Scarsdale medical diet

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File:Scarsdale diet.jpg
Cover of The Complete Scarsdale Medical Diet

Scarsdale Medical Diet Created in the 1970s by Dr. Herman Tarnower, the Scarsdale Diet is named for the town in New York in which Dr. Tarnower conducted his thriving medical practice, before meeting his untimely death by the hands of his long-time lover, Jean Harris. As a medical doctor specializing in treating obesity, Dr. Tarnower combined the medical phenomenon of ketosis, and its ability to generate weight loss, with an MD-designed food program that causes ketosis in otherwise healthy individuals.

The Complete Scarsdale Medical Diet is a low-fat, low-calorie weight-loss diet system with accompanying book The Complete Scarsdale Medical Diet plus Dr. Tarnower's Lifetime Keep-Slim Program by Scarsdale, New York physician Herman Tarnower with the co-author Samm Sinclair Baker.

Scarsdale Medical Diet

The Scarsdale Medical Diet specifies a very specific and structured diet that is to be followed exactly for the first 14 days, another 14 day period follows that still specifies certain foods to eat, but is less structured and allows additional foods.[1] A grapefruit for breakfast each day is meant to supply enzymes necessary for burning the 700-calorie per day diet. Artificial sweeteners are used in place of sugar.

Critics acknowledge that the diet gives quick results but say that weight loss on the plan results simply from the reduced caloric intake, and is mostly water weight that is quickly regained.[2] In addition, critics argue that the diet is no better than any other diet that changes eating behavior. [3]


The book, originally published in 1978, received an unexpected boost in popular sales when its author, Herman Tarnower, was murdered on March 10, 1980, by his long-time lover Jean Harris, the headmistress of The Madeira School, a fashionable boarding school for high school girls in McLean, Virginia. The murder was the subject of a 2005 made-for-TV movie called Mrs. Harris.


  1. "Scarsdale Diet". Retrieved 2009-03-09.
  2. Swartz, Jacqueline (March 15, 1982). "The sense and nonsense of the best-selling diet books". Canadian Medical Association Journal. Canadian Medical Association. 126: 696–701.
  3. Wing, Rena R.; Epstein, Leonard H.; Shapira, Barbara (Jun 1982). "The effect of increasing initial weight loss with the Scarsdale Diet on subsequent weight loss in a behavioral treatment program". Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology. American Psychological Association. 50 (3): 446–447.

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