The 17 Day Diet is the creation of Dr. Michael Moreno. Unlike many 'Diet Doctors', Moreno actually has his credentials in medicine. He graduated from the University of California Irvine Medical School, and now practices family medicine in Southern California. Moreno and his 17 Day Diet have been featured on the daytime shows Dr. Phil and The Doctors. The 17 Day Diet was inspired by weight gain that occurs during the holidays, and has since become a diet program that can be used year-round.
How the 17 Day Diet Works
First off, the 17 Day Diet is not actually 17 days. It consists of three, 17 day cycles designed to rework your metabolism. There is also a fourth cycle designed for lifetime maintenance. Moreno claims the diet is effective for people no matter what their weight loss goals are.
Moreno says that the diet helps people avoid plateaus because of the calorie confusion. He also claims the 17 Day Diet is easier to stick with because it changes before boredom sets in.
Cycle 1 is also referred to as the Accelerate cycle. Cycle 1 lasts 17 days and consists of eating a very low 1,200 calories per day. During the first cycle it is common for people to lose up to 20 pounds. Most of this weight is excess water. Cycle 1 removes excess carbs and impurities from the body. It also helps stimulate the metabolism of stored fat.
Cycle 2 is known as the Activate stage. This second stage allows people to eat a higher calorie diet for the next 17 days. Moreno claims most people average 5-6 pounds of weight loss during this time. He says the magic of the diet is the alternating between phases, which keeps the body in a state of confusing.
Cycle 3 – The third cycle is known as the Achieve stage. This stage allows people to eat more foods resulting in a slower rate of weight loss of around 2-3 pounds. This stage prepares people for a lifetime of healthy eating, and cements the new food habits they learn during the first two cycles.
Cycle 4 – The fourth and final stage is known as the Arrive stage. The 17 Day Diet is designed for people to reach their goal weight during this phase. During this cycle on the 17 Day Diet you will follow meal plans from the previous cycles. The fourth cycle allows people to splurge on their diets on the weekends, as long as they stay within certain limits.
The 17 Day Diet does not touch very much on physical exercise. Moreno recommends people get at least 17 minutes of exercise during the first two cycles. That may not seem like much, but the diet is so severe that exercising for long durations could be potentially hazardous.
The 17 Day Diet Food Plan
The 17 Day Diet focuses on eating 'clean foods.' Clean foods are characterized as all natural. They are devoid of processed ingredients that have little nutritional value. Fried and sugary foods are also not part of the 17 Day Diet.
Cycle 1 gives people the freedom to eat as many non-starch vegetables as they want. People can also eat an unlimited amount of lean protein with a limit of 2 eggs per day. Fruit, probiotics, and good fat such as olive oil and flaxseed oil are also part of the 17 Day Diet food plan.
As previously mentioned, the first cycle recommends no more or less than 1,200 calories per day. 1,200 is the absolute minimum calorie intake per day according to nutritionists. The 17 Day Diet also recommends people drink at least 64 ounces of water per day. The diet recommends cutting out soda and juice – even the sugar free varieties.
Cycle 2 has a daily caloric intake of 1,500 calories, which consists of adding two types of healthy carbohydrates such as fruit, brown rice, sweet potatoes, corn, and squash. These are just a few examples of carbohydrate options during cycle 2.
Cycle 3 does not add more calories but adds to the list of healthy food choices. Expanded food options fall into all food categories such as protein, good fats, carbohydrates, and starch. Cycle 3 does restrict the protein portion size and allows for one serving of alcohol.
Cycle 4 assumes that the dieter has met their goal weight. People who have not yet met their goal are encouraged to keep cycling through the various stages of the 17 Day Diet until they reach their weight loss goal. Cycle 4 calls for switching between cycles 1-3 during the week along with cheat meals during the weekend. Moreno calls this strategy “strategic cheating.” He says that it actually helps boost people’s metabolism. He says that it helps people maintain the diet for the long-term.
Moreno warns people against binging on the weekends. Cycle 4 calls for 1-2 cheat meals only. People are also allowed 1-2 servings of alcohol. During cycle 4 of the 17 Day Diet people are encouraged to weigh in once a week to keep track of their weight.
The 17 Day Diet not only encourages healthy food choices, but also has other helpful tips such as no fruit after two o’clock in the afternoon, drinking 64 ounces of water daily, and eating slowly.
17 Day Diet Pros and Cons
The diet is fairly well received by nutritional experts. The strong point is the clean eating choices. Some say that the 17 Day Diet’s claim of readjusting metabolism is loosely based, but seems to have no harmful side effects.
• Food choices vary every 17 days providing variety and preventing boredom
• No special foods to purchase
• Several food choices
• Not much advice on exercising
• Limited scientific evidence
• Gimmicky title
Overall the 17 Day Diet is based on sound nutritional advice, and will help you reach your weight loss goals if you stick to it. The diet is fairly well grounded in nutrition and can be part of a healthy lifestyle. If you can look beyond the gimmicky title, you will find some solid advice and meal plans that should result in weight loss.
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