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The Dubrow Diet was created by “The Real Housewives of Orange County” reality star Heather Dubrow and her husband, Dr. Terry Dubrow, a Newport Beach plastic surgeon and star on “Botched.” According to their book “The Dubrow Diet: Interval Eating to Lose Weight and Feel Ageless,” the couple was tired of all the yo-yo dieting they had done for years, so they developed their own program and finally found success.
The Dubrow Diet claims to help you lose weight, improve your skin’s appearance, increase your energy, help stabilize blood sugars, decrease inflammation in your body and have powerful anti-aging properties. But does it work? Read on to learn more about the plan’s details, potential benefits and risks.
|No. 1||WeightWatchers||WeightWatchers is focused on inspiring healthy living and improving overall well-being. That includes taking a holistic approach to help members eat healthier and move more.|
|No. 2||Dash Diet||DASH diet, which stands for dietary approaches to stop hypertension, is a flexible, balanced and heart-healthy eating plan promoted by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute to stop (or prevent) high blood pressure.|
|Mayo Clinic Diet||Using evidence-based behavioral science, the Mayo Clinic diet is a 12-week program that is designed to establish healthy habits for life.|
|TLC Diet||The Therapeutic Lifestyle Changes diet calls for eating plenty of vegetables, fruits, bread, cereals and lean meats. The guidelines are broad enough that you’ll have a lot of latitude with what you eat.|
|No. 5||Flexitarian Diet||With a flexitarian diet, also known as a semi-vegetarian diet, you don’t have to completely eliminate meat to reap the health benefits associated with vegetarianism.|
How Can You Start Following the Dubrow Diet?
To truly follow this diet, you’ll need to buy the book. It describes in detail the phases of the diet and provides sample meal plans, food lists, recipes and recommended supplements. To summarize, the diet is basically intermittent fasting, even though they call it interval eating, broken into three phases.
The first phase, called “Red-Carpet Ready,” lasts two to five days and consists of 16 hours of fasting (or “resetting,” the preferred terminology per the Dubrows) with eight hours of eating (or “refueling,” again preferred terminology) and will be consuming around 1,000 to 2,000 calories per day.
The second phase, “Summer Is Coming,” comes in three varieties, depending on how challenging you are finding the fasting and how quickly you would like to meet your goal. The slow speed includes a 12-hour reset and a 12-hour refuel, the medium speed is a 14-hour reset and 10-hour refuel, and the fast speed is a 16-hour reset and eight-hour refuel. Each speed also comes with some type of “cheat” moment, meal or day.
The third phase, “Look Hot While Living Like a Human,” is marketed as the eating schedule you to maintain long term. On it, you follow a 12-hour reset/12-hour eating schedule five days a week and a 16-hour reset/eight-hour eating plan the other two days. You can choose which days you would like to do what.
What Can You Eat on the Dubrow Diet?
The Dubrow Diet is not just about when you eat, it also dictates what type of foods and how much you can eat of each. Phase 1 introduces a customizable meal planner that gives the reader directions on protein, carbohydrate and veggie servings. It also provides food lists and sample meal plans. Phase 2 follows the same meal planner but with an expanded food list and more sample meal plans.
During refueling, the Dubrows encourage a variety of foods, but with very specific portion sizes and frequency. For example, a protein serving is 3 to 4 ounces, two to three times per day; fruit is 1 cup or one small individual fruit per day; and carbohydrates include a half-cup of a complex carbohydrate, such as lentils, barley or a slice of multigrain bread per day. White flour is discouraged.
Non-fat dairy is allowed in phase one, and 2% fat is introduced in the second phase. Overall, the food choices expand slightly in phase two, when people are allowed to drink alcohol in moderation. That’s two drinks for a man, one drink a day for a woman.
In phase 3, you are encouraged to continue eating the foods that you grew accustomed to during phases 1 and 2. The Dubrows say you can be a little more liberal with portion sizes in this phase; however, if your weight starts to climb back up, you need to revisit them.
When fasting, the Dubrows allow beverages and supplements that have no sugar and minimal calories (no more than 100 calories total). For example, you can drink water, coffee, unsweetened tea and powdered beet or greens-based supplement drinks.
Dubrow Diet Food List
- Lean protein: leaner cuts of beef, poultry, fish, tofu and eggs.
- Healthy fats: olive oil, avocado, nuts, and seeds.
- Lower-carb vegetables: leafy greens, broccoli, asparagus and Brussels sprouts.
- Fruits: berries, cantaloupe, apples and watermelon.
- Whole grains: quinoa, barley and oats.
- Legumes: lentils, chickpeas and white beans.
- Dairy products: Greek yogurt, cheese and milk (non-fat only in phase 1).
- Beverages: water, herbal tea and unsweetened coffee and tea.
Foods to avoid:
- Processed foods: chips, crackers, candy and baked goods.
- Refined sugar: Table sugar, high-fructose corn syrup and evaporated cane juice.
- Higher-carb foods: white bread, white rice, pasta and potatoes (sweet potatoes OK).
- Fried foods: french fries and fried chicken.
- Processed meats: hot dogs, sausage, bacon and deli meat.
- Alcohol: Beer, wine and distilled spirits (OK in phases 2 and 3).
Is the Dubrow Diet Healthy?
As far as the Dubrow’s health claims of weight loss, improved skin appearance, increased energy, stabilized blood sugars, decreased inflammation in your body and anti-aging benefits there doesn’t appear to be any specific research that includes the Dubrow Diet itself. However, there is indirect research on some of its components, such as intermittent fasting. To date, the research on intermittent fasting is inconclusive, and a lot of the studies themselves have been conducted on animal subjects. The most promising studies though have been associated with weight loss, but the question remains: Is it interval eating or calorie restriction that appears to lead to positive results?
Research on antioxidant-rich foods, which are part of the Dubrow Diet, may result in improved skin appearance, as well as decreased inflammation and anti-aging benefits; however, these types of foods can just as easily be incorporated in a less restrictive diet, such as the Mediterranean diet.
On the upside, the Dubrow Diet encourages eating a variety of nutritious foods such as veggies, fruits, legumes, nuts, yogurt and seafood, which, as a nutrition expert, I applaud. And if weight loss is your goal, you will probably lose weight on this diet because you are watching your portion sizes and eating fewer calories.
Also, the Dubrow’s use of the word “cheat” as a prefix to moment, meal or day is rather dated. Most of us have done away with that word and attitude toward food because it ties guilt with food or eating, which is neither helpful nor healthy.
And even though the Dubrows constantly refer to their plan as a lifestyle, to me, it still comes across as very diet-oriented and hard to sustain in the long run. And don’t get me going on the names of the phases, “Look Hot While Living Like a Human,” it’s as if they encourage vanity over health.
The Dubrow Diet may work for the Dubrows, but like any restrictive diet, whether it works for you depends on whether it’s something you can enjoy and stick to long term – and you are the best judge of that.