Dr. Nowzaradan Diet | The Complete Guide for Weight Loss

This content has been Fact-Checked by a Certified Nutritionist in our Publishing Team. Learn more here. Always consult a medical professional before commencing any diet.

Dr. Nowzaradan diet plan is an effective dietary regime designed for significant weight loss.

It works through cutting calorie intake to 1200 calories per day, while maintaining a balanced diet that includes almost all food groups.

This diet is ideal for those who want to lose a lot of weight quickly.

Who is Dr. Nowzaradan?

Dr. Younan Nowzaradan, also known as Dr. Now, is a general and vascular surgeon in Texas.

His main specialty is weight loss surgeries. Dr. Nowzaradan is best known as the doctor from the TLC show “My 600-Lb Life”, a reality show following obese people on their road to weight-loss and health improvement.

Dr. Nowzaradan received his medical degree from the University of Tehran in 1970.

He has specialized in gastric bypass surgeries, gastric sleeve surgeries, lab band system and revision surgeries.

In addition to surgery, Dr. Nowzaradan has developed an effective weight-loss dietary regime for his patients.

His approach is focused on cutting calorie intake while maintaining a balanced diet. By following a 1200 calorie per day diet, you can lose a lot of weight over a relatively short time period.

At the same time, this low-calorie diet is rich in vitamins, proteins and other nutrients that your body needs to be healthy.

Dr. Nowzaradan Diet Plan & Benefits

Dr. Now’s diet plan is designed for significant weight loss through cutting calorie intake.

As such, it is best suited to people who are overweight or obese and want to lose a lot of weight. However, it is possible for everyone to follow this diet plan.

The key is to be careful about applying a new dietary regime because you want to cut calories while still maintaining a balanced diet.

The idea behind Dr. Now’s diet is to cut calorie intake to around 1200 calories per day, but without excluding any food groups except for sugar.

This diet is restrictive in calories but not in food groups.

The main benefit of this diet plan is effective weight loss. In short, this approach works. By cutting your calorie intake to 1200 calories per day, you burn stored fat.

This quickly leads to weight loss.

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Never go under 1200 calories a day

woman eating healthy salad

Dr. Now also advises people not to ever go under 1200 calories per day.

It is difficult to get all the nutrients you need if you go under 1200 calories. The goal is to have a balanced diet with all the important food groups present.

You might be hungry with his diet at the beginning until you become habituated with it, but also it should not endanger your health. This is why it’s important not to go under 1200 calories.

Dr. Now’s diet plan also encourages you to adopt new habits and approach to food. It will teach you how to control your portions and your calorie intake in the future.

Once you lose weight you will need to continue with a balanced, healthy diet to maintain your ideal weight.

Keep in mind that it is likely that you will be hungry with this diet, especially in the beginning.

To make it more bearable, it is recommended to consume allowed snacks between meals and to drink plenty of water.

Also, make sure to sparse your calories in a way that feels best for you.

For example, some people need a strong breakfast to help them go through the day. If this is you, have a stronger breakfast and a light lunch and dinner.

On the other hand, if you are a person who can skip breakfast easily but gets hungry in the evening, have a snack and a light lunch and save most of your calories for a stronger dinner.

Dr. Nowzaradan Diet Food List

healthy foods high in protein

The main philosophy behind Dr. Nowzaradan diet plan is to have a low-calorie yet balanced diet. As such, foods allowed on this diet will be low in calories and high in protein.

Carbs are not cut completely but it is important to eat only low-calorie carb foods. The only food group that is completely avoided is sugar.

Dr. Now emphasises the importance of protein in diet. So in his diet plan, men need about 6-8 ounces of protein per day while women need 4-6 ounces.

Protein sources can include low-fat meat, poultry, fish, seafood, dry beans, seeds and nuts with low calories. Avoid high saturated fat foods such as fatty beef and cream.

Another source of protein are eggs. However, they can be high in calories, so it is best to stick to egg whites or to eat eggs in moderation.

Check out key negative calorie foods that can help lose weight.

Here are the main foods allowed in Dr. Now’s diet:

1. Fruits and vegetables

fruit and vegetables

These are important sources of vitamins, fiber, minerals and other nutrients.

Both men and women need 5-9 servings of fruits and vegetables per day.

One serving of fruit is equivalent to one medium apple. For frozen and canned fruit, one serving is half cup. Check out fruits and vegetables serving sizes here.

Generally speaking, fruits are not forbidden as long as they are low in sugar and calories, such as:

  • melon
  • papaya
  • raspberries
  • strawberries
  • blackberries
  • starfruit
  • avocado
  • tomatoes
  • orange
  • grapefruit
  • peach
  • nectarine
  • kiwi

For vegetables, low-starch vegetables (leafy greens, broccoli) one serving is 1 cup, while for high-starch vegetables (potatoes, corn) one serving is half of a cup.

Sources of vegetables include:

  • spinach
  • carrots
  • broccoli
  • cauliflower
  • green beans
  • celery
  • zucchini
  • asparagus
  • cabbage
  • mushrooms
  • radish
  • eggplant
  • cucumber
  • watercress

Vegetables are not forbidden but do eat in moderation those high in calories and sugar (starchy vegetables) such as potatoes, beets and carrots..

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2. Grains & carbs

whole grain products

These are an important source of fiber and are needed for a balanced diet.

However, many grains are high in carbs, so you need to use them in moderation.

Men need 6-7 ounces of grains per day, while women need 5-6 ounces per day.

One ounce is equal to one serving. One serving is equal to one slice of bread and half of a cup of pasta and rice.

It is particularly important to eat whole grains (at least three servings per day), so read labels carefully.

Sources for grains include bread and pasta, brown rice, quinoa, amaranth and spelt products.

3. Dairy

This is an important source of calcium. Both men and women need 3 cups of dairy products daily.

The best choices are low-fat or no fat dairy products.

Good dairy sources include low-fat milk, low-fat yogurt, low fat cheese.

4. Fats and oils

selection of healthy fat sources

Men need from 6 to 7 teaspoons of fats and oils daily, while women need from 5 to 6 teaspoons.

It is important that fats and oils you consume are healthy ones.

Fish such as salmon provides plenty of those healthy oils and fats. On the other hand, make sure to reduce your consumption of saturated fats found in red meat and processed foods.

Most above mentioned foods already contain all the fats and oils needed for a healthy diet.

Sources of healthy fats and oils include fish, seeds and nuts. If you want to use oils, make sure to do it in moderation and use only vegetable oils, such as olive oil, peanut oil or sunflower oil.

5. Salt

Both men and women need less than 2300mg of salt per day. This is not much so you need to monitor your salt intake.

Less than one teaspoon of salt (less than 5g) includes about 2000mg of sodium.

Foods to Avoid

avoid sugar

Here are some of the main foods to avoid with Dr. Now’s diet plan:

1. Sugar

This includes white and brown sugar, honey, syrup and molasses.

According to Dr. Nowzaradan, sugar and sweets are excess calories that our body doesn’t need.

Men and women don’t need any sugar for a healthy, balanced diet.

As an option, opt for low-calorie natural and artificial sweeteners, but only in moderation.

2. Sweets

This includes sweets, candy, donuts, cake, pies, ice-cream, milkshakes, pastries, pudding, sweetened fruit, dried fruits, jellies, jams and chocolate.

Use only low-calorie sweeteners (and, possibly, artificial low-calorie sweeteners) but in moderation.

3. Packaged snacks

Potato chips, crackers.

4. High-calorie nuts and seeds

Peanuts (and peanut butter), popcorn, almonds, pistachios, cashews, sunflower seeds.

5. French fries

These should be avoided, along with other fried potato foods.

6. Fruit juice

Freshly-squeezed lemon juice is okay, but do not use other fruit juices.

7. Fruits high in sugar

This includes bananas, watermelons and cantaloupes.

8. Sodas

Sugary drinks, sodas, and energy drinks are to be avoided.

9. Cereals

This includes grits, packaged muesli/granola and any other packaged morning cereals.

10. Meal supplements and shakes

These often contain high amounts of sugar and carbs.

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Foods to Eat in Moderation

Rice and Pasta

1. Bread

Bread is allowed only in moderation.

2. Potatoes

They can be a good food source, but they are rich in carbs and sugar. Use them only in moderation. Avoid French fries and other fried potato foods.

3. Rice and pasta

Use them in moderation only.

Dr. Nowzaradan Diet Plan 1200 Calories for Weight Loss

Dr. Nowzaradan diet plan is designed around 1200 calories per day.

This dietary regime is made for weight loss while ensuring a balanced diet full of nutrients.

With his own patients, Dr. Now always customizes his diet plans. A diet is tailored to the person in question.

For each of the patients, Dr. Now creates an individual plan that is built around 1200 calories per day.

This is a very restrictive approach, but it is safe because it is overseen by a medical doctor.

If you wish to follow Dr. Nowzaradan diet plan, make sure to never go below 1200 calories per day and to include all food groups in your diet.

Finally, it is important to discuss your diet with a doctor. Your doctor can advise you on how to approach your diet and what might be dangerous for you to do.

Diet Plan

diet rules

The key behind Dr. Now’s diet are small portions, low-calorie foods and elimination of sugar.

With such an approach, it is possible to have 1200 calories per day divided between breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks.

Dr. Nowzaradan’s diet plan takes morning and afternoon snacks into account. These snacks can help you get through the day between larger meals.

There are no strict rules on how to divide calories per meal, just that the total daily intake should be 1200 calories.

This allows you to make meals according to your preferences. Those who prefer to skip their breakfast can have a small snack in the morning and a stronger lunch and dinner.

Those who need more calories in the morning can make a strong breakfast with a light lunch and dinner.

Track your calorie intake easily using apps such as MyFitnessPal or Lose It. Check out more free apps options here – Lose 5 Pounds in 2 Weeks Calculator

Breakfast Options:

Low-fat cheese such as cottage cheese.

Boiled eggs, beans, oatmeal, low-fat yogurt, turkey sausages.

Non-starchy vegetables are also a good choice.

You may also eat fresh fruits and a piece of wholegrain toast.

Healthy toast topping options: Avocado, avocado and tomato, cottage cheese and sliced tomatoes, turkey and cottage cheese.

Lunch Options:

Lean meat (cooked, baked, broiled or grilled), fish (salmon, white fish, tuna), salads without dressing (vinegar and a teaspoon of oil are fine), steamed vegetables or soups without noodles.

Dinner Options:

You can eat the same types of foods as those recommended for lunch. Remember that you can change it up and have a lighter or heavier meal at night.

A great dinner option is grilled fish or chicken breast with steamed vegetables and a fresh salad. Fresh and dry herbs are allowed for seasoning.

Another great option is vegetable soup with lentils.

For more healthy meal ideas, check out our 5 Day No Sugar Diet Plan.

Snack Options:

Vegetable sticks (example: carrot/cucumber/celery/tomatoes), a piece of fresh fruit, ½ cup of low-calorie nuts, a cup of low-calorie yogurt.

Hydration is very important for your well-being. It is best to drink water, but if this is too plain, you may consume coffee and tea, as long as it’s not in large quantities.

To make your water tasty, you can squeeze the lemon juice into a pitcher of water. Juice from one lemon is about 10 calories in total.

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Dr. Nowzaradan Diet Recipes

young woman looking recipe

Here are examples of Dr. Nowzaradan recipes you can use for weight loss:


Egg and Vegetable Omelette
Total Calories: 100-190 (depending on your choice of vegetables or mushrooms.)

1 medium-sized egg
1/2cup vegetables of your choice (spinach, chopped tomatoes, peppers; you can also use mushrooms)
1 tablespoon of olive oil
a pinch of salt


1. Chop vegetables. Make sure to remove excess water.
2. Whisk the egg in a bowl and add salt. Make sure that the egg white and yolk is well-mixed.
3. Heat a pan and add a teaspoon of olive oil.
4. Pour the mixture in a pan. Cook for 1 minute.
5. Add vegetables. You may want to mix them with the egg or keep it separate.
6. Cook for a few minutes. Serve.

Feta Toast

feta toastTotal calories: 172

1 slice whole-grain bread, toasted
1 tablespoon low-fat feta cheese
1 tablespoon low-fat cream cheese
2 cherry tomatoes
1 teaspoon parsley
1 teaspoon sesame seeds dried
a pinch of salt


1. Prepare toast.
2. Spread the cream in a thin layer on bread.
3. Add feta cheese on top.
4. Slice tomatoes and add on top.
5. Season with a pinch of salt, parsley and sesame seeds. Serve.

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man is cooking in kitchen at home

Peas with Chicken and Mushrooms
Total calories: 345

1 cup peas
100 g chicken breast, sliced
1 cup mushrooms, cut in small pieces
1 tablespoon butter
2 teaspoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon salt


1. In a pot, heat oil. Add pieces of chicken breast. Cook until soft (about 10 minutes.)
2. Remove chicken pieces to a plate.
3. Add mushrooms to the pot and cook until crisp (2-3 minutes.) Remove mushrooms to a plate with chicken pieces.
4. Add butter, salt, and garlic to the pot. Cook until garlic is soft (1-2 minutes.)
5. Add peas and cook until the peas are soft and hot (10-12 minutes.)
6. Pour the content of the pot to the plate. Serve.


grilled salmon

Grilled Salmon with Broccoli
Total calories: 166


2 ounces salmon fillets
1 cup broccoli
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon dried parsley
½ lemon
pinch of salt


1. Prepare salmon: season it with lemon juice, salt, parsley, and garlic.
2. Heat a pan with olive oil. Place broccoli in the pan and cook for 3-4 minutes.
3. Add salmon and cook for another 5-8 minutes.
4. Transfer to a plate and serve.

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raspberries and walnuts

Walnuts with Raspberries and peach
Total calories: 125


1/2 cup of raspberries
¼ ounce of walnuts
1 medium peach (150g)


1. In a cup, mix walnuts, peach, and raspberries. Serve.

Baked Apples
Total calories: 91


butter – 1 teaspoon/ 4.5g
green apple, sliced – 1  small /149 g
ground cinnamon – 1 teaspoon/2.6 g


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2. Cut the apple into slices. Spread a thin layer of butter on slices. Sprinkle with cinnamon.
3. Place apples on a baking tray. Bake for 10-15 minutes. Serve.

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This content has been Fact-Checked by a Certified Nutritionist in our Publishing Team. Learn more here.

40 thoughts on “Dr. Nowzaradan Diet | The Complete Guide for Weight Loss

    • Jean Roberts Cook says:

      I love trying your diet it has been a blessing to me and I thank you are a great doctor that helps a lot of people if they want to be helped.

    • Joyce says:

      In the grilled salmon with brocolli recipe, it’s printed as 1 ounces salmon filet. Is this a typo? Please clarify how much raw salmon filet will equal a serving with 421 calories. I started the 1200 calorie diet today. I need to lose 80-90 pounds, to live a healthier lifestyle.

  1. Valerie Edwards says:

    please send me a copy of your 1200 calorie a day meal plan. I am currently under a cardiac diet and this seems to fit that category

      • Irene says:

        Hi! I would like to follow Dr. Now’s diet plan, but I don’t know how to count the calories of each piece of food and how many calories do the foods get while cooking. Could you please give me a clue?! Thank you!

    • Valera Foster says:

      I just love Dr. Now, I try to watch every show. He is so adorable, he does not let the patients pull his leg, he’s heard every excuse there is. I am not obese but overweight. I want to lose about 20 – 40 lbs. I just happen to google his name an his info popped up, I now have the diet that the 600-lb people have to follow, I am so grateful.
      I see how Dr. Now never gives up on his patients but a few he’s had to because they seem
      to need more, e.g., psychological help an self restraint. He’s a living angel. We need 10 more like him, he’s saving so many lives, an giving people hope, God bless him! I’m from Texas, but live in California, I would love it if I could one day meet him, I just love his personality.

  2. Judy says:

    please send me a copy of your 1200 calorie a day meal plan. I am a bit overweight. I watch your program in the evenings, and I do not want to ever get to be 600 lbs. I figure if I learn how
    to eat more sensible and get more active, I will be able to stop this vicious cycle of dieting and gaining back twice as much. I need better direction of recipes. Thank You.

    • Lorena Maia says:

      Hi Annette, thanks for your comment. The recipes/ingredients weight are as raw like most recipes, unless it says otherwise – Example “2 large boiled eggs”.

      • Annette says:

        Thank you very much for answer, I will start the diet in a couple of days, looking forward to try it. Regards from Sweden.

      • Jackie H says:

        I think Dr. Now is awesome. I started watching My 600-Lb. Life and was hooked!!! I am considered obese and since I have had injuries to my neck and lower back, I know that by losing weight it will help alleviate some of the pain. I’m 63 and I have 13 grandchildren and I want to be able to be active and play with them and to be able to sit and enjoy watching the ones that play softball. I’d love to have a copy of his diet plan and exercise plan to help me achieve my goals. Thank you!

  3. Martha Lara says:

    I love Doctor Nowzardian show God blessed him for everything he does to those that want and need to loose weight !! His honesty and sincerity change life’s ♥️

  4. KN says:

    I LOVE Dr Now! His method works and I love his no nonsense attitude. I’m trying to adopt a healthier lifestyle and lose a bit of weight so thanks for the recipes. Just what I needed.

  5. Karen F Silver says:

    Dr. Now’s no-excuses approach is so refreshing! He cuts through the glib psychobabble that people use to “explain”
    their noncompliance like a laser beam. He’s been helpful to me up here in New York and I
    have made some changes in what and how much I eat. The diet looks sensible for diabetics, too.

  6. Lola says:

    Love the show – BUT, the mistakes I see participants make is their portion sizes are way too big!
    Guidance should be provided to the patients along with food list.
    I saw Joyce preparing eggs & egg whites in a large skillet, thinking she was splitting it with Dawn, but, no, she ate the entire portion and couldn’t imagine why she regained weight!

  7. Paula wood says:

    Love the show love Doctor Now he doesn’t put up with anyone’s BS .. But helping them in the long run . One amazing Doctor .

  8. chrissie says:

    Hi I watch Dr Now all the time, he is truly amazing at what he does. I am desperate to lose 50lbs and I feel sure if I was to follow his diet plan I would. Please could you give me details of how I can follow HIS plan, I live in the UK. There are so many healthy eating plans, but I really want to try Dr Now’s. I would like to take this opportunity to thank you and to thank Dr Now for what he does in helping people have a life worth living, instead of just existing and waiting to die.

  9. Debbie says:

    I love Dr. Now! He has helped so many people and he really cares about his patients. I would love to have more of his recipes.

  10. Nichole says:

    I love dr Now, he is awesome. I would like the diet plan he gives to his patients. If anyone has it please send to me. Thanks

  11. Judy McManus Barnes says:

    I love Dr Now and the show. I don’t need to lose weight but need to be on cardio diet. Would this be good for me!

  12. Sylvia Villiers says:

    Hi Dr. Now, I watch your show I think you are brilliant and one of the best doctor’s I have ever seen on T.V. you have such a calming way with you and have helped so many people, you are such an inspiration to many, you are an amazing Doctor. Kind Regards

  13. Susan says:

    Dr Now is very unique with his calm presence and ability to offer help and support. I admire his no nonsense approach towards the different behaviours of people he encounters. His tact and diplomacy has gone a long way in getting patients to understand what exactly it is they need to be doingg. Every person counts. Thats what makes Dr Now so outstanding as a medical practitioner along with his expertise in the field inwhich he practices.

  14. Jelena says:

    Hey guys. I just wont to thank you for publishing this diet plan. I was not that fat but had a “few” kg extra. I am 191 cm 47 years old and had 99 kg. My hubby is 192 cm, 52 years old and had 105 kg. We both started this diet plan at march 1st and was continue with it till august 1st (hubby a bit shorter). And at those 4 months I lost 15 kg, and my hubby 18 kg. Was not that hard to follow it. We both felt great during and after diet, and I think its one of the best-healthy diets I sow. Three months after diet we still eat similar meals, just moderate here and there (some pasta from time to time, some ice cream or ice coffee, some cookies – rare…) but most of the time we are still at same – just a bit higher calories meals and we are still at the same weight; me 84 kg, hubby 87 kg. And for those who are still struggling with the weight be persistent and dont give up. Thumbs up guys.

  15. Sumayah says:

    I love watching Dr. Now’s show… I watch the episodes back to back… I’m not an obese person, however my husband is and the show is very inspiring to me because Dr. now emphasizes eating healthy in general and maintaining eating healthy as a lifestyle. Since having my daughter, I have gained a bit of weight , nothing crazy … normal for my age and height, I jut really want to loose the stubborn belly fat I’ve gained since having my daughter and while being pregnant with her. It’s been four years since I had her and still haven’t gotten rid of the belly fat. My husband struggles greatly, and suffers daily from cervical myopathy, and I constantly encourage him to try and at least be active by walking in order to loose some weight to relieve some of his back pain. I have noticed since gaining belly fat that it put a lot of pressure on my back, and myself and my husband experience daily back pain. I have back pain caused by degenerate disk disease, and I’m quite aware that the extra belly fat adds pressure to my lower back. Anyways Dr. Now’s show is very inspiring. Great Show. Thank you Dr. Now

  16. martha sann says:

    i would love to have a book of his 1200 calorie diet and recipes. it would certainly be a God send. I watch his shows all the time. He saves lives in a no nonsense approach. Please let me know how to get a book. Thank you.

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