If you’ve been searching for ways to lose weight, most likely you’ve heard of the Dr Nowzaradan diet from the TLC documentary show “My 600-lb. Life.” Dr Nowzaradan, a bariatric surgeon in Houston is one of the main professionals on the show. Each episode, he works with extremely obese individuals who are ready to make lifestyle changes and lose weight.
Dr Nowzaradan develops a personalized diet plan for each one of this clients based on their physical capabilities and overall goals. His diet plan is nutritionally balanced and, although it involves calorie restriction and avoiding certain foods, overall it is considered safe for anyone wanting to lose weight, regardless if their desired weight loss is 50 pounds or 5.
Why Patients Love Dr Nowzaradan
While Dr Nowzaradan may have gained his popularity because of the TLC show, he has personally earned his reputation for truly caring about his patients and his ability to help them with a touch of tough-love.
Dr Nowzaradan, or Dr Now as his patients often refer to him is highly respected and loved because of his commitment to them. When Dr Nowzaradan spoke at the Obesity Help conference in 2017 he explained that he helped all patients that came to him, and never used a selection process to pick and choose patients. While other physicians have been known to reject people because of their excessive weight, Dr Nowzaradan works with them to produce life changing results.
Basically, Dr Nowzaradan communicates the facts to his patients, educating about the dangers of obesity and explaining that severe cases can result in death. His straightforward approach is done with kindness, respect, and a strong desire to help.
Why Did He Create the Diet Plan?
Many of Dr Nowzaradan’s patients come to him for lap band or gastric sleeve surgery. However, prior to the surgery, he places them on a calorie restricted diet that helps prepare their bodies for surgery. Surgery poses risks for anyone, but morbid obesity places severe strain on the body’s internal organs and in the interest of patient safety he requires them to eat a diet that limits the daily caloric intake of 1000-1200 calories, consists of low-glycemic vegetables, lean proteins, and complete avoidance of fatty and sugary foods.
Prior to bariatric surgery, patients must achieve the assigned target weight required by Dr Nowzaradan. He gives each patient a weight loss goal based on current weight, health status, gender, activity level, and age. Through achieving the required weight loss, patients help prepare their body for surgery, and by sticking to the strict eating regimen, they’re taking the first step towards leading a healthy new lifestyle.
About Dr Nowzaradan
Dr Younan Nowzaradan earned his medical degree at the University of Tehran in 1970 and has been a surgeon for several years. With his specialties including lap band surgery, gastric sleeve and gastric bypass surgery and surgery revisions, he incorporated the diet plan that helps patients lose weight quickly prior to surgery through eating nutritionally dense foods with a maximum of 1200 calories per day.
While his plan was primarily developed for people that needed to prepare for surgery and lose excessive amounts of weight, the Dr Nowzaradan diet is well-balanced, restricting only unhealthy fatty foods and sugar from the diet. Thus it is safe for anyone wanting to lose weight.
Dr Nowzaradan Diet Plan Overview
The Dr Now diet plan is so successful because it allows you to enjoy nutritious foods from all the different food groups and by consuming no more than 1200 calories daily, the body starts to burn stored fat.
With some of Dr Nowzaradan’s extreme cases, he has been known to limit patients’ calories to less than 1200, but for the purposes of sharing the basis of his diet plan, we’ll stick with the 1200 calories because that number enables people to get essential nutrition to function on a daily basis.
When initially starting out, it’s common to experience hunger. By practicing portion control, drinking plenty of water, and eating the allowed snacks between meals, the hunger pangs will be less noticeable as your body acclimates to the new eating routines.
It’s important to plan your eating times in a way that works best for your body. For instance, if you tend to wake up early and are most productive during the morning hours, it would be ideal to schedule a larger meal for breakfast or lunch and have a lighter dinner. Conversely, someone who is a night owl may find it easy to forego eating until late afternoon or evening and enjoy a larger meal when the appetite is most ravenous.
How the Dr Now Diet Works
Each one of Dr Nowzaradan’s patients is given a specific diet plan that best suits his or her needs so it’s not a one size fits all approach. In fact, the plan is fairly lenient as long as the primary steps are followed. The basis of the diet works by eating only approved foods, tracking calories, overcoming poor eating habits, and maintaining a mindset for success.
The low-calorie aspect is a major component of what makes the diet successful. The Dr Nowzaradan diet limits daily calories to 1200 versus the RDA (recommended dietary allowance) implemented by the Food and Nutrition Board, which states the daily calorie amount for an adult female is 2000 or 2600 for an adult male.
How Much Weight Loss You Can Expect
The rate at which anyone loses weight varies depending on current weight, level of activity, age, and metabolism. However, the low-calorie approach of the Dr Nowzaradan diet typically results in an average weight loss of 3-5 pounds per week for most adults.
Research has shown that reducing calories and achieving a healthy weight helps prolong life, reduce the risk of cancer, disease and brain degeneration and improves the quality of life.
How Long Should You Remain on the Diet?
Because the diet provides well-balanced nutrition there is no set time frame on how long to remain on the diet. Basically, the Dr Nowzaradan diet can be followed long term until the desired weight loss is achieved.
Undoubtedly, the more you adhere to the diet and include a variety of nutritious food choices, the faster you’ll lose weight. Getting started is often the most difficult task, especially if you tend to eat a lot of calories, battle with food addictions, or eat emotionally.
When Dr Now prescribes meal plans and weight loss goals for his patients, the plans are generally followed for several weeks or months depending on the individual. Remember his primary focus is healing a fatty liver prior to surgery to ensure the patient’s safety.
However, as always, consult a licensed professional prior to making any changes to your diet or physical activity.
Meal Plan Samples
As mentioned previously, you should consume more food during the peak hunger times of your day. However, below are sample meals to give you an idea of how to divvy up the calories throughout the day like the Dr Nowzaradan Diet Plan.
385 calories made up of 1 starch or slice of bread equaling 80 calories, 2 ounces protein totaling 160 calories, 100 calorie serving of skim milk, and 1 serving of fat amounting to 45 calories.
Lunch and Dinner:
285 calories that consists of 1 serving or 45 calories of fat, up to a ½ cup serving or 80 calories of starchy vegetables, ½ cup non-starchy vegetables that amounts to 25 calories, and 3 ounces protein that total 135 calories.
75-100 calories of a food high in protein, twice a day.
Foods that Are Allowed
The meal plan samples depict the emphasis on protein in this diet plan and choices should always be low fat, avoiding as much saturated fat as possible. In his personalized meal plans, Dr. Nowzaradan includes a daily protein intake of between 6-8 ounces for men and 4-6 ounces for women.
The allowed protein options include lean meats such as fish, veal, beef, lamb, pork, seafood, and poultry. He also recommends dry beans, egg whites, low fat cottage cheese, and low-calorie, low-fat nuts and seeds.
In addition to protein selections, Dr. Nowzaradan’s other acceptable food items are listed below:
Fruits and Vegetables
Fruits and vegetables are high in vitamins, minerals, and fiber, all of which nourish the body, help prevent cravings, keep you feeling satiated longer, and allow the body to eliminate wastes. Consuming raw fresh fruits and vegetables provides the most nutrition, but if you do choose to cook them, opt for steaming or roasting, and never fry.
Each day you should eat between 5 and 9 servings of fruits and vegetables, avoiding or at least limiting sugary fruits like watermelon and starchy vegetables as much as possible.
A single serving of fruit or starchy vegetables is approximately ½ cup and a single serving of low-starch vegetables is roughly 2 cups.
Low-starch vegetables include broccoli, brussels sprouts, turnips, celery, cabbage, onions, and leafy green vegetables, whereas corn, peas, squash, and potatoes fall into the category of starchy vegetables.
Dr. Nowzaradan is an advocate for dairy as a good source of calcium and recommends 3 cups of low-fat dairy each day. Choices include sour cream, milk, low-fat yogurt, cheese, or cottage cheese sourced from sheep, goats or cows.
When the right choices of grains are consumed, they can be a good source of fiber but are also high in carbohydrates. Therefore, grain-based foods should be used in moderation. It’s best to choose whole grains and ancient grains including brown rice, amaranth, spelt, and quinoa. Men should plan to incorporate 6-7 servings or grains each day and women should aim for 5-6 servings. An ounce equals a serving, which might be a single slice of bread or ½ cup of pasta.
Oils and Fats
During your meal planning, you’ll need to take into account the oils and fats already in the foods as well as calculate what is used in meal preparation. For instance, nuts, seeds, and fish contain healthy omega-3 oils, but red meat is high in saturated fat. Use only healthy cooking oils like olive oil, safflower, vegetable, or peanut oil and avoid things like canola oil.
Foods to Avoid
Because the success of the diet relies on eating a balanced diet comprised of low calorie foods, there are some items to avoid.
Sugary and Sweet Snacks
Avoid dessert type foods including chocolate, candy, cookies, cakes, jams, and snacks of any kind that are sweetened with sugar, molasses, honey, syrup. Also on this “avoid” list are fruit products that are dried, canned, frozen, and processed with added sugar. It is acceptable to use artificial sweeteners such as sucralose and stevia sparingly.
Plan on tossing out the prepackaged processed foods like potato chips, popcorn, cereal, grits, oatmeal, white rice, white pasta, white bread, and crackers.
High-calorie Seeds and Nuts
While Dr. Nowzaradan allows some nuts and seeds, you should avoid the high-calorie choices including almonds, pistachios, peanuts, sunflower seeds, and nut butters. It’s not that these foods are unhealthy overall, they do not meet the low-calorie criteria.
Meal Replacement Foods
Before opting for meal replacement bars and shakes, check the ingredient list for sugar and carbohydrate content, which is typically high.
Juices and Drinks
Avoid soft drinks, fruit juices, alcohol, and energy drinks because they contain large amounts of sugar and little nutrition, if any.
Potatoes are a good source of fiber and protein, but they are also high in carbohydrates and sugar. So while the nightshade ranked on the allowed list, it should be eaten only on occasion and never eat potatoes that have been fried including hash browns or French fries.
With the Dr Nowzaradan diet plan, you have the freedom to create personalized meals that you can enjoy, adjusting the portion sizes to suit your daily routine. Whether that means a large breakfast with lighter meals the remainder of the day or vice versa, as long as you choose from the list of approved foods and don’t exceed the 1200-calorie goal.
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