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The Mayo Clinic Diet
Big Claims, Temporary Results

The following statements really sent off warning bells in my head: "Do not eliminate anything from the diet, especially do not skip bacon at breakfast…" and "Grapefruit is what starts the fat-burning up process." As well as, "If you eat the combination of foods suggested, you will not get hungry." Could the phrase "eat all the meat you want" as part of the plan have possibly anything to do with not feeling hungry? The fad diet detective in me says, "Yes, indeed."

Whichever version of the Mayo Clinic Diet you encounter, they all have one thing in common: they say you will lose lots of weight, very quickly… like magic. Actually, you probably would lose a lot of weight rather quickly. But, like many other quick-weight-loss diets, most of that weight is actually going to be water... and as we have all heard in recent years: quick weight loss equals temporary results. And if the weight loss continues as rapidly as the diet claims -- 52 pounds in two months -- common sense says that a diet bringing such drastic results so quickly cannot be safe.

Even the proponents of this diet say the results aren't permanent. The dieter's page I used as a reference said, "This probably isn't safe to live on. In fact you probably shouldn't be on this for more than two months. After that you should probably start a low-carb diet maintenace plan." In other words, if you go back to eating normally, you're going to gain it all back… and then some, most likely.

If the changes a diet recommends are something you cannot do for the rest of your life, or in this case, are unsafe to do for more than a short period of time, there's your first indication that it's not worth doing. As the official Mayo Clinic Web site says: "These diets may promote temporary quick weight loss, however, they are not nutritionally balanced or a safe method of weight loss for long-term success." The Clinic instead recommends that we follow the nutrition guidelines set forth in the food guide pyramid.

You can find more information about the dietary guidelines at the DHHS Web site, or you can write to the Consumer Information Center, Department 378-C, Pueblo, CO. The Clinic has also set up a special recorded message about the diet at (507) 538-0287.

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