Does the Mayo Clinic Diet Work? Jan lost 105 pounds by following the Mayo clinic diet after a hysterectomy. She had been able to lose weight in the past, but it never stayed off for long. Like thousands of others like her, Jan learned that the only way to keep weight off is by living a healthy lifestyle not trying crash diets.
So, what is the Mayo Clinic Diet?
You don’t usually think of “health” when you hear the word, “mayo,” but in this case that’s what it’s all about. The Mayo Clinic diet is a simple, realistic doctor-approved approach to weight loss consisting of two unique phases. It’s also rated as one of the top 5 healthiest diets by U.S. News.
Read on for everything you need to know to decide if this is the right path for you or check out this month’s promotion to join for only $4 per week. (below)
How Does the Mayo Clinic Diet Work?
- Add good habits: First you will add good habits, such as eating a healthy breakfast, eating whole grains and moving 30 minutes a day
- Break bad habits: Next you will break bad habits that are sabotaging your weight, such as watching TV while you eat, snacking and eating out.
- Follow the Program: Using the online program to guide you day by day will keep you on track and motivated!
Ok, that’s the gist of the diet. Now, here’s how it works:
The Mayo Clinic diet focuses on eating and provides tools including the healthy weight pyramid. This tool tells you how many servings from each of the 4 food groups you should consume per day.
The Mayo Clinic Healthy Weight Pyramid helps you to consume fewer calories while still feeling full. The diet also places an emphasis on becoming more physically active and making healthy habits part of your lifestyle.
This diet is not a crash diet that follows a grapefruit and pepper water menu. Instead, this diet helps people set realistic goals and keep them motivated until they reach their goal weight.
Mayo Clinic Diet: Here’s what else you get:
- Daily meal planner
- Mayo Clinic phone app
- Food & Fitness journal
- Weight & habit trackers
- Portion control guides
- 100’s of tasty recipes
- Personalized workouts to make your days more active
- Fitness tips and guides for all levels
- Learn more
How Experts Rate the Diet:
U.S. News asked a panel of experts in health and diet fields to rate the Mayo Clinic Diet in several key areas. Here’s how they fared:
As you can see, the diet is rated very highly for being healthy, but a little lower for being easy to follow and for long-term weight loss. Part of the reason is that, like Weight Watchers, the Mayo Clinic Diet is more of a guide with tools to help you lose the weight without providing you the actual food.
Ok, the experts rate the diet highly, but now let’s look at ratings from honest customer reviews:
Mayo Clinic Diet: Customer Reviews:
Only recently did the folks at the Mayo Clinic expand on their popular Mayo Clinic Diet book, to now offer it as a more complete and convenient program. The Amazon reviews for the book are very helpful to learn more about the methodology of the program, and also to appreciate the overwhelmingly positive results that customers have had.
One user sums up the Mayo Clinic Diet well when she concludes,
“This diet is NOT for you if you’re looking for a magic weight loss plan, or a new theory of weight control.
This diet might be for you if: You subscribe to the old, tried-and-true formula for weight loss (eat fewer calories, exercise more), but need to know the details and need some help in getting, and staying, motivated.”
My opinion: why buy the paperback book for $25-30 when you can sign up for their program with loads of resources, recipes, and a helpful app for only $4 per week.
Here’s more about how the Mayo Clinic Diet works.
Doctors & Dietitians: The Experts Behind the Diet
A group of 11 experts from the Mayo Clinic came together to design this diet. This includes medical doctors, nutrition and preventative medicine experts, clinical health psychologists, fitness experts and a chef.
In other words, some of the smartest, most qualified doctors in the country came together to create this diet.
The joint expertise of this group enabled this program to consider all the aspects of weight loss, including the emotional and mental struggles.
The contributions of the chef allowed for a wide variety of Mayo Clinic diet recipes available to subscribers so that people don’t get bored or run out of meal ideas. That’s actually a top complaint of meal delivery diets such as Nutrisystem, South Beach Diet, and Medifast!
Phase 1: Lose It!
There are two phases in the Mayo Clinic diet. The first phase is called Lose It and is made to kick-start the weight loss journey.
Mayo Clinic diet reviews show that people can expect to lose anywhere from 6-10 pounds during this phase.
Phase 1 lasts two weeks and makes losing this initial weight safe and healthy. Besides learning what to eat and how much, participants also learn about good habits that will maximize their success and motivation. They will also become aware of the bad habits they follow and learn how to break them.
Very little prep work is required to get going with the mayo clinic diet menu. You just need to shop for groceries.
In these first 2 weeks, you will eat regularly with a focus on lots of fruits and veggies, whole grains and healthy fats.
Each day, you should aim for 30 minutes or more of physical activity. Any kind of activity that gets you moving is acceptable. This includes walking, swimming, playing tennis or dancing.
Forming Habits During Phase 1
The habits you will drop include eating in front of the TV, having snacks (fruits and veggies are allowed) and eating out. You can eat out if the food you order follows the food pyramid, however.
You will not over-indulge on meat or full-fat dairy products such as yogurt and homogenized milk.
People who are super motivated to get started can start tracking their food in a journal. If you are ready to really make a change in your life, cut out the processed food from your diet (in fact throw it out and don’t buy anymore) and exercise an hour a day. During this phase, those changes are not required but can be useful for those who want to start off strong.
After two weeks, it’s time for the Live It! phase of the program.
Phase 2: Live It!
The second phase, called Live It!, does not have a set timeframe. (nor does it involve mayonnaise!) You will stay in this phase until you reach your weight loss goal and beyond.
The Mayo Clinic diet is meant to be the final diet you’ll ever use that will get you through the rest of your life in great health.
During this phase, you can expect to lose 1-2 pounds each week until you hit your goal. Along the way and after you hit your goal, your subscription will give you expert tips and suggestions to make your journey successful.
While phase 1 was very specific about the number of calories you should eat, in this phase you will focus on servings, not calories. While in phase 2 you will be allotted a certain number of servings of each of the four food groups.
Phase 2 Foods
On the 1,400-calorie plan, you can have four or more servings of fruits and four or more servings of veggies each day. You get five servings of carbs, four of protein/dairy and three of fats.
Many fad diets cut out carbs completely or restrict them to 1 serving a day. Science shows that your body needs carbohydrates to fuel your body. Often your body holds onto the fat you have because you are not giving it the carbs you need.
One of the best things that Mayo Clinic diet reviews say is that in phase 2 you don’t need to weigh, measure or count your calories. Pretty quick you learn to eyeball your portions to make sure that you are eating the right amounts.
For example, a serving of fruit is the size of your fist. You can easily your hand to determine serving sizes for each of the food groups.
Because healthy and safe weight loss takes time, this phase has some wiggle room so that you can eat the foods you love. You won’t feel like you are on a restricted diet. This can go a long way toward helping you stay motivated and happy during your weight loss journey.
In phase 2, you will continue to incorporate physical activity into your lifestyle for a happy, healthy heart and body.
Mayo Clinic Diet Cost (and Coupon?)
The Mayo Clinic website also has some free tools, recipes, and weight loss ideas. But the best way to make the most of the diet is to subscribe for the online support. With their new customer promotion, it costs only $4 per week. You pay it once a quarter which works out to $52 for 13 weeks. (More about cost)
Once you join and pay, you can search for meal plans and recipes, access tracking tools to help you work on your new habits, and get tailored fitness plans.
You can choose to renew your subscription after the first 13 weeks or just cancel and keep on your journey alone. It really depends on what areas you need the most support in.
*Related: Read about how our hunter-gatherer DNA affects obesity today.
Tools to Fuel Success
The Mayo Clinic diet offers some helpful tools to help users lose weight and track their progress. (Not a 3-day diet! see below)
The habit tracker lists 15 key habits that Mayo Clinic experts have identified as vital for weight loss success. This tracker is meant to be used during the first 14 days (the phase 1 period).
You check off habits as you do them and your daily progress report logs them. This is a great way to see what you are doing well and what areas are your weak spots.
The Mayo Clinic Diet App
This interactive app is fun and easy to use. It helps with all sorts of aspects of weight loss such as portion sizes at a glance. This app lets you track your food servings (which is handy if you are on the go). You also get support from the Mayo Clinic experts with just a few swipes of your fingers.
Subscribers get access to the app for free. Note: it is only available for the iPhone. An android app does not exist.
It’s Not a 3-Day Diet! (With Mayo on the Side, Please!)
I noticed that there are a lot of people looking for the Mayo Clinic 3-Day Diet, which doesn’t exist. As we mentioned, this plan is not a quick fix!
Any way, we hope you found this guide about the Mayo Clinic diet helpful. As you can see, this diet is one that your doctor would support. Of course, feel free to speak to your physician about a weight loss strategy.
Because no foods are off limits, cravings don’t bombard you night and day. And by focusing on adding healthy habits and dropping bad ones, you are setting yourself up for a lifetime of health and physical fitness.
The downside to this diet is that there is no in-person support. So if you feel that you need a weekly meeting to keep you accountable, this may not be the best option for you, although the personal attention of a diet like Jenny Craig is expensive!
Interested? Check out their current new-customer promotion, with a special rate of only $4 per week to join!
You can also check out the latest specials for Weight Watchers (a similar hugely-popular diet) here!
*Related: Read Weight Watchers vs Mayo Clinic diet to see which diet wins in a head-to-head combat.
Hi, I’m Kevin McCormick. I’m a blogger who enjoys writing on a number of topics including health and wellness. I have a BA in Art History and Health Sciences from Rutgers University in NJ. I currently live in Philadelphia, Pa., and have 3 kids and a Vizsla (dog) more…