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Which diet is right for you? 13 plans explained

Mayo Clinic Diet

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Mayo Clinic Diet

There once was a Mayo Clinic Diet that wasn’t really from the highly-regarded Mayo Clinic; it was an imposter. The bogus diet is a low-carb, high-fat plan that ascribes miraculous powers to grapefruit ... and comes with the promise of an astounding 50- to 55-pound weight loss.

What was the Mayo Clinic to do? Create a legitimate Mayo Clinic Diet, of course. This one, based on expert research and sound science, is designed to help people lose weight in a healthful way, while developing good lifetime habits.

Based on the clinic's Healthy Weight Pyramid, which is similar to the U.S. government's food pyramid, the plan leads the dieter through two phases. The first phase focuses on 15 key habits, doesn’t require calories counting, and allows the dieter to snack to her heart’s content on fruits and vegetables. In the second part, the plan describes how many calories the dieter should eat either to lose or to maintain weight and where those calories should come from. No food group is completely off-limits, however artificial sweeteners, alcohol and sweets are not permitted during the initial, quick-start portion of the plan. (After that, they are limited to an average of 75 calories per day.)