Mayo Clinic Diet

The Mayo Clinic Diet continues to cause considerable confusion.

This is not an “official” Mayo Clinic Diet. The Mayo Clinic health center (based in Rochester, USA) categorically states that it had never endorsed any diet plan until December 2005, when it was announced that the official Mayo Clinic Plan was available via the Internet.

The clinic does however provide a number of guidelines for healthy eating – including the new Mayo Clinic Healthy Weight Pyramid (aka Mayo Clinic Food Pyramid).

What is the unofficial “Mayo Clinic Diet”?

What was supposedly the Mayo Clinic Diet is a fad or crash diet. It is based around grapefruit, lots of salad and protein, and little carbohydrates. Weight loss was supposed to be in the region of 50-55 pounds in 10 weeks.

Mayo Clinic Diet – Meal Plan

This is a copy of the fad diet – and it IS NOT RECOMMENDED. Representatives from the Mayo Clinic have disavowed this diet. From the Medical Edge Newsletter July 2005:

“Versions of a Mayo Clinic Diet have been circulating for decades. Most push grapefruit, eggs, cabbage soup or meat and promise dramatic weight loss. None of these diets is associated with or has been endorsed by Mayo Clinic.”

12 days on – 2 days off

1/2 Grapefruit or 4 oz. Grapefruit Juice (unsweetened)
2 Eggs (any style)
2 Slices Bacon
1/2 Grapefruit or 4 oz. Grapefruit Juice (unsweetened)
Meat (any style, any amount)
Salad (any kind of dressing)
1/2 Grapefruit or 4 oz. Grapefruit Juice (unsweetened)
Meat (any style, any amount) (fish may be substituted for meat)
Vegetables (any green, yellow, or red vegetables cooked in butter or any seasoning)
Bed Time Snack
1 glass tomato juice or 1 glass Skim milk

Vegetables Allowed
Red onions, green onions, bell peppers, radishes, cucumbers, broccoli, spinach, lettuce, cabbage, carrots, peas.

Vegetables to Avoid
White onions, potatoes, celery.


  1. At any meal you may eat until you are full – until you can’t eat any more.
  2. Don’t eliminate anything from the diet, especially don’t skip bacon at breakfast or omit salads. It is the combination of foods that burn fat.
  3. The grapefruit is important because it acts as a catalyst that starts the burning process.
  4. Cut down on caffeine – it affects the insulin balance that hinders the burning process. Try to limit to 1 cup per meal at mealtime.
  5. Don’t eat between meals. If you eat the combination of food suggested you will not be hungry.
  6. Note that the diet completely eliminates sugar and starches, which are lipids and form fat. Fat doesn’t form fat; it helps burn it. You can fry food in butter and use butter generously on vegetables.
  7. Do not eat desserts, bread, and white vegetables or sweet potatoes. You may double or triple helpings of meat, salad, or vegetables. Eat until you are stuffed. The more you eat of the proper combination of food, the more you lose.

See Also

See the official Mayo Clinic diet program

 By Mizpah Matus B.Hlth.Sc(Hons)
  • KATZ, D. L. (2003). Pandemic obesity and the contagion of nutritional nonsense. Public health reviews, 31(1), 33-44. link.
  • Lissner, L., Steen, S. N., & Brownell, K. D. (1992). Weight reduction diets and health promotion. American journal of preventive medicine. link
  • Xydakis, A. M., Case, C. C., Jones, P. H., Hoogeveen, R. C., Liu, M. Y., Smith, E. O. B., … & Ballantyne, C. M. (2004). Adiponectin, inflammation, and the expression of the metabolic syndrome in obese individuals: the impact of rapid weight loss through caloric restriction. The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, 89(6), 2697-2703. link
  • – Health information from the Official Mayo Clinic.
  • – Official site of the actual Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minneapolis, USA.


  1. Velda, Kingsland, Ga

    Today is May 28th, this is the day that I will be starting this diet. After reading everyone post, I feel real good about trying this out and seeing how this works for me. Currently, I am 250 pounds trying to get to 150 pounds by Nov. ShauntaeC after reading your post, you gave me the strength to do this. I think one thing that everyone has to keep in mind is. Everyone is not going to get the same results. Come the 10th day, if I lost 5 pounds and someone else lost 10 pounds, this will not discourage me in stopping from obtaining my goal. So for everyone that feels like they didn’t see great results in the first few days HANG IN THERE and figure out what are you not doing and push threw it. We all can do it. I will check back in 10 days to do a follow up, wish me well. Until then Happy Dieting

  2. anonymous

    I tried this diet 4 years ago and lost 40lbs..even after I was off it I watched my carbs…to a point…too many Maragritas and I have gained 12 lbs back…I am NOW BACK ON IT AGAIN…today is my 5th day..yeah!!!! and I have lost the first 5lbs. THIS IS THE ONLY DIET I HAVE EVER TIRED THAT WORKS,,,EVEN WITHOUT EXERCISE!~!! DO IT…BUT DO IT HONESTLY …THE TIME ( 12 DAYS WILL PASS ANYWAY)

  3. Maria

    I’m going to start tomorrow 28th May… will come back in 12 days. Wish me luck !

  4. Carollee

    I lost 10 lbs the first 12 days now Im starting back after 2 days off. As for the medication question, grapefruit juice does have an effcet on the statins (Cholesterol meds) and on some of the BP meds.
    Check out the warnings on your medication list before you start. You could always take out the grapefruit juice. The grapefruit juice in the plan keeps your body from going into ketosis (This is when your body uses your own fat stores for energy instead of glycogen). You will still lose with or without the Juice.

  5. Anonymous

    This diet does work even though I have heard over and over that it is not healthy for you if you are on it for long periods of time. I tried this diet years ago and I lost 20 pounds in like 6 weeks. It works !!! I kept the weight off for 2 years until I started back eating all the carbs. I think I might start this diet after the holiday.



  7. Emily

    My mother and I are starting this diet tomorrow. I really hope this works because I’ve always been overweight. I will get back to yall in 10 days.

  8. Anonymous

    I’ve been on this diet for over a week now. I lost 5 pounds within the first few days; however, I’ve remained at the same weight ever since. I don’t know whether it’s worth it to stay on the diet, or if I should just quit and find another plan more suitable for me.

    Any suggestions?? I could use some advice.

  9. Anonymous

    I’ve been on this diet before about 5 years ago and it worked and I kept the weight off for about 2 years after. Now I have gained more weight than when I started back then, As of yesterday 5/20/08 I’ve started again, hope I have good news in the next 10 days.

  10. jen

    this diet does NOT work i tried it for 5 weeks and gained 43 pounds how stupid

  11. penny

    I have been on the diet for ten days now and have only lost three pounds. I have followed the diet exactly the way it says, so then why I am I not losing the weight

  12. dsfkj

    This diet does work, though it is at times hard to stick to. I lost 5 pounds within the first few days; however, it is extremely hard fitting in the grapefruit at every meal, especially when you’re eating out. Follow the diet exactly, and you’ll lose weight; it’s not that hard once you start.

  13. Angela

    12 days and I have lost 9lbs. Im going to keep going and hope to reach my goal of 20lbs by julys vacation

  14. Donny

    I’ve been on the diet for about 3 weeks, started out 10 days straight, off 2 days (no sugar) back on 9 days. I’ve lost 16 lbs. But, the last couple days I’ve got the jitters, my heart is also racing a bit, has anyone experienced this?

  15. Jenay

    I have been on this diet for 2 weeks now and has lost 12lbs……it really does work….some days I really crave sweets but I quickly think about my goal and stick to my diet….this weekend I get to eat what I want and I can’t wait I have my Haagen Daz ice cream waiting for me…..Hopefully I will reach my desire size by July……I will keep in touch….oh and good luck to everyone who is trying this diet….just stick to it so we all can lose weight and feel great together…

  16. Anonymous

    Janice, On some websites it says you can have cheese. You can have ketchup, mustard, and mayo. I just limit my intake of ketchup and BBQ sauce b/c I know how much sugar are in these. As for the tea and coffee, you don’t have to drink them, it is just listed in the meal plan to limit it to meal times if you want it. Some people drink tea and coffee all day long. I think this is good for those people, they can still have it its just limited.

  17. LaShona

    I plan to start this diet on Monday 5-19-08 I plan to stick to it for one month just to see if it work, wish me luck and I wish all of you must success.

  18. Peg M

    I did this diet 7 years ago and lost 10lbs and stalled out, but it was the boost I needed. I am starting on Monday May 19th and hoping to lose, anything would be great! When I did this before I thought you had to drink 8oz of grapefruit juice? I will post when I get under way and look forward to reading every one else’s reports.

  19. Carollee

    Attn: Anonymous, on the following website is a little more info on what you can and cant have. Take a look about the cheese.

  20. Carollee

    8 more days, I want something sweet so bad. I just chewed on some sugar free gum today. I got some cheesecake in the freezer for my 2 days off, I cant wait.Yummo!!!!

  21. Penny

    Does anyone know if eating plain or bbq pork skins would be allowed on the diet? I just thought it would be a nice snack..

  22. Janice/Bernadine

    can I have cheese? Can I have ketcup, mustard, mayo? Can I skip the coffee and Tea? Do I have to drink it 3 times a day? Please let me know. I want to succeed on this diet

  23. Hales

    I have just recently joined the USAF and I am looking to lose weight/get into better shape to kick some butt at basic! My recruiter recommended this diet to me and I am starting tomorrow. 5-15-08. Ill write back in a few days. yuumm grape fruit!

  24. Carollee/ SC

    I don’t see my comment posted????

  25. Carollee/ South carolina

    I started this plan on Monday, 5-12-08, I have done this plan before after the birth of my son, and I dropped an enormous amount of weight. I went from 200lbs to 135 in about 3 months. I just hope it works the same I was only 18 then and now I am 25. I had a baby girl in December of 2006, I gained around 100lbs. I ate like a pig no complications though. Well after having her I dropped about 75lbs on weight watchers but I am so freaking tired of counting calories and eating small amounts of food to get to 24 points. I weighed 178.4 when I started on Monday, Ill check back in and see how you guys are doing, and let you know about me.
    Lori what part of SC do you live in? GOOD LUCK!!!!!

  26. Anonymous

    can you have cheese?

  27. Anonymous

    what about taking apple cider vinegar with the diet, will it still work? I read that taking the vinegar helps burn fat, is this true?

  28. GUY

    I exercise daily with an hour of cardio along side with weights.

    I’m trying to drop around 10-15 pounds and was told about this by my cousin.

    I started yesterday and got 10 days to go.

  29. penny

    can we have chesse on our salads does anyone know

  30. JBizzles

    No cauliflower-no white veggies
    No extra bacon instead of eggs–it has to be followed to the letter to work-
    I did this diet 8 yrs ago-lost 10 lbs in 1 1/2 weeks! After baby #3 I am starting it again tomorrow

  31. Geliani

    I just started this diet A DAY ago, and I already feel better. I must admit, I never ate healthy… EVER! I LOVE JUNK FOOD LIKE NO OTHER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    In HS I was very thin… like, 89 pounds thin. It’s been four years since I’ve been out of school, and I am now 130 lbs… It’s to the point where I don’t feel comfortable in my own skin and just want to do this to feel better.

    My mom did this diet when I was younger and she said that it def works and that i will have more energy. especially since cookies, cakes and candies are off limits!

    But this diet is cheap and easy. I haven’t craved my lovely cookies and snacks I am oh so addicted too.

    Gotta say, my new favorite fruit is GRAPEFRUIT!!!!

  32. Lori in South Carolina

    I lost weight on this diet about 10 years ago. I currently want to lose the extra 10+ lbs that creeped up on me this winter. So, today 5/13/08—I begin—Grapefruit here I come! I will report back in a few days!

  33. penny

    can you have barbecued ribs on this diet

  34. ShauntaeC

    Ive started this healthy way of living. 5-12-08 my goal is to get down to 150 pounds. Im currently @ 268 pounds and my go is to be down to 150 pounds by Dec 31,2008.

  35. Anonymous

    does anyone know if you can have cauliflower on the diet

  36. angelia

    I have been on this diet before, and it really worked for me. I am going to start it again and hope to lose the weight I want to lose. I will talk to you in 12 days. I hope for positive results.

  37. penny

    ive done this diet before lost weight but i seem to stay at a weight plato i hope i can stick to it longer chck back later

  38. Sandra S.

    After drinking Slimfast everyday for months, I’ve only lost 8 lbs. Now I’m down to the wire for my cruise IN TWO WEEKS! I just started a great toning routine, along with the 8-min. Tae-Bo, but I need a serious jumpstart! I remembered my friend lost 30 lbs. doing this a few years ago, and it worked for me when I stuck to it for a week, so I’m going to try it again. I have approximately 12 days left, and I need to lose 10-15 lbs. to look good in my dresses. Here it goes!!!!!! Pray for me!

  39. Patrice

    I initially did this diet in 2004. I went from a sizw 24 to 14 in a 3 mo. time span. Of course wit excercise. I had surgery 2 years later and gained it back plus. So I am looking to give it aanother try.

  40. Penny

    Think I am going to try this diet..I have excessive weight gain in my stomach and seems like I cant seem to stick with a diet.. Hope this works..

  41. Dawn

    Question???? I am not one to eat eggs….does anyone know if extra bacon can be substituted for the eggs

  42. Angela

    I started the diet today 5-8-08. I am 155 pounds, 31 pounds over weight. My goal is to loose 20 pounds before vacation in July! I am also starting pilates. I will check back in 12 days!

  43. Deb

    Yes, this is a fad diet and like other fad diets, they work with some drawbacks. This is not a healthy diet to live on. It is good too get the weight down and then be smart and choose a healthy lifestyle.

    I started yesterday (05/07/08). This is my 2nd round with it. Health issues and stupidity for letting stress cause me to stop living a healthy lifestyle caused me to gain weight.

    My intention is to use this as a quick loss to start, then return to living a healthy lifestyle.

    Good luck to everyone!

  44. Ashlynn

    I’m 154 pounds and thirteen years old.And I can’t wait to drop the pounds.I sometimes get picked on, and talked about.And enough is enough.I want to become an actress.But I have to drop the pounds before I start.I hope this diet works like Anikin said it would.

  45. Anikin

    I know one girl who has lost a substansial amount of weight from this diet.

    I know its a “fad” but it really does work!

  46. Lori McClurg

    My sister and I are starting the mayo diet today, 5-5-08 we hope it will be a good jump start for us to start a healthy life style.
    We have both lost weight , her 45lbs and Me 70 lbs in the last couple years by watching the carbs and sugar and exercising at Curves But we have both hit a plato. We pray this diet will work.

  47. diana

    this diet is really great a friend told me about this diet and yes of course it works i have being on it for 12 day and i did lost like 9 pounds I feel great

  48. Breezlea

    This diet does work if you commit to it. I tried it and lost 20lbs in one month time. A relative of mine introduced me to it and he was 150lbs over-weight,
    He lost his EXTRA pounds and has kept if off for the past seven years. I am going to do it again because I had a baby and gained as mothers do. It works as long as you follow it. It is mainly protein in the diet and protein burns fat…. the veggies are good to keep you immune system up. Stay strong to ALL whom are trying to get rid of those extra LBS and be HEALTHY!

  49. tayyy+nickkkk

    great diet plann its helpeddd uss SOO much in life,

  50. april green

    i really liked the diet i lost substantial amount of weight on it. i had sense to know that it was a jumpstart and i needed that in order to loose some weight before i was physically able to exercise. other positives were that i did not crave sweets after for the longest. the only drawbacks i experienced sometimes was heartburn, which i normally get anyway but seemed to increase, and dizziness when i was out in the sun, i think that had to do with the grapefruit.everyone i know who went on the diet lost 10=pounds in like a two week period.

Last Reviewed: January 16, 2018