What Is the Mayr Method Diet and Should You Try It?

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A typical lunch or dinner on the Mayr Method diet consists of vegetable soup or bouillon.
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Another day, another diet. The latest trending weight-loss diet is the Mayr Method. Here, we break down how it works, sharing details of what you can — and can't — eat, along with what we really think about this fad diet.

What Is the Mayr Method?

The Mayr Method, also known as the FX Mayr Cure, is trending these days, but this way of eating and living has actually been around for more than a century. It was created in 1901 by Dr. Franz Xaver Mayr, per the Original FX Mayr website. At its core, the FX Mayr Cure believes that the key to our health and beauty starts in our guts. This last part is actually spot on.

But the FX Mayr Cure has evolved into the Mayr Method, which is now touted at VivaMayr, a group of luxury wellness spas in Austria. (Or, if you're in the neighborhood, they hold day clinics in London, Vienna, Mumbai, Moscow and Istanbul). There, for thousands of dollars, you'll experience a complete immersion into the Mayr Method.

VivaMayr's philosophy is that they combine modern complementary medicine with traditional diagnostics and therapies. Most of the treatments — such as yoga, aqua biking and medical tape application, per a VivaMayr brochure — are rather innocuous. There are a few other treatments — abdominal ultrasound, bloodletting and colon hydrotherapy — that raise red flags.

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How Does It Work?

If you can't afford to visit one of the luxury spas, there is a book available, The Viva Mayr Diet: 14 Days to a Flatter Stomach and a Younger You.

But for those who can afford the full Mayr Method experience, it's different for everyone as programs are developed for individual needs. That said, there are five basic principles to the Mayr Method:

  1. Rest: Relieving your digestion with a "special cure diet." Your food intake is reduced, under medical supervision, according to their site, so that your digestion can regenerate.
  2. Conscious abstinence: The focus is on smaller portions and simple dishes with minimal sugar or seasoning.
  3. Training: As in training your eating habits, which includes mindful, slow eating. At VivaMayr, they eat in silence.
  4. Cleansing: Focused on an alkaline diet and alkali drinks and infusions.
  5. Rhythm: This one is a little vague, claiming that our guts are governed by a "rhythmic process" and that you'll learn how to "deal economically with your own reserves."

So, while the Mayr Method varies from person to person, the basic tenets are woven into the diet, according to a personal recount shared at Women's Health UK. These include chewing every bite at least 40 times, no drinking during mealtime (or within 30 minutes of), supplementation and reduced food intake (think: vegetable broth for dinner).

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Foods You Can (and Can't) Eat

Again, each plan is different, but overall, fasting and reduced portions are encouraged, with a focus on alkaline foods, such as fruits and vegetables. The diet also limits sugar and caffeine.

A sample meal plan from Original FX Mayr includes:

Breakfast

  • A buckwheat roll topped with a vegetarian spread or an egg
  • Sheep's milk yogurt
  • Vegetable bouillon

Lunch

This is individualized, per Original FX Mayr, but is likely to be a light meal such as vegetable soup.

Dinner

A sample dinner may include creamy soup or alkaline bouillon.

Can You Lose Weight Following the Mayr Method?

Yes. If you're eating a light breakfast and possibly vegetable soup and broth for the rest of the day, you will absolutely lose weight. The trouble is, this isn't sustainable (not to mention there are world-class chefs preparing your meals making everything easier and tastier) so you'll likely resort back to old habits once leaving the program or diet.

The Pros and Cons

There are a few pros to the Mayr Method.

The Pros:

  • It encourages mindful, distraction-less eating. Also, chewing your food thoroughly is a good practice to help you to slow down.
  • The diet focuses on eating whole foods.

Cons:

There are also quite a few cons to the Mayr Method.

  • To really experience the Mayr Method, you'd have to attend their luxury spa, which means big bucks.
  • The menu severely restricts calories. While this will deliver weight-loss results, it'll also make you hungry, cranky and, real talk, you can't eat this way forever.
  • It removes caffeine, including coffee. There's no proof that a moderate amount of caffeine from sources like tea or coffee is harmful. In fact, it may be beneficial.
  • There's no evidence that eating the Mayr Method way is healthy or beneficial. There are other diets, like the Mediterranean or Nordic diet that have a body of evidence supporting this way of eating.

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So, Should You Try It?

Hard pass. If you're headed to Austria, skip the pricey spa and enjoy the local culture, including food and drinks instead. If you're trying to lose weight, consider a healthier approach like the Mediterranean diet or simply monitoring your portions and cutting back on added sugars and highly processed foods.

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