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The Complete Scarsdale Medical Diet

Updated on January 1, 2015

Introduction to Scarsdale Medical Diet (SMD)

I have come across the SMD years ago and have been successful in losing 11 pounds over 2 weeks (I was 160lbs and 5'7").

Since then I have tried the Atkins' diet, the 11 day lose-fat-for-idiots diet, south beach and a fully raw fruits and vegetables diet! While many have succeeded at dropping the numbers at the scale, I have to say that the SMD is the one easiest to maintain, not just for the duration of 2 weeks but also in regards to keeping the weight off!

My diet was adapted from a few sheets of paper from an old book. I don't know the author (I believe it is Dr. Tarnower) or the title of the book but I have kept these papers and now decided to sit down and share the content with you in addition to little tips that worked best for me!

The intent of this post is not only to share for the sake of sharing, but to help people who are being suckered into paying money for diets when we know ain't nobody who can afford to lose any money. It also allows people to share their experiences and stories when it comes to losing weight :)

For diabetics, also see

Dr. Tarnower; developer of SMD
Dr. Tarnower; developer of SMD

The Basic Concept

The SMD plan consists of two segments:

1) The Active Diet Segment: weightloss objective

2) Keep Trim Segment: maintaining the weightloss

Although I have personally played with how long I stayed on the diet, the authors recommend 2-week ON then 2-week OFF plan. The main reasoning related to letting your body adjust to it's new weight and learn how to maintain it.

If you lost the weight you were aiming to lose, then HOORAY :) Just switch to the Keep Trim Segment and by then, you would have developed different eating habits... I promise you :)

If you lost some weight (and you will!) but you wanna lose some more, then it is recommended that you go on the Keep Trim Segment for 2 weeks then re-play the Active Diet Segment.

Habit Rules

  1. The Four Pound Stop Signal. This Rule dictates that you should ALWAYS weigh yourself in the morning, in the nude! This eliminates the confusion about how much does your sweater weigh or if your pants are heavier than the shorts you wore yesterday! If you EVER go 4 pounds over your desired weight... reach for the SMD immediately!
  2. Weight Chart. Relating to the first rule, always write down your morning weight in a chart with 14 boxes for the 14 days (2 weeks of SMD, remember :)) I find this extremely useful because the pounds will drop and fast. This is highly encouraging and makes it easier to stick to the diet.

SMD Rules

So now that you're ready to start, let's go over some basic rules. Please understand, these rules are not to be ignored if you intend to lose some weight rather than waste your time!

1) Eat Exactly what is assigned. DO NOT SUBSTITUTE.

2) NO ALCOHOL (I allowed myself 1-2 glasses of wine every weekend when I go out, but you do lose more weight if you avoid it)

3) Only carrots and celery are allowed between meals. You may have as much as you want.

4) Beverages allowed: tea, coffee (black), soda water (with lemon if desired) and diet colas. You may have as much as you want.

** I am not a big fan of aspartame, and there's research showing that it can heighten your blood glucose. Limit the diet colas to maximum of 2 per day.

5) Salads WITHOUT mayonnaise, rich or oily dressings. Only lemon and vinegar or vinaigrettes allowed.

6) NO butter on those veggies, just some lemon please.

7) LEAN protein. Remove the fat and the skin off those chickens and fatty edges from steaks.

8) Indicated combos should be observed. You can remove one item per combo but you cannot add.

9) NEVER overload your stomach. If you feel full, you should stop.

10) Do NOT stay on the diet for more than 14 days.

The SMD 14-day Diet Plan

Breakfast every day

1/2 grapefruit (or 1 cup of seasonal fruit)

1 Slice of WHOLEGRAIN bread, toasted, no spread added

Tea/Coffee (black). No sugar, cream or milk




Assorted Cold cutes (lean meats, chicken, turkey, lean beef)

Tomatoes (raw, grilled or stewed)

Soda water or diet tonic OR tea OR black coffee (nothing added)


Fish or shellfish (any kind, I usually added a tiny bit of butter, that's Ok)

Combination salad (as many greens and veggies as you wish). NO POTATO SALAD.

1 Slice of wholegrain bread, toasted, no spread

1 cup of grapefruit (or any seasonal fruits)

Coffee/tea (nothing added)




Fruit salad (any combination, as much as you want)

Coffee/ Tea (no additions)

Soda water, diet tonic, diet colas


Plenty of grilled, lean beef

Tomatoes, lettuce, celery, olives, brussels sprouts or cucumber

Coffee/Tea (no additions)



Tuna fish or salmon salad (no oil from the fish please) with lemon and vinegar dressing

1 cup grapefruit or melon (or fruit in season)

Coffee, tea or diet colas (no addition or tea, coffee)


Sliced roast lamb without fat

Salad of lettuce, tomatoes, cucumber and celery

Coffee/ tea (no additions)




Two eggs, any style (use as little fat as possible when cooking... basically, don't fry it in butter)

Low-fat cottage cheese

Courgettes, string beans or sliced tomatoes

1 slice of wholegrain bread, toasted, no spread

Coffee/Tea/Diet colas (no additions)


Roast or grilled chicken (no fat, no skin). As much as you want.

Spinach, green peppers and string beans

Coffee/tea (no additions)




Assorted cheese slices


1 Slice of wholegrain bread, toasted, no spread

Coffee/Tea (no additions)


Fish or shellfish

Salad of fresh vegetables

1 Slice of wholegrain bread, toasted, no spread

Coffee/tea (no additions)



Fruit salad, as much as you want

Coffee/Tea (no additions)


Roast turkey or chicken

Salad of tomatoes and lettuce

1 cup of fruits in season

Coffee/Tea (no additions)





Tomatoes, carrots, cabbage, broccoli or cauliflower

1 cup of grapefruit or any fruit in season

Coffee/Tea/Diet colas


Grilled steak (with visible fat removed)

Salad of lettuce, cucumber, celery and tomatoes

Coffee/Tea (no addition)


Week 2 --> REPEAT WEEK 1

Keep Trim Segment

You've lost the weight, now we wanna keep that off!

The Keep Trim Segment is similar the SMD but is less confining. The goal is to maintain good eating habits that you have followed for the past 2 weeks.

Dr. Tarnower has reported that hundreds of patients have successfully followed the plan and I can say that I am one of them!

It is advised to continue your weight charting in order to observe any changes. Many people lose a few extra pounds, most remain within a range of 3 pounds within their last weight at the end of the 2-week diet but no one increases. If you are, review the rules below!

No! No! List

No more than two slices of wholegrain bread per day

No sugar (you may use sugar substitutes)

No potatoes, No spaghetti, No rice, No yams

No dairy fat (whole milk, full fat cheese)

No sweets/desserts (except fruits, sugar-free jelly)

Maintain low alcohol

No fatty meats (sausage, bologna, salami, etc..)

I know this sounds hard! But after the keep trim segment, you can start gradually add some things... because we have a 4-pound rule, remember? ALWAYS weigh yourself and if you see the numbers climbing go back to your SMD.


My Personal Tips

The following are things I do to make sure I don't slip up and gain what I lost :)

1) Use a dumbbell weight at least 3 times a week.

I don't have time for gym. Really. I have one in my apartment complex and NO ONE uses that space. We all lead busy lives, and although ideally we should be down there running our butts off, we don't.

The truth is, cardio burns fat but with quite bit of an effort. If you develop some muscle, then you are guaranteed to burn more calories JUST BY BREATHING. Sounds good to me!

I own one dumbbell and it weight 15 pounds. I do the three exercises you see in the images I posted. There's also a great video about those arm exercises. I get great toned arms and I know my metabolism is KICKING A**.

The key for the weight of the dumbbell is to choose one that gets your arm tired after curling ~10-15 times. I mean TIRED as in you can barely lift it again. Some people start with 5 pounds, some with 10 and others can start with 50 pounds, depending how buff you already are.

I personally (as a woman) don't want huge legs. While holding the extra weight or using a backpack, I just squat 20 times per rep, for three reps.

Both the arm exercises and the squats take less than 10 minutes... 3 times a week (we are talking about 30 mins per week people, to boost your metabolism 24/7! That's a great deal)

This is a great video of exercises for your arms that I followed for a while

2) Use Hemp Oil capsules

Everyone heard about Garcinia Cambogia that is supported by Dr. Oz in order to suppress your appetite. The truth is, the whole buzz is based on one study where a group of dieters where given those garcinia pills while others where given an empty pill. This is a short term study showing that those garcinia pills do cause greater loss.

I would be wary of two things: these are SHORT TERM studies... meaning, we don't know if there are side effects of using those pills for prolonged periods of time. Also, you need to make sure you take a dosage similar to that of the study (3000mg/day) and not less with at least 60% HCA concentration.

I personally got very good suppression of appetite using hemp oil pills. This is an all natural product with no known side effects, long term usage and great for your cardiovascular health as well as cancer suppressant (take at least 8000mg or 8g per day; usualy pills are 1000mg, so take 8 pills --> 2 pills x 4 times/day)

The pills should be taken ~ 45 mins prior to meals.


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    • profile image

      Erica Simmons 

      4 years ago

      Thank you :) I'm gonna try it!


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