The History of the Scarsdale Diet

The Scarsdale diet is one of the oldest weight loss programs still followed by millions of dieters. In 1978 the book “The Complete Scarsdale Medical Diet” had its first printing and is still available today.

A cardiologist, Dr. Herman Tarnower, began promoting the Scarsdale diet back in the 1950’s with a little 2-page handout to middle-to upper class patients in New York. Tarnower originally started out using the short guides for patients who were suffering from heath disease and to help manage the symptoms of congestive heart failure. The primary goal was to speed up the process from having to explain nutrition and health issues to the patients who were interested in achieving a better health through weight loss. Tarnower felt that having a written plan for patients with certain health issues was in their best interest and that most doctors do not have the patience to explain every detail of the ways to better health through weight loss.

By the middle of the 1970’s Tarnower’s patients has passed the pamphlet to their friends, who passed it to their friends and so on until a friend finally suggested that he turn his pamphlet into a full-length book. Samm Sinclair Baker was hired to write the book, and its first edition hits the book shelves in 1978, becoming one of the biggest best sellers at that time. In the first 10 months, sales were so good the book had 21 printing in hardcover. The book was one of the highest selling books by 1979 coming in second behind Erma Bombect, selling over 642,000 copies. Although Tarnower was responsible for the basic Scarsdale diet, Baker suggested they include other diet plans which lead to these four other plans also being including in the book, “the Scarsdale Diet for Epicurean Tastes”, “the Scarsdale International Diet”, “the Scarsdale Vegetarian Diet”, and the Scarsdale Money-Saver Diet”.

Overview of the Scarsdale Diet:

Dieters have the option of following the diet for seven or fourteen days, with a two-week off period that alternate. The dieter must drink four glasses of water, diet soda, or tea each day; this allows the body to flush waste.

The dieter must stay on a strict three meals a day plan with no snacking at all. They must adhere to the grapefruit portion of the diet without any substitutions of other fruits. The only seasonings allowed are salt, pepper, vinegar, lemon, herbs, soy sauce, ketchup or mustard and Worcestershire sauce.

The Scarsdale diet is designed for rapid weight loss, and is not intended for long-term weight control, but with the alternating feature of one week on and two weeks off can help to maintain the dieter’s ideal weight.

Benefits of the Scarsdale Diet:

The Scarsdale diet is a consists of low saturated fats combined with fruits and vegetables help the dieter slim down and lower the risk of heart disease and other health risks that come from being overweight. Another factor is the lower risk of certain cancers with the presence of fruits, green vegetables and olive oil, which is why the Scarsdale diet is still considered of the healthiest diets that has lasted over 20 years.

Even though the Scarsdale diet is still one of the more popular diets available today, the rapid weight loss can cause certain nutrient deficiencies. For this reason anyone choosing this or any other diet should consult with their physician or dietitian for advice.

Pungky Dwiasmoro Hiswardhani

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