Weight Loss Kick Start Diet

The 21-Day Weight Loss Kick Start Diet was created by Dr. Neal Barnard, physician, clinical researcher and associate professor of medicine at the George Washington University School of Medicine.

This program was designed to help dieters get fast results in their goals to lose weight and improve their health by eating a diet that “is as close to perfect as is humanly possible.”

Barnard says that by following his advice on how to start eating a plant-based diet, you will be able to lower your cholesterol and blood pressure, improve glucose balance and boost your energy.

He also promises that you will be able to lose weight without deprivation, calorie counting, or the need to exercise, all while you enjoy delicious meals.

Kick Start Diet Basics

At the beginning of the program your first task is not to actually start dieting, but to explore the possibilities of healthy foods that you enjoy. Barnard says that you are not changing your diet, you are just trying new things to see if you like them.

You then get started on the 21-day program into which you incorporate the healthy foods that you have selected. While the goal is to adjust your eating habits for life, Barnard believes that following a short-term plan, such as this, makes it easier to make lasting positive changes.

The basic principles of the meal plan involve avoiding animal products, limiting the use of oils as much as possible and emphasizing low glycemic carbohydrates. In basic terms, this is a low-fat vegan diet. Alcohol is allowed in moderation; two drinks a day for men and one for women.

The Kick Start Diet is divided into three parts:

  1. A for Appetite Control:You learn the secrets to quickly reprogram your body and reduce your appetite. This is achieved by strategically selecting foods that reduce hunger, which are those high in fiber, low in fat and low glycemic. You will also avoid foods you have identified that may trigger overeating.
  2. B for Burn Enhancement:To keep your metabolism high and enhance your rate of fat burning it is necessary to avoid extreme dieting or prolonged adherence to a low calorie diet.
  3. C for Cardioprotection:

To support heart health you will avoid animal fat, tropical oils and trans fats and keep other oils to a minimum. It is also helpful to emphasize cholesterol-lowering foods, stop smoking, stay physically active and avoid low-carb diets.

Recommended Foods

Whole grain bread, brown rice, oatmeal, black beans, chickpeas, lentils, tofu, tempeh, soy milk, seitan, vegetables, fruit, nonfat salad dressing, balsamic vinegar, tamari, nondairy mayonnaise, salsa, nutritional yeast.

Sample Kick Start Diet Plan


Mango spice breakfast smoothie
Oatmeal with blueberries


Hummus with sun-dried tomato wrap
Low-fat baked tortilla chips


Quick black bean chili
Rice topped with tomatillo sauce
Warmed corn tortillas

Exercise Recommendations

The Weight loss Kick Start Diet mentions the benefits of exercise for cardiovascular health and says that it can increase our levels of “good” HDL cholesterol as well as assisting with the control of blood pressure.

For dieters with serious health conditions he suggests contacting a health care provider to check whether it is ok to exercise and how rapidly to begin.

However, on this plan exercise is optional because Barnard’s research shows that dramatic results can be improved with nutrition alone, so the book does not include exercise guidelines.

Costs and Expenses

21-Day Weight Loss Kick Start: Boost Metabolism, Lower Cholesterol, and Dramatically Improve Your Health retails at $25.99.


  • Focus is on improving health, not just weight loss.
  • Clinically proven to be effective as a long-term approach to weight management.
  • 21-day program is easily achievable by most people.
  • Includes a meal plan with recipes.
  • May reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.
  • Does not require avoidance of carbohydrates.
  • Provides advice on how to adapt recipes to be more healthful.


  • Will not appeal to dieters who prefer not to eat a vegan diet.
  • Meal plans appear to be low in essential fats.
  • Some dieters may experience hunger, blood sugar-imbalances or fatigue on a low-fat diet.
  • Requires more time to be spent cooking and meal planning.

A vegan Diet

21-Day Weight Loss Kick Start Diet will appeal to dieters who want to see fast results in regards to weight loss and health improvements, especially for conditions such as coronary artery disease or hypertension.

The Kick Start Diet provides day-by-day instructions on how to transition to a low-fat vegan diet. This approach has been clinically proven to be effective for long-term weight management, as well as for the treatment of cardiovascular disease.

 By Mizpah Matus B.Hlth.Sc(Hons)
  • Renfro, C. (2011). The 21-Day Weight Loss Kickstart: Boost Metabolism, Lower Cholesterol, and Dramatically Improve Your Health.
  • Ornish, D., Brown, S. E., Billings, J. H., Scherwitz, L. W., Armstrong, W. T., Ports, T. A., … & Brand, R. J. (1990). Can lifestyle changes reverse coronary heart disease?: The Lifestyle Heart Trial. The Lancet, 336(8708), 129-133. study link
  • Turner‐McGrievy, G. M., Barnard, N. D., & Scialli, A. R. (2007). A Two‐Year Randomized Weight Loss Trial Comparing a Vegan Diet to a More Moderate Low‐Fat Diet. Obesity, 15(9), 2276-2281. study link


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Last Reviewed: April 18, 2021