Why You Shouldn't Try the 7-Day 'Mayo Clinic' Diet

Grapefruit is an important food in the 7-day "Mayo Clinic" diet.
Image Credit: Yulia Gusterina/iStock/GettyImages

It's easy to get confused when it comes to the various fad diets out there — especially if they have misleading names. That's the case with the 7-day Mayo Clinic diet, which isn't actually connected to or endorsed by the prestigious Mayo Clinic at all. If you're looking for the real deal, get more information on the official Mayo Clinic diet here.

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Here, we'll look at what the 7-day "Mayo Clinic" diet entails, including what foods are included and why you should stay far, far away from it.

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This seven-day fad diet is not backed by any research or health care professionals, and while it might help you lose weight in the short term, it's not a safe way to drop pounds and keep them off. In other words: Don't try this diet.

What Is This 7-Day Diet, Exactly?

There's no specific guideline for this weeklong diet and several versions exist, but in general, it involves eating grapefruit at each meal for seven days and otherwise cutting calories very low in order to produce rapid weight loss (up to 10 pounds, according to some claims).

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Similar to the 3-day "Mayo Clinic" diet, this one typically only allows certain food items, like specific fruits, vegetables and lean proteins with very limited carbohydrates or fats, and it often slashes calories to around 800 per day.

Why You Shouldn't Try This Diet

As we mentioned, this diet is not connected to the Mayo Clinic, and it is not endorsed by any health care professionals.

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Following such a restrictive, low-calorie diet can be dangerous to your health, per the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, for reasons including:

  • Drastically cutting calories can slow down your metabolism, making weight loss harder and making you more likely to gain weight in the future
  • Eating so little may cause fatigue and dizziness, which could lead to injury
  • Getting so few calories means you won't have the energy to exercise, which is part of a healthy lifestyle
  • Fast weight loss often causes you to lose lean muscle
  • Eating such a restrictive diet may lead to nutritional deficiencies
  • Losing weight so quickly puts you at risk for gallstones

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Plus, because the plan only lasts a week, you'll likely return to eating normally after the seven days, which means you'll quickly gain back any weight you lost.

What to Do Instead

The best weight-loss diets have the following things in common:

  • Include at least 1,200 calories for people assigned female at birth or 1,500 calories for people assigned male at birth — this is the minimum number of calories you need to stay healthy
  • Promise no more than 1 to 2 pounds of weight loss per week, which is the maximum amount the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention considers healthy
  • Emphasize eating a variety of nutritious foods from all food groups
  • Encourage other healthy habits like exercise

Science-backed eating plans that are proven to encourage healthy weight loss include the official Mayo Clinic diet and the Mediterranean diet.

If you're not sure where to start or have questions about the best weight-loss diet for you, make an appointment with your doctor or a registered dietitian.

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