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Our Take on The 17-Day Diet

Posted Feb 21 2011 6:00am

17-day-diet Is it just me or do diet books just seem to get more ridiculous as time goes on? There has been so much fuss about the newly released The 17-Day Diet that we just couldn’t sit idle and not weigh in on it. Plus, this one was written by a doctor (and featured on the TV show The Doctors )—and you just never know what nugget of information or research you might find—so we gave it a fair diet-book shake. Even though it makes us twitch to even say the word diet and book together. (It’s a four-letter word after all!)

Let’s first go over what was good about the book. Although it’s branded as a 17-day diet that promises huge weight-loss, there are actually four phases to the diet, of which the final phase is a “diet” that you live on for the rest of your life for maintenance. So, some kudos there for a plan that transitions you from super-clean eating without sugar and many carbs (think South Beach) to a more moderate approach in the following cycles that works in more treats, alcohol and starchy carbs like oatmeal and potatoes. Second, there’s no calorie counting in the plan, eating veggies is highly emphasized as the basis of a healthy diet (hooray for veggies!) and eating according to your hunger is a main rule to follow. Third, while diet is the focus of this weight-loss plan, exercise is discussed quite a bit. And even though the author Dr. Mike Moreno (check out that hair) says in the first phase that you only need to walk for 17 minutes a day, throughout the rest of the phases his exercise recommendations are spot-on with guidelines to get moderate to intense exercise for 45 to 60 minutes most day of the week.

In fact, there’s actually a lot of research in this book that are cited and totally useful. From understanding how lack of sleep can interfere with weight-loss to how high fructose corn syrup affects the body to the latest research on caloric cycling (eating more food one day and less food the next) to break through weigh-loss plateaus and keep your metabolism fired up and guessing, I was pretty impressed. In addition, there are a number of fab tips on how to eat out, how to adapt the diet to your cultural eating preferences and even how to make your PMS symptoms less intense through healthy, natural lifestyle changes (hallelujah!).

The cons? While listening to your hunger and fullness cues is discussed, the book doesn’t really address any of the emotional aspects of overeating (or under-eating), nor is confidence, body image or self-talk really discussed. Also, although recipes are included, most of the food recommendations seemed pretty boring (can of tuna on mixed greens—boring!) and repetitive. Not to mention that Dr. Mike’s recommendation to go back to the first, most restrictive cycle whenever you gain a few pounds, seems like it could easily lead to an on-again, off-again dieting cycle that is totally boo-boo. Lastly, the number 17 seems to only be a marketing gimmick, as there’s no scientific reason that it couldn’t be the 16-day or 18-day diet or why workouts should be 17 minutes long in the first phase.

So, there’s some good and some bad. While you will probably learn a thing or two if you read it, it really boils down to one thing and one thing only—everything in moderation! —Jenn


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