Mayo Clinic Diet – What is it?



Mayo Clinic Diet – Overview

Type: Balanced diet.

The aim: Weight loss.

The claim: You’€™ll lose between 6 – 10 pounds in a fortnight with continual loss of 1 – 2 pounds per week until your targeted weight is achieved.

The theory: You change your way of eating, removing bad eating habits and installing good habits by using the special food pyramid from Mayo Clinic.

Will there be weight loss?

Probably, if the rules are followed.

Even though the only study made to evaluate the Mayo clinic diet is from its own clinic, early results proved to be good. The basic ideas on the diet are supported by enough research, which shows its possibility for loss of weight and the maintenance of the new weight.

In 2008, a two-week program involving 53 overweight employees of the Mayo Clinic, called “Lose it!”, was used to test the effectiveness of the diet. The results show an average loss in weight of 8 pounds. Almost all the 46 participant who finished the program lost at least 4 pounds. Most of them were lighter by 6 to 10 pounds. No control group was used.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention informs that low-energy-dense foods are able to give the feeling of fullness on lower calories and help achieve loss of weight. In a study published in 2007, the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition tells of a study with 97 overweight women put at random into two groups, with one group using a low-fat, low-energy-dense diet and the other using the same diet but with emphasis on vegetables and fruits. At the end of a year’€™s study, both groups had weight loss, with the group on vegetables and fruits losing more; a loss of 14 pounds which was 3 pounds more than the other group. However, there is a need for more and bigger controlled studies to confirm the results.

Are there cardiovascular benefits?

Certainly! This diet is similar to the already approved medical profession’€™s concept of diets which are heart-healthy. Consumption of plenty of whole grains, vegetables and fruits but limited amounts of salt and saturated fat is said to be the ideal way to prevent heart disease and control blood pressure and cholesterol.

Can it help to control or prevent diabetes?

The diet is usually considered one of the best for both.


The possibility of getting type 2 diabetes is greatest when a person is overweight. So, the Mayo Clinic diet can certainly help prevent type 2 diabetes if it assists in weight loss. Many experts believe that the diet is the best for the prevention of diabetes since it places importance on the right foods, limits the wrong foods and stresses on regular exercise.


The guidelines of the Mayo Clinic diet are similar to those put forward by the ADA (American Diabetes Association). Since no prepackaged meals or meal plans have to be followed strictly, there is no fear that you may have of not heeding the advice of your doctor.

What about health risks?

There have been no signs of side effects or health risks.

Nevertheless, all those who wish to follow the diet have been advised by Mayo Clinic to consult their doctor before starting on the diet. No age restrictions have been given although the book is mainly directed at adults. Mayo Clinic’€™s advice on behavior and eating habits can be applied to everybody, no matter the age.

Mayo Clinic Diet — Stephanie “Living in Awareness” – Video Guide

Is it agreeable to recommended dietary guidelines?

  • Fat: Since the diet places emphasis on low-fat diary, lean meat, vegetables and fruits, its daily calories from fat will be at the low level of the 20 to 35 percent recommended by the government.
  • Protein: With 21 percent of each day’€™s calories coming from protein, you will be within the government’€™s recommendation of between 10 and 35 percent.
  • Carbohydrates: The amount of calories from carbohydrates is within the recommended range.
  • Salt: Most Americans consume excessive salt. It is recommended that 2,300 mg. is your daily limit but if you are an African-American, aged more than 50 years, have chronic kidney disease, diabetes, or hypertension, the maximum is only 1,500 mg. Since most of your calories from the diet comes from unsalted vegetables and fruits, there should not be any problem. Just put away your salt, search for low-sodium recipes and read the labels carefully.

Other key nutrients:

Known as the “€œnutrients of concern”€ by the 2010 Dietary Guidelines due to the fact that most Americans are lacking in at least one of them:

  • Fiber: Consuming the suggested quantity of between 22 and 34 grams per day assists to give you a feeling of fullness and enhances digestion. Since whole grains, beans, fruits and vegetables in the diet are the main source of fiber, it will be easy to have sufficient of the recommended amount.
  • Potassium: The 2010 Dietary Guidelines informs that enough potassium can overcome salt’€™s tendency to increase blood pressure, reduces bone loss and lowers the possibility of having kidney stones. However, it is difficult to achieve the suggested 4,700 mg. daily from meals alone. Even with bananas which are potassium-rich, you will need to consume 11 each day. Most Americans consume too little. On this diet, however, you will most probably be getting more potassium than others not on the diet as you will be consuming more vegetables and fruits than them.
  • Calcium: Calcium is necessary for the proper functioning of muscles and blood vessels, and to build as well as to maintain bones. Most Americans are unable to have enough. Greater effort to achieve the government’€™s suggested amount of between 1,000 and 1,300 mg. should be made by people older than 50 and women. Although this may be difficult to achieve, it can be done with calcium-fortified cereals and juices, and low-fat dairy products.
  • Vitamin B-12: Adults ought to try to get 2.4 micrograms of vitamin B-12 as this nutrient is essential for cell metabolism. Good sources of this nutrient are fortified cereals, yogurt, and fish such as trout and salmon.
  • Vitamin D: People who are unable to have sufficient sunlight will have to resort to a supplement or food such as fortified cereals, low-fat diary and the sockeye salmon which can provide nearly 20 mcg. of vitamin D from 3 ounces of its meat. The government€’s suggested 15 mcg. of vitamin D is needed to reduce the possibility of bone fractures.
  • No supplements have been recommended.

Are there allowances for preferences and restrictions?

The Mayo Clinic diet is suitable for anyone. You can have your preference. Look below for further information.

Vegan and vegetarian

Most of the food in the diet which consists of whole grains, vegetables and fruits are the main food consumed by vegans and vegetarians. Although the book has no particular guide lines, its basic ideas will show you what to do.


No particular tips are given. Just pick foods which are gluten-free as recommended in the book.


Although the responsibility of choosing the foods which are low in sodium are yours, it ought to be easy as you are advised to get sodium-free frozen or fresh vegetables and fruits. Furthermore, you are advised to eat in moderation those foods which are high in sodium such as dairy products and meat.


You certainly are allowed to use only those ingredients which are kosher.


You can ensure that your food is halal.

What role does exercise play in this diet?

It is a component of the program.

You are required to exercise a minimum of 30 to 60 minutes a day. However, the choice of time and type of exercise is your own decision. Mayo Clinic tells how you can get extra exercise during your day, such as having your car parked some distance away from your workplace or the mall and using the stairs instead of the elevator or lift. They also offer suggestions on overcoming physical limitations and the usual obstacles.

Do’s & Don’ts

  • Do: Buy from the fresh food department of the supermarket.
  • Don’€™t: Take tit-bits in front of the TV.
  • Don’€™t: Consume sugar from the 1st to the 14th day of each month.
  • Do: Cook balanced meals.
*** Posted By Natasha A.Nada ***