For over thirty years, the
Mayo Clinic has been combating the rumor that they recommend
a version of a quick weight loss diet that touts the
consumption of grapefruit, vegetables, fruits and unlimited
portions of meat and fat. The clinic has repeatedly
issued statements that the so-called 'Mayo Clinic Diet' did
not originate at the Mayo Clinic and is not endorsed by
them. In fact, they have gone so far as to state that it may
be unhealthy for some people.
A visit to the Mayo Clinic web site will take you to the
REAL Mayo Clinic diet, and their recommendations and
guidance for weight loss that is healthy and permanent.
Weight loss results from expending more calories than you
consume. The only way to lose weight is to eat fewer
calories than you use in your daily activities. The only way
to achieve permanent weight loss is by adopting a balanced,
healthy diet with portions that fit your lifestyle,
and engage in regular physical activity.
The healthiest, most beneficial diet for you is one
that takes your individuality into account. There is no 'one
perfect eating plan' - not even one that will work for you
'for the rest of your life'. Your body needs different
things at different stages. Illnesses and allergies, high
stress periods - all result in changing nutritional needs
for your body.
Basic Recommendations: The Seven Basic Rules
1. Eat more fruit and vegetables.
2. Reduce intake of saturated fats and cholesterol
3. Cut back on sweets and salt
4. Drink alcohol in moderation, if you must drink at all
5. Learn to eat moderate portions of food
6. Control the number of calories you consume
7. Include physical activity in your daily activities
Specifics by Food Group
Carbs are the body's main energy source. Complex
carbohydrates such as whole grains, legumes and dried beans
and grains are a staple of the Mediterranean diet, where
heart disease, diabetes and obesity are extremely low.
Recommendation: 45 to 65% of your daily calories should be
from carbohydrates. Focus on the complex carbohydrates, milk
and fruit, and keep your intake of sugar, white flour and
Your body uses cholesterol to build and help cells function
properly. Typically, our bodies make all the cholesterol
needed, and additional cholesterol is deposited on the sides
of arteries and organs. Cholesterol is found in meat,
poultry, eggs, dairy products and seafood.
Limit intake of cholesterol to no more than 300 milligrams
One of the most concentrated sources of energy—fat—has more
calories than protein or carbohydrates. Your body needs it
to absorb some vitamins and build healthy cells and neural
pathways. The kind of fat is important, though. Trans and
saturated fats (from red meats, among other things), can
raise your cholesterol level and heighten your risk of heart
Aim for 20 to 35% of daily calories from fat. Focus on
vegetable oils, nuts and fish oils rather than most animal
Fiber is the bulky part of vegetables. There are two types
of fiber - soluble and insoluble. Your body needs both.
Fiber is derived from bran, oats, wheat, green vegetables,
apples and other fruits.
For women: 21 - 25 grams fiber daily
For men: 30 - 38 grams fiber daily
As you can see, the real Mayo Clinic diet
emphasizes a balanced diet derived largely from
complex carbohydrates, fresh vegetables, little meat, and
careful choice of fat. They advocate slow, steady weight
loss rather than quick, take-it-off-now methods, and
strongly suggest that the best eating plans are those that
can become the basis for a lifelong change in eating habits.
Along with those general recommendations, the clinic's
Nutrition Center makes specific recommendations for each
food group. Specifically:
Protein is an essential nutrient for nearly every system in
the body. It's contained in your skin, bones, muscles,
blood, organs, hormones and enzymes. The major sources of
dietary protein are meat, seafood, poultry, legumes, seeds
Between 10 and 35% of your daily caloric intake should be
from protein-rich sources.
An Interesting Exercise
One of the contentions of the Mayo Clinic is that one-size
fits all diets won't work for everyone. One of the most
helpful parts of their Nutrition Center is their Daily
Calorie Calculator. A link on the home page will take you to
a Healthy Diet Calculator that will help you calculate a
personalized eating plan to help you lose weight.
Here's an example of what your personalized plan could look
Subject: Female, 225 lbs, 5 ft 6"
Daily calorie goal for weight loss: 1200 calories
Sweets and extras: up to 75 calories daily
Fats: 3 servings
Protein/Dairy: 3 servings
Carbohydrates: 4 servings
Fruits: 3 or more servings
Vegetables: 4 or more servings
Further links offer a sample menu at that calorie level, and
specific recommendations that will help you lose weight.
Those tips include:
Increase the ratio of fruits and vegetables in meals
Experiment with new foods and combinations.
Start with a soup or salad.
Learn healthy cooking techniques.
Consider energy density of food.
The Mayo Clinic defines energy density as the number of
calories in food vs. the amount of food. A sugary dessert
may have extremely high energy density – in other words, a
small serving provides a lot of calories. Consequently, it
takes far more of that food to make your body feel full.
Foods like broccoli have a much less energy density - 15
calories in a regular portion. You eat far less of it and
feel full more quickly.
The basic recommendations made by the Mayo Clinic aren't
ground-breaking. They advocate sensible eating, low calories
and increasing your physical activity. The suggestion to aim
for 1-2 pounds lost per week is echoed by nearly every other
medically noteworthy institute in the country. It's a
realdiet - the real Mayo Clinic Diet.
About The Author:
Kirsten Hawkins is a nutrition and health expert from
Nashville, TN. Visit
http://www.popular-diets.com/ for more great nutrition,
well-being, and vitamin tips as well as reviews and comments
on popular diets.