Scarsdale Diet Ultimate Guide For Weight Loss

heart diet

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.

The Scarsdale Diet requires a positive mindset, sheer determination, and disciplined eating habits. It won’t be easy but nothing is impossible!

However, if you are steadfast about losing those excess pounds, then the Scarsdale medical diet could work for you.

Unlike other diets, the Scarsdale Plan lets you lose weight affordably. Plus, you do not need to subscribe to any expensive diet plan.

If this information whets your appetite to learn more, then read as we share all you need to know about the Scarsdale Diet plan.

Discover why this ultimate weight loss plan may just be the perfect rapid-weight loss plan for you.

What is the Scarsdale Diet?

high in protein diet

Created by cardiologist Dr. Herman Tarnower in 1978. The Scarsdale Diet is a very strict meal eating plan that allows only 1,000 calories to be consumed per day, for 14 consecutive days.

The underlying principle of this high-protein, low-calorie diet is to consume 43% protein, 22.5% fat, and 34.5% carbohydrates per day.

As a respected cardiologist, Dr. Tarnower was inspired to create a diet plan after realizing most of his patients were struggling to lose weight. These patients required to slim down due to health heart reasons.

In order to help his patients lose weight fast, Dr. Tarnower used to write down a 2-page weight loss program for them. Through positive word of mouth, this original program soon gained popularity amongst those looking to lose weight.

Drawing inspiration from the success of the Atkins Diet, Dr. Tarnower became an author and transformed the diet plan into a book which as published in 1979.

” The Complete Scarsdale Medical Diet Plus Dr. Tarnower’s Lifetime Keep-Slim Program”

How Did the Scarsdale Diet Get Its Name?

If you wondered how the diet got its name, the Scarsdale Diet was named after the Scarsdale Medical Centre where Dr. Tarnower developed the plan.

With a slew of many other new diet plans, this diet plan may have lost some of its popularity. Simply because this very-low-calorie plan received bad press by several medical experts.

However, among the health community, some followers have tried the diet and found it effective in meeting their weight loss goals.

Scarsdale Diet – How It Works

diet rules

To enjoy the benefits of the Scarsdale Diet, all you need to do is follow our easy-to-prepare diet plan that will keep your calorie count to 1,000 calories per day.

You are allowed to eat 3 meals per day. Snacks are not allowed except for celery and carrots.

Against average calories consumed per day of 2,000 – 2,500 calories by men and women, this diet will most certainly put your body in a calorie deficit.

What happens in 14 days is that you will naturally shed excess pounds. Once you have achieved it, you can sustain the weight loss through a Ketogenic Mediterranean plan.

First up, let’s take a look at what to eat and what to avoid.

What To Eat

Regardless of your gender, body size, or activity, the Scarsdale Diet is a strict diet plan that requires committing to eating only 1,000 calories per day.

The infographic below summarizes what you can and cannot eat on a Scarsdale Diet.

Infographic what you can eat and cannot eat on Scarsdale Diet

Some key highlights to note on what to eat on a Scarsdale Diet are as follows.

Selected Vegetables

You may wonder “Is the Scarsdale Diet a ketogenic diet?”. The simple answer is no.

The keto diet emphasizes eating only vegetables that are low in carbs and high in nutrients.

Unlike the ketogenic diet, the Scarsdale Diet allows a variety of vegetables.

Essentially, the Scarsdale Diet is versatile enough for vegetarians and carnivorous, meat-eaters.

flat lay vegetables macros Scarsdale Diet

Over to the greens, selected vegetables are allowed to ensure that you get sufficient fiber.

Do consume leafy green vegetables such as spinach, celery, brussels sprouts and lettuce.

Include carrots, zucchini, and radishes which are high in beta carotene in your diet plan too. Cruciferous veggies like broccoli and cauliflowers are permitted. These vegetables are rich in plant-based compounds that will help to lower inflammation and reduce the risk of developing cancer.

Carrots and celeries are not allowed in the main meal, but as snacks to keep hunger pangs at bay.

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Wide Range of Protein

eggs asparagus tomatoes healthy diet

Eggs can be included in your main meal as long as fat is not added on.

Meet your protein requirement from a range of meat, poultry, and seafood.

Roasted/grilled/boiled chicken fillets – no skin, turkey, lamb, homemade lean meat hamburgers, and broiled steak are ideal for dinner.

For seafood lovers, throw in some fish fillets, prawns, and shellfish to add variety to your main meals. You may add cold cuts into lunch menus.

Herbs and Spices

Flavor your vegetables and food with a variety of herbs and spices. You can add any of these herbs to enhance your meals:-

Oregano, cilantro, mint, dill, basil, rosemary, thyme, clove, cinnamon, cardamom, turmeric, nutmeg, black pepper, star anise, cayenne pepper, saffron, cumin powder, coriander powder, fennel seeds, and fenugreek seeds.


In moderation. Go for cottage cheese which is a good source of protein and low in calories.


Seeds and Nuts

Nuts should not form part of your standard meal plan. However, if you need to substitute your lunch plan, you can replace it with a fist full of walnuts or pecans.

In short, eat nuts sparingly to stay within your 1,000 calorie count per day.

Protein-Enriched Bread

Bread lovers do not despair.

You can have your fair share of bread and even a healthier alternative!

Protein bread is made with soy flour, whole wheat flour, and gluten flour. You can make this a staple of your Scarsdale Diet plan.

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What To Avoid 

foods to avoid

Observe these key points on what not to eat on a Scarsdale Diet.

Rice, all kinds of potatoes and beans

Vegans and vegetarians may need to make adjustments since these food types tend to dominate your platter.

Try not to consume any form of rice, potatoes, legumes or beans. This is important as carbs can easily add on to your caloric count, surreptitiously.

Sugary treats

Go on a dessert-fast and enjoy great savings from better food choices.

Stay clear and avoid ice creams, cakes, any form of baked foods, candy and other sweet treats for 14 days.

Put a halt on the flavored milk team, energy drinks and bars, and your designer latte for the next 2 weeks too.

In fact, you may just get used to keeping sugar low and eventually internalize this habit after 14 days!

foods to avoid

Pasta and flour-based food

Avoid pasta and any flour-based food (including buns, croissants, and cupcakes). Switch to protein-enriched bread instead.

Full fat milk

Full fat milk, whipping cream, double cream, and other forms of high-fat dairy products are a no-no. Substitute them with low fat and non-fat milk products such as almond milk or soy milk.

Processed Meat

Sausages, bacon, and bologna are high in saturated fat and sodium, and low in nutrients. Stick to real wholesome food during the 14-day diet plan and opt for lean meat, cold cuts, fish or prawns.

Alcoholic Beverages

Do not drink champagne, liquor, wine, beer and any form of alcoholic beverages just for 2 weeks.

Scarsdale Diet Pros & Benefits

lap top

The Scarsdale Diet is an amalgamation of mixed reviews.

Individuals who followed the Scarsdale Diet strictly reported losing up to 2 pounds in 2 weeks, and they felt better after the 14 days.

Contrastingly, it is also not an easy diet plan to follow. Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of the Scarsdale Diet.

1. Simple

The Scarsdale diet does not require lengthy preparations. As there are not many variations to the meal plan, it leaves very little room for error. Simply follow each meal diligently and you’re on the right track.

Try not to substitute your food for anything out of the plan. This is so that should you develop a food allergy, you can easily identify the cause of allergy and eliminate it.

2. Start-and-Stop Approach To Maintain Healthy Weight

All you need to do is maintain this diet regiment for 14 days, and you can gradually increase your calorie intake after the 14 days.

After 14 days, you can gradually introduce starchy food, dairy foods and other food that were previously eliminated. All these should be reintroduced in small quantities so that you do not pack on the pounds just as fast as you lost them.

Word of caution. This dietary program is not to be carried out over a long period. But you can revisit it any time you find that your weight has ballooned above healthy levels.

3. Fool-Proof: Specific Meal Plans Provided

There is no need to count your caloric consumption per meal. Just follow the diet plan to the dot and you are on the right track. You will also notice that there aren’t many variations from meal to meal, so you can shop for the two-weeks worth of groceries at a go (except for protein bread which perishes faster)


There are no fancy cuts, expensive seafood or cured meat in the Scarsdale Diet. Besides, having to eat only three meals per day would automatically reduce your food bill.

5. Requires No Subscription or Long Term Committed

Unlike other popular weight loss programs, you need not subscribe to any mobile app or plan to practice it. Simply follow the meal plans below plus the tips here and you’re on your journey to weight loss.

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Scarsdale Diet Menu (Sample)


Day 1

Breakfast: Half a grapefruit/cantaloupe, a slice of protein bread and coffee or tea (with no sugar, cream, milk or honey)

Lunch: Two eggs cooked in any style (with no cheese and no added cooking oil) and string bean and fresh tomato.

Dinner: Broiled lean hamburger with salad: thinly sliced cabbage salad with radish and grated carrots. Season it with lemon and fresh mint.

Day 2

Breakfast: Papayas/peaches, 1 slice of protein bread and green tea or coffee

Lunch: Pan-fried codfish/salmon with steamed vegetables: green beans, cauliflower/broccoli. One piece of fruit: Grapefruit or any fruit of the season.

Dinner: Roasted, grilled or broiled barbecue chicken (remove skin or any visible fat) with grilled green bell pepper, lots of spinach (fresh or steamed), and grilled zucchini.

Day 3

Breakfast: 1 slice of protein bread with fresh tomato and half grapefruit.

Lunch: Grilled lean beef fillet with grilled brussels sprouts and red pepper.

Dinner: Two eggs cooked in any style (with no cheese and no oil) with steamed string bean or tomatoes. Add a slice of protein bread.

Day 4

Breakfast: Mangoes/peaches and 1 slice of protein bread.

Lunch: Assorted low-fat cheese slices with fresh or steamed spinach. 1 slice of protein bread and one piece of fruit: peaches/mangoes/papaya

Dinner: Fish or shellfish of any kind with mixed salad or steamed vegetables. Add a fruit such as tomatoes/cantaloupes/grapefruit.

Day 5

Breakfast: Grapefruit or any fruit in season and 1 slice of protein bread with coffee/tea.

Lunch: 2 eggs of any style with tomatoes and a slice of protein bread.

Dinner: Grilled chicken breast with green beans, spinach and zucchini.

Day 6

Breakfast: Cantaloupe or any fruit in season. 1 slice of protein bread with coffee/tea.

Lunch: Tuna fish or salmon salad (oil drained off or soaked in water) with lemon and vinegar dressing. Grapefruit/melon or any fruit in season.

Dinner: Sliced roast lamb, all visible fat removed (you can substitute this with fish, seafood, chicken or turkey) with salad of lettuce, tomatoes and cucumbers.

Day 7

Breakfast: Half a grapefruit/cantaloupe. A slice of protein bread with coffee or tea.

Lunch: Fruit salad, any combination of fruit.

Dinner: Roast turkey or chicken with salad of tomatoes and lettuce. One grapefruit or fruit in season.


  • you maybe drink sugar-free tea, coffee, and water at any time.
  • you can snack on carrots and celery sticks throughout the day.

Scarsdale Diet Side Effects


A restrictive diet has its drawbacks.

Here are some of the side effects associated with the Scarsdale Diet.

  • Kidney And Liver Damage – As the Scarsdale diet is high in protein, ketosis is its common side effect. If this diet is prolonged, ketosis can cause damage to the kidneys and liver.
  • Metabolic Disorder – The Scarsdale Diet may cause porphyria. Porphyria is a condition whereby the body excretes an excessive amount of porphyrins. This inherited metabolic disorder occurs due to fasting or long-term use of a VLCD (low carbohydrate, total food replacement meals).
  • Starvation Mode – With only 3 meals over 24 hours, you will be eating a meal every 8 hours. Not eating for more than 4 hours can cause your body to go into the starvation mode. This is where your body starts storing any kind of food as fat, instead of using it as an energy source.
  • Mood Fluctuations – You may constantly feel hungry during the first few days. And this makes you highly irritable.
  • Increased Cravings –The diet is void of several serotonin-boosting foods. Coupled with eating the same food for two weeks, you may have strong cravings for high-calorie, carb-dense, greasy food after a while.
  • Calcium Deficiency – Without milk and minimal dairy in this meal plan, calcium intake can be low and this poses risks especially for women.

Scarsdale Diet Results

What drives successful Scarsdale Diet followers to cross the finishing line is the progressive weight loss they experience within the 14 days.

Pundits taunt the Scarsdale Diet as a fad diet. This is because if many who resume their normal eating habits after the Scarsdale diet we will naturally pack on the pounds.

Backbenchers of this diet plan claim that most of the weight loss experienced are due to water-lost. And this weight is quickly regained as soon as the participants resume normal eating habits.

girl work out exercise weight loss program Tabata crossfit HIIT

That is why to keep the weight off, you must continue to eat healthily and exercise consistently.

This will help you recruit more muscle mass and increase your basal metabolic rate.

You may consider incorporating Tabata Cross-fit exercises to sustain your weight loss and increase your liquids intake to replenish any nutrient deficiency.

By making healthy food choices, the Scarsdale Diet can be a turn-key weight loss method that you can start and stop, only when needed.

Scarsdale Diet Recipes

Protein Bread

Protein bread will be your daily staple and hence, bookmark this recipe for easy reference.

Lemon & Rosemary Roasted Chicken Thighs

To be Scarsdale-diet compliant, do omit the olive oil in this recipe. Alternatively, you can use reduce it from 3 tablespoons to 1 teaspoon of olive oil.

Seared Salmon with Mixed Greens & Grilled Vegetables

Here’s another Scarsdale-compliant seared salmon recipe. Again, do cut down on olive oil to the barest minimum or omit it altogether.

Scarsdale Diet Reviews

The reviews on the Scarsdale Diet are indeed a mixed bag of good and bad. At the end of the day, it all boils down to the individual’s drive to persist with the plan and willingness to try something new.

 These reviews collated online shows that there are cohorts of believers out there.

  • “Easy to follow and actually works!!! Normal food with a combination of vegetables to boost metabolism. Lost 8 pounds first 5 days!” – 16 March 2017, Tammy A.
  • “This book changed my life! After I got married I gained quite a bit of weight and I was struggling to lose it. I tried everything. My mom told me about this diet she did back in the ‘80s and I decided to try it. I lost 40lbs in 2 months and I have kept it off. I did this diet over the summer and have had no problem keeping my weight down. If I notice myself slowly starting to gain any back, I just do the diet for a week. Not only is this a “diet.” It is truly a lifestyle change. I find myself not wanting the foods I used to love. I want to snack on veggies now instead of greasy fries or chocolate. Trust me, this will be the best money you have ever spent!” –A.K. 88, 10 January 2012
  •  “This is an oldie but goody! When Dr. Tarnover was alive, it was all the rage. I lost 70 lbs. on it and I cooked based on his recipes and tips, emphasized the use of herbs, and more. The Scarsdale Diet has very good ideas for weight control/loss”   – AZ Yankee, 1 Jan 2018

Scarsdale Diet Important Tips


To make this diet work for you, here are some important tips to follow while on a Scarsdale Diet:-

  • Drinking coffee and tea is recommended for breakfast and dinner. This will help to raise metabolism and suppress your appetite.
  • Walk at least 3 km a day.
  • Plan your meals in advance. This is imperative so that when hunger pangs set in, you can satiate your hunger and prevent yourself from binging later.
  • To feel satiated, incorporate bigger portions of protein into your lunch and dinner. Protein will keep you feeling fuller longer compared to fiber. Plus, it’s harder to overindulge on protein than other macronutrients.
  • Drink at least 4 glasses of water a day.

Scarsdale Diet Warnings 

The medical fraternity warned that the Scarsdale diet is not suitable for everyone as it carries potential health risks. Similarly, the diet does not instill proper eating habits required to sustain a healthy weight loss.

The diet was heavily criticized for its serious nutritional deficiencies. Followers of the diet could suffer negative effects including constipation, weakness, nausea, and bad breath from ketosis.

It is best to consult a doctor for medical advice should you wish to embark on this Scarsdale Diet.

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

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