Rosedale Diet

The Rosedale Diet is a book authored by Doctor and 'Metabolic Specialist' Ron Rosedale.

The Rosedale diet is simply this:

  • Avoid most starchy carbs and sugars.
  • Eat good fats rather than saturated or trans-fats.
  • Eat the 'right' amount of protein.
  • Eat slowly and don't eat 3 hours before bedtime.
  • Eat when you are hungry (rather than counting carbs/calories).
  • It is effectively a high fat, low nonfibrous carb, moderate/low protein diet.

The author blames many weight problems on a hormone called leptin - which seems to be a lot like people blaming all weight problems on insulin. New research has shown that the hormone leptin has some control on how the brain regulates hunger - and it may be that some of us are leptin-resistant.

The essence of the diet plan is a 3 week phase where certain carbs are reduced/eliminated ("the A List"). In this phase you eat the 'cleanest' foods. After this phase, other foods are added back in ("the B List").

Diet Outline

The Rosedale diet deliberately avoids carb or calorie counting, and instead provides guidelines (i.e. foods to eat, foods to avoid). However the protein recommendations seem low (between 50-75 grams per day) - for a male eating 2000 calories per day this equates to only 10-14% of daily intake. If you are engaging in vigorous exercise or weight training - this will not be enough.

Rosedale Supplements

The Rosedale Diet has a large section on supplementation.

If you are on a reduced-calorie diet you should generally be taking a multivitamin-mineral. However, fat loss can and does occur without any supplements. The basis of any good fat loss program is the right diet and exercise. Supplements can only give you that extra edge.

Rosedale recommends a good fish oil, magnesium, and making sure you get plenty of vitamin D from sunlight.

The Final Word

Low Fat will not suit all of us. Low Carb will not suit all of us. The Rosedale Diet may suit some that may have failed elsewhere - but it is not the prescription for everyone. The book seems a little 'carbo-phobic' -- e.g. 'Even broccoli contains some sugar!' It has some excellent sensible advice - but is a diet that has some extremes (e.g. avoid bananas, melon, dried fruit, etc, etc).

It may be especially helpful for Type II diabetics.

Alternative - have a look at our Top 5 Diet recommendations.

User Experience

Many thanks to L. Robinson for summarizing her experiences with the diet. The following content comes from her email.

My Rosedale Diet Experience

"... I was skeptical about the Rosedale diet initially. I only decided to try the diet to be supportive of my fiance who has type II diabetes and has had little success with drug therapy. "

The only time I got sugar cravings were the times that I had not eaten enough during the day. There were a couple of times that I just did not eat in order to avoid eating the "wrong" foods. This was obviously a mistake on my part and I would end up with that, "if I don't get a bowl of cereal right now I'm going to kill someone" feeling.

Exercise

I do exercise, and I'm not sure if what I do would be approved of by Dr. Rosedale. I take a yoga class 2-3 times a week. The book encourages yoga, but not "power" yoga and I don't know where the class that I take falls in the yoga range.

Supplements

I must admit, that I did not do the supplement end of the diet. I of course try to remember to take a daily multivitamin, but I am skeptical about any supplemental regime because of the possibility of toxic build up or simply wasting money by eliminating the overage. Also, because I am uninsured, there was no way for me to get all of the blood tests that he recommends getting before beginning the diet, so I had no way of knowing if I even had all of the problems the supplements address.

Daily Meals

My average day's food initially was only from the recipes in the book while I learned a new way of shopping and cooking (for me the hardest part of the diet). It continues to contain a lot of leafy green vegetables, lean chicken, fish, nuts, and minimal fruits. In the morning I usually have a mixture of pine nuts with a small amount of berries with a little half & half and some cinnamon (I occasionally "cheat" and also cut up a banana into the mixture), I snack a couple times a day, usually on nuts or olives because they are convenient when I am busy.

For lunch I usually eat something left over from a previous dinner (soup, chicken with salad greens, fish, turkey, etc.).

For dinner, I would have to say it's just more of the same. I actually have a hard time eating as much food as is recommended in the book, so, as I have become more confident in knowing what foods are "good" and which foods are "bad" I have just made adjustments to personalize it to what I am apparently needing.

Recipes

My biggest criticism of the book has to do with the recipe section. First of all, there are a few recipes that are just awful in my opinion, I don't know why he even bothered with the desserts. The recipes are not clearly written, so some of the cooking is guess work. For example, a recipe might call for "a bunch" of cilantro... well, I can go to one local grocery store and find 10 different sized bunches, so how much is that? Also, the recipe might give a cooking time for fish without giving any indication of what size the fish should be, so an inexperienced cook could easily under or overcook the fish.

The thing that bothers me most about the recipes is that they include foods that are supposed to be avoided during that first two week period of the diet. It seems to me that the first two weeks is when people will really need recipe guidance to get through and to relearn feeding themselves.

Overall

The thing that I am most convinced that is correct about Dr. Rosedale's view is the elimination of bad fats and the inclusion of fairly large quantities of good fats and the elimination of empty carbohydrates. While my case is only anecdotal support for proof of leptin resistance, I'm fairly convinced that this resistance exists because of how long I had been trying to lose weight before I started this diet and the fact that when I "went off" the diet I continued to lose weight (albeit at a MUCH slower rate).

For the sake of giving you a clearer picture of what my body had been through before losing weight and why I am convinced that Dr. Rosedale is onto something, I will give you more personal information. There was a period of about a year in my late twenties where I almost literally did not eat. I lived on coca cola and cigarettes and probably only ate the equivalent of one small meal a day (if that). I was suffering a fairly severe depression without counseling and without medical treatment. When I began to recover from the depression people started feeding me. Needless to say my body thought it'd better grab all it could and hang onto it forever. I went from 135 pounds to 195 pounds in under a year. For three years I tried the "everything in moderation" route, got a moderate amount of exercise and never lost a pound.

On the Rosedale Diet I lost almost 15 pounds in the first two weeks and according to my scale this morning I have lost a total of 33 pounds. Immediately before I started the diet I had been exercising more aggressively and trying to just cut back calories on my own. I was doing the same yoga that I am now and also walking and the scale wouldn't budge. So, you can see why I am convinced that it's a good diet. Especially because there has been absolutely no slingshot effect from going off the diet as I have heard can happen in other low carb diets.

Final Opinion

So, do I think that overall the diet is a good one? Absolutely. Do I think that the book could be better written, clearer, and less self contradicting? Absolutely. I don't think that The Rosedale Diet needs new science, I think that it's worst offense is needing a better editor and test kitchen.

Get the Rosedale diet from Amazon

References

  • Wing, R. R., Sinha, M. K., Considine, R. V., Lang, W., & Caro, J. F. (1996). Relationship between weight loss maintenance and changes in serum leptin levels. Hormone and metabolic research, 28(12), 698-703. Link
  • Rosenbaum, M., Sy, M., Pavlovich, K., Leibel, R. L., & Hirsch, J. (2008). Leptin reverses weight loss–induced changes in regional neural activity responses to visual food stimuli. The Journal of clinical investigation, 118(7), 2583-2591. Link
  • Doucet, E., St. Pierre, S., Alméras, N., Mauriège, P., Richard, D., & Tremblay, A. (2000). Changes in Energy Expenditure and Substrate Oxidation Resulting from Weight Loss in Obese Men and Women: Is There an Important Contribution of Leptin? 1. The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, 85(4), 1550-1556. Link
Last updated 30 Dec 2014