While many are aware of the Scarsdale Medical Diet, created in the 1970’s by Dr. Herman Tarnower, little information is circulated regarding the application of the heart-healthy, hormone-balancing eating principles to life beyond the 14 day weight loss “burst”.
Misconceptions including the inability to dine out, unsustainable calorie intake and the exhausting struggle of low-carb dieting are common deterrents stopping people from becoming the healthiest version of themselves. As a personal trainer, longtime Scarsdale dieter, and creator of Scarsdale Diet Life, I will debunk these myths and kickstart your journey to health and happiness.
You CAN Eat Fast Food
The most common complaint I hear among perspective Scarsdale dieters is the thought that fast-food joints, restaurants and other eating places are completely off-limits to those who wish to follow the diet. While this is advised to maximize weight-loss results for those who are following the 14 day weight loss plan, it is unreasonable to impose this rule on those who wish to become fit for life.
The Macronutrient Split
The most important principle of this diet is the macronutrient split, divided into 43% protein, 22.5% fat and 34.5% carbohydrates. While this may sound complicated, it’s inherently very simple once you learn the “visual analysis” technique. This technique is simple. When looking at a dish, make sure half of the food is a protein source, a third is carbohydrates and the final fifth is a fat source. If these criteria are met, dig in!
Macronutrient portions are the most important principle of the diet. This is important, because not all people are equal. A 200-pound football player will certainly eat more calories than a 60-pound child. Both will still be able to reap the benefits of the Scarsdale diet if they allow their calories to be divided between 43 percent protein, 22.5 percent fat and 34.5 percent carbohydrates.
The Cheat Day
Another technique my clients and I have had success with is the “cheat day”. Six days of the week, eat your Scarsdale diet foods following the macronutrient division principle and on the seventh day, eat whatever you want all day. This may sound like a sure way to hinder progress and destroy your health, numerous metabolic benefits have been noted. This includes an increased metabolic output and decreased appetite throughout the rest of the week due to the hormone regulation that occurs during the cheating phase along with a better mind state making the remainder of the week more enjoyable.
The stigma and assumptions surrounding the cripplingly low caloric intake do not directly stem from the Scarsdale diet. While practicing cardiology, Dr. Tarnower experimented on obese patients by heavily restricting calories. This was effective for those with large fat stores as all energy needed on a day to day basis is found within these stores. Only vitamins and minerals are required for proper bodily function in these extreme cases.
This dramatic caloric restriction was soon associated with the doctors’ magnum opus and gave birth to myth still believed today.
Discomfort & Improved Performance
The third most common misconception surrounding the community is the idea that low-carb diets are painful and non sustainable. Notably the Scarsdale diet advocates 35% of energy intake to be in the form of carbohydrates. While this is not by definition low-carb, many people find it to be so after lifelong conditioning with french fries and pizza as staples of their diet.
Many of my clients have said to experience a temporary discomfort, no longer than one week when switching to a more carb restriction way of eating. People assume that energy levels are sure to drop once carbs are removed from their diet, yet this is not true. After your body enters ketosis and is able to use fat as a source of energy, neurological efficiency is increased leading to both improved cognitive and athletic performance along with more energy.
Improved performance is the single most common reason my clients and others adopt the diet beyond the 14-day burst, and the dramatic change in these areas comes as a great surprise to many.
Join Me on the Scarsdale Diet Journey
The Scarsdale Diet has become a great passion of mine and I invite all those interested in improving their life to try it out. Appreciate that the diet is not heavily restricting in any area of life and its benefits are both strong and numerous.
The concept of ketosis, the body’s use of fat for energy is revealing many possibilities in the medical field. Research has shown that all but one human cell is able to enter ketosis and use fat for energy. The cell excluded from this group is cancer. As cancer cannot “switch” from sugars to fatty acids as a source of energy, research is revealing that diets – similar to the Scarsdale Diet – are effective at “starving” cancer to death. An interesting subject that will undoubtably surface in the future and another reason for you to join me and thousands of other on the Scarsdale Diet Journey.