:12 pm


The only review that is correct is from Ryan. Just as beachbody, the supplement industry and the idiot Dr. Oz who are all profiting from your lack of knowledge on changing your body composition. Dr. Phil is NOT an example of health and fitness and should rely on his own personal fitness accomplishments instead of relying on other people (who obviously wrote most of this book). Anyone with a brain should do some research and discover it's not about the types of foods you eat. You can lose body fat eating ANY type of food. You just need to be in a calorie deficit. PERIOD. Scientific fact. You can gain fat by overeating chicken breast and broccoli!!! Yes you should eat healthy choices but if you can live on any type of food you like and keep your caloric intake under control then you should. You need to love your fitness journey. If you want to go further and gain or maintain muscle you need to focus on your macronutrients (proteins, carbs and fats). Go and Google a TDEE (total daily energy expenditure) calculator and find out approx what your body burns in a day. With this calculator you can enter your estimated daily activity as well. Then take that number and reduce it by 500 calories per day. Go to "my fitness pal" and enter the foods you want to eat and it will give all the calorie info and multiple nutrient breakdown of each food you enter. You should only loose 1 to 2 pounds per week. If more than that or less adjust your calories up or down by 100 per day until you get it right. THERE IS NO STEPS, PHASES OR TIME LIMITS. It's for the rest of your life!!!!! Start there and LIFT WEIGHTS! Cardio or burst bs is not necessary. Men lift in the 4 to 6 rep range and women in the 8 to 12 rep range (unless you feel you are comfortable with 4-6 rep range). Contrary to what you may have heard high reps don't "tone" your muscles. Do 4-6 exercises 5 to 6 days a week. Should take 45 mins to an hour to complete. No one should follow "a diet". You have to enjoy what your doing or guess what? It WONT WORK. If there was a perfect "diet" for everyone then there would be no more books or programs. There is no need to spend a dime on DVDs, books, fad diets etc to change your body. You can find all the free info you need online. Just look to see what most speak about in common. The more people that discuss the same ways about changing body composition the more you know it works. Plus look at people that practice what they preach. Mike Matthews, Greg O'gallagher, Nate Myaki just to name a few. These guys have tons and tons of you tube videos and they get it. So please stop wasting your money on the next best thing. It doesn't exist. There are simple steps to follow and then YOU MUST DO IT. You can have all the knowledge in the world but it won't help if you don't get off your butt and do it. Make it enjoyable and correctly educate yourself so you can sustain the lifestyle. Email me for more info. sbelott@nycap.rr.com and I will answer any questions and put you on the correct path.

posted Dec 27th, 2015 6:46 pm


i lost 20lbs in 7 weeks on this diet, my cravings for sugar has gone, foods are great and easy to make.

posted Dec 23rd, 2015 11:10 am


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BACKGROUNDBACKGROUND Start the Diet Now Advertisement

Dr. Phil McGraw's newest book -- released January 2015 -- reveals what he sees as the secrets for putting an end to the diet roller coaster. In this no-nonsense, get-real style that he’s known for, he addresses the top seven roadblocks to weight loss by applying the latest research and theories that have developed since his last book, “The Ultimate Weight Solution."

The best selling author and TV personality covers strategies to help readers take control of their eating and exercise, and discusses topics such as foods that increase caloric burn or amplify the feeling of fullness.

Dr. Phil dictates 20 key foods (called the 20/20 foods) which studies have shown to help enhance thermogenesis, or caloric burn, and help satiety, or the feeling of fullness.

In addition to the nutritional focus, Dr. Phil utilizes his skills in well-rounded counseling to reveal his cognitive, behavioral, environmental, and social tools to finally "turn your weight loss vision into reality."

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  • Well-rounded holistic approach to weight loss with nutrition, exercise, and mental emotional support

  • Research-based principles

  • Lots of strategies to foil previous excuses like deprivation, cravings, boredom, etc.

  • Promotes intuition and following your own personal body signals to guide dietary choices

  • Covers portion control, tips for eating out, and how to splurge mindfully

  • Available in hardback, Kindle, and audiobook

  • Rigid structure may be off-putting for some

  • Requires lots of food preparation and meal planning

  • Book reads like a novel, not easy to flip through to find references nor read more on a given topic

  • Phase I recipe choices are extremely limited

  • Language may get a little too clinical and scientific for some


Dr. Phil's 20/20 Diet is built around three phases, which work together to help your body start fresh and learn new habits of eating.

Phase 1: The 5-Day Boost

  • Helps your body reset and find new dietary balance

  • Most important phase to jump-start the rest of the program and build motivation

  • Choose your meals and snacks from a list of simple recipes created by using only the 20/20 foods

  • 4meals/snacks per day, spaced about four hours apart

Primary Goal: Tune into your body's signals and learn how to distinguish between physical hunger, habit hunger, and mind hunger using Hunger and Fullness Scale.

Phase 2: The 5-Day Sustain

  • Build off your new positive pattern of eating certain foods and certain times

  • Expand on your progress by adding new foods into the mix

  • Each meal includes at least two 20/20 foods

  • Splurge Safely: you won’t be set up to rebel

Primary Goal: Recognize flavors better because the meal plans dont rely on salt, sugar and artificial sweeteners

Phase 3: The 20-Day Sustain

  • Continue eating two 20/20 foods per meal

  • Maintain steady weight loss, and trimming inches

  • Dine out without slowing progress using strategies outlined in book for eating at restaurants

  • Discover variety: enjoy more foods and flavors to inspire healthy food preferences


Exercise is an included component of the 20/20 Diet. Chapter 10 covers extensive academic research on the different theories on exercise, the types of exercise, and studies on perceived exertion (workout intensity).

Dr. Phil encourages regular physical activity, but is also very clear in promoting whatever amount of time fits into your schedule. He recommends shorter workouts to blast the system and boost metabolism as opposed to long, drawn-out cardio sessions. This is called his 30-Second Burn Burst Exercise Program.

Choose an activity that you enjoy like brisk walking, slow jogging, dancing, jumping jacks, etc. and after your warm up begin a 30-second blast of high intensity movements. Repeat 8 times and work up to 10-12 times over the program.

During Phase 1, Dr. Phil advises to get clearance from a doctor to exercise, and then if you can begin the 30-Second Burn Burst program. If you're not ready, use phase one to start increasing your steps per day and build up to start the program in phase 2.


Overall, Dr. Phil has created a multi-faceted approach to weight loss in a very no-nonsense, tough-love kind of way that is characteristic of him. There is a lot of good information about other factors to weight loss besides nutrition and exercise, such as tuning in to your own body signals of cravings, fullness, habits, environment, and mental/emotional support. This is what makes his 20/20 Diet approach stand out from many others.

Including more “20/20” foods overall would be beneficial for anyone, whether they are on a weight loss journey or not.

Common MisspellingsCommon Misspellings

Doctor Phil 20/20 Diet, 2020 Diet, Twenty Twenty Diet, Dr. Phil 20 Diet

Related Diets: The 17 Day Diet, Oprah Diet, Dr. Phils Ultimate Weight Solution, The Lean Belly Prescription, Bistro MD

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