Mayo Diet: How does the Mayo diet make you lose weight?

Mayo Clinic Diet

Mayo Diet: How does the Mayo diet make you lose weight?

The Mayo diet

 The Mayo Diet is a 14-day dietary program developed by clinic teams with the same name in the United States. It is a very low-calorie diet that could allow you to lose between 7 and 10 kg in just two weeks. This diet is considered dangerous and drastic by many doctors.

Characteristics of the Mayo program:

  •     Duration of 14 days
  •     Consumption of eggs and vegetables mainly
  •     No stabilization period
  •     Lots of prohibited foods
  •     Large consumption of grapefruit

The main principles of the Mayo diet

The Mayo diet includes menus mainly based on the consumption of eggs, vegetables and high-calorie hot drinks (coffee, tea, etc.).

How does the Mayo clinical diet work?

The main principle is based on reducing calorie intake in order to induce weight loss. The diet offers menus between 800 and 1000 calories which makes it a very low-calorie diet, a woman consuming on average 2000 calories and a man consuming 2200 calories. Weight loss can go up to 10 kg in 2 weeks.

 How does the Mayo diet make you lose weight?

The principles of this diet are based on the fact that it takes a calorie deficit to lose weight. In addition, according to the proponents of this diet, the consumption of grapefruit would help weight loss.

The Mayo diet is actually a low-calorie diet. It has been shown in the literature that weight loss requires a negative energy balance, which requires reducing the amount of calories consumed during the day. Since the Mayo diet is very low in calories, we can expect weight loss. On the other hand, these same principles must be perpetuated in the long term to ensure the maintenance of the lost weight.

A 14-day program

This diet lasts 14 days and it is advisable not to follow it for a longer period. The list of prohibited foods is very long, the choices very limited and no deviation is allowed. Those who wish to follow this diet must, therefore, respect the number of servings indicated in each food category which are vegetables, fruits, proteins, carbohydrates, fats, and sweets.

Permitted foods

The foods authorized in the Mayo diet are:

  •     Green vegetables are allowed at will (celery, cucumber, zucchini, lettuce, spinach, broccoli)
  •     Fruits in small quantities (favor grapefruit)
  •     Eggs can be eaten at will
  •     100 g maximum meat per day
Mayo Clinic Diet

Prohibited foods

The Mayo diet is relatively restrictive, here is the list of foods that are prohibited there:

  •     Sugars
  •     The alcohol
  •     The added fats
  •     Cereal products (starchy foods)
  •     Legumes
  •     Dairy products

Food program and mayo diet menus

Keeping a food journal is highly recommended in order to count the number of calories consumed each day. Snacks are not recommended. Sweeteners like aspartame or sucralose are allowed.


  •     1/2 grapefruit
  •     2 hard-boiled eggs
  •     Unsweetened coffee or tea (with 1 cracker the second week)


  •     2 eggs (cooked without fat) or 100 grams of meat alternately
  •     1 portion of vegetables (salad, tomatoes, cucumbers, celery, spinach, zucchini of your choice)
  •     1/2 grapefruit
  •     Sugar-free coffee or tea


  •     2 eggs
  •     1 serving of vegetables
  •     1 toast or 1 rusk
  •     Sugar-free coffee or tea

Advantages and disadvantages

The positive aspects of the Mayo diet

  •     Good protein and fiber intake
  •     Easy to follow
  •     Requires little time in the kitchen
  •     Significant and rapid weight loss

The negatives of the Mayo diet

  •     Too few carbohydrates
  •     Restrictive
  •     Risk of deficiencies
  •     Frequent weight gain
  •     Monotone
  •     Not very compatible with social life

Recommendations and precautions

Are there any risks?

The high intake of dietary cholesterol from eggs every day can be problematic for people with high cholesterol. In fact, limiting the consumption of dietary cholesterol is recommended to less than 300 mg per day, especially in those with high LDL levels and vulnerable to cardiovascular disease. For comparison, an egg contains about 180 mg of dietary cholesterol. Consuming 4 per day, therefore, leads to a consumption of 720 mg which is significantly higher than the recommendation to prevent cardiovascular disease. In addition, the very restrictive nature of this diet can lead to deficiencies and risk of gaining weight after these 14 days.

Is a diet for you?

Whatever your situation, this type of diet is not advisable in the long term. Indeed, this diet of less than 1000 calories per day does not contain enough calories to reach the recommended intake of vitamins and minerals. Women should consume at least 1,200 calories per day, and men should consume at least 1,800 calories per day to meet all vitamin and mineral requirements. In addition, a diet containing less than 1600 kcal per day does not seem to achieve the recommended intakes of nutrients, mainly vitamin C, E, calcium, and magnesium. The main consequence of the very low-calorie consumption is the slowing down of the basic metabolism which slows down the weight loss in the long term because the body perceives this low-calorie intake as a threat and slows down it’s functioning. Weight loss is very rapid, but most of the weight lost is water.

 This diet is unbalanced by excluding several food groups that provide essential nutrients. This diet may be insufficient in protein which can lead to a loss of muscle mass. It is also deficient in carbohydrates, calcium, and vitamin D in addition to group B vitamins due to the many prohibited food groups.

Is a diet compatible with sport?

It is recommended to play sports while following this diet. Sport helps support weight loss and curbs muscle wasting caused by an overly restrictive diet.

How not to gain weight?

There is no weight stabilization program like most diets and this in most cases leads to weight gain. The yo-yo effect is guaranteed.

Some figures to go further

Regarding grapefruit, although a study published in 2006 claimed that consuming half a grapefruit before each meal helped to lose weight, it remains important to vary the consumption of fruit throughout the day and not to limit to one serving per day contrary to what this diet recommends.

Dietitian’s opinion on the Mayo Clinic Diet

This diet does not encourage a change in eating habits and behavior if it is followed only for two weeks. It is far too low in calories and can lead to deficiencies. It is not educational and not personalized. It can lead to eating disorders in the most vulnerable people. Weight regain is, moreover, essential from the stop.

Principles of the Mayo Clinic Diet

Mayo Clinic Diet

The treatment at this clinic (located in Rochester, USA) is based on the following principles:

  •     No more than 14 consecutive days;
  •     Do not modify any of the foods listed;
  •     No alcohol during the diet;
  •     Refrain from anything that is not notified;
  •     Do not eat between lunch and dinner;
  •     Do not eat pasta, bread, or any flour products.

The treatment claims to allow you to lose 10 kg in 14 days!

A typical Mayo diet week


  • Breakfast: a grapefruit, 2 boiled eggs, a coffee or tea without sugar.


  • Lunch: 2 boiled eggs; an oil-free mixed salad; sugar-free coffee or tea.
  • Dinner: 2 boiled eggs; a tomato; sugar-free coffee or tea.


  • Lunch: a tomato, lettuce, celery, cucumber; sugar-free coffee or tea.
  • Dinner: 2 boiled eggs and grapefruit.


  • Lunch: 2 lamb chops, celery, cucumber; sugar-free coffee or tea.
  • Dinner: 2 boiled eggs, spinach, and tomatoes.


  • Lunch: 2 boiled eggs, fresh cheese, cooked cauliflower, a slice of toast.
  • Dinner: 2 boiled eggs, spinach, and tomatoes; sugar-free coffee or tea.


  • Lunch: fish cooked without oil, with lemon and a slice of toast.
  • Dinner: 2 boiled eggs and spinach; sugar-free coffee or tea.


  • Lunch: tomato and grapefruit.
  • Dinner: any kind of fruit (unlimited).


  • Lunch: steamed chicken, grated carrots.
  • Dinner: steamed chicken, tomato and grapefruit.

Mayo Clinic Diet: practical advice

  •     If you can’t find white celery, take green celery stalks;
  •     Vegetables and meats can be eaten with butter but without olive oil;
  •     Drink water and alcohol-free liquids that contain sweeteners and little gas;
  •     You can sweeten coffee, tea or mixed fruit with sweeteners;
  •     When the quantities are not specified, the food can be eaten at will;
  •     For the regime to take effect, it must be strictly observed, without adding or removing anything.

The Mayo diet is a low-calorie diet (that is to say that it provides very few calories) and very restrictive that is spread over 14 days. Very popular in the 80s, it is named after a famous American hospital, the Mayo Clinic, located in the city of Rochester, Minnesota in the United States. However, the clinic has always denied having developed this diet. In 2010, the Mayo Clinic also released its own “real Mayo diet”, although it has not met with the success of the Mayo diet that we are talking about in this case.

The Mayo diet is a very fast method that, according to its users, would allow losing 5 to 6 pounds. Like the cabbage soup diet, the peculiarity of this diet lies in its extremely low-calorie appearance. Weight loss which is easily explained by the difference in calories consumed compared to the recommendations of the health authorities (688 calories consumed per day compared to around 2000 in the reference recommendations for inactive people).


The principle of the Mayo diet is simple, you have to reduce your daily calorie intake in order to lose weight. The body then draws its energy from fatty and muscular tissues.

However, this diet is also characterized by an impressive number of food bans of all kinds. Fat, starchy foods, dairy products, sugary foods and beverages, pulses and most fruits are prohibited.

The basis of the Mayo diet is the egg. It is a food very rich in protein, low in calories and quite filling. In this diet, it is recommended to eat 6 per day.

The composition of one-day meals with the Mayo Clinic Diet is as follows:

  •     Breakfast is the same day by day and consists of ½ grapefruit, 2 hard-boiled eggs, and tea or coffee without sugar.
  •     Lunch consists of the same foods as breakfast but a portion of vegetable (tomato, cucumber, salad, celery, spinach or zucchini of your choice) is added.
  •     Finally, dinner is identical to lunch, we only add a cookie.

The Mayo diet will provide you with around 688 calories (kcal) per day according to the ANSES (3), against around 2000 calories (kcal) recommended by the health authorities for inactive people.

In addition to a blatant weight loss, due to a forced rebalancing of the energy balance, the Mayo diet is economical and simple. Indeed it does not require a lot of shopping or a lot of culinary preparation. It is a diet, in terms of weight loss alone, that is effective in the short term. It is the low-calorie intake that allows for this rapid weight loss. Please note that losing weight does not always mean losing fat (it is also possible to lose muscle mass, etc.).


It is monotonous in terms of its composition. It causes a great feeling of hunger, despite the protein intake of the egg, and great physical and mental fatigue.

It causes a lot of nutritional deficiencies (calcium, vitamins, minerals, etc.). It is for this reason that it is not recommended to follow it for more than 2 weeks. Beyond that, it would lead to complications (accentuated nutritional deficiencies, high cholesterol levels).

It is a regime hardly compatible with an active social life. Unless you take your picnic with you. Because of its high consumption of eggs (6 per day), it is strongly discouraged for people who have too much cholesterol.

Because of its too restrictive side and its lack of advice for the after-diet, the yo-yo effect is almost guaranteed. Finally, it is a diet that is neither educational at the culinary level nor educational at the food level.

Deficiencies (for more details, see the ANSES opinion below) in vitamins and mineral salts can make your skin dull and can promote the appearance of dark circles.

Important: You must be psychologically ready to follow such a diet, and if you are fragile or in poor health, it is advisable to consult a doctor beforehand. The Mayo diet is an unbalanced diet and not recommended by most doctors and nutritionists. It is to be prohibited in a very general way.

It is a diet that is neither educational in terms of cuisine nor educational in terms of food.


This diet places too great a calorie restriction. A difference of -63.9% is noted among women, and -73.3% among men. In accordance with our rating system based on the couple’s nutrition/body size, the score of 20/100 is assigned. You will melt fat and muscle mass by weakening your body. A diet not recommended.

Explanation of the rating:

  • »Nutrition aspect: -40 points for the harmful effects of the diet
  • »Bodybuilding aspect: -40 points for the expectation of beneficial effects on bodybuilding in the long term

Want to give your opinion on this diet?

If you have already tried this diet and would like to send us an email to give us your feedback so that it appears on this page, we would be delighted! To do this, simply use the form below.

If you don’t like eggs or you’re vegan, go your way. Because no, the Mayo diet does not have the main ingredient mayonnaise but eggs!

Became famous in the 1980s, its name comes from that of an American clinic, “Mayo Clinic”, although it has nothing to do with it. With the mouthwatering promise of losing weight significantly in just two weeks, this diet is gaining followers. However, the undesirable effects are numerous and to be taken into consideration before undertaking such a diet.

The principle of this diet is to consume only fruits and vegetables. The only proteins allowed are eggs at the rate of half a dozen per week. It is obvious that this simple consumption of fruits and vegetables is accompanied by a severe caloric restriction since one can only eat 1000 calories per day, which is very little.

It is made to last a fortnight.

The results

They are obvious: weight loss is effective and very fast.


As the number of calories brought in is ridiculous (1000 calories, so 2 to 3 times less than a sedentary adult person who makes no effort), we lose 5 to 6 kg in 15 days.

Mayo Clinic Diet

The problems

  •     Lassitude: the cravings for fats, proteins, and dairy products assail you, frustration sets in as well as the daily temptation to crack.
  •     Fatigue: it is obvious because this type of diet provides a very low caloric ration with significant risks of hypoglycemia. This can, therefore, cause discomfort with dizziness and cold sweats.
  •     Deficiencies: these are serious deficiencies in proteins and in certain amino acids that plants alone cannot provide. The lack of certain elements such as calcium or certain essential lipids does not end up causing bone disturbances if it is prolonged excessively (embrittlement).

    In short, it is a dangerous diet in the long term, and untenable that ends up causing you to crack.

    So, from “cracking to cracking”, we end up giving up. The pounds are coming back since we return to our previous eating habits, with the famous yoyo effect which results in weight greater than the starting weight.

Derivative plans

The “new Mayo Clinic Diet” was made to overcome these drawbacks: we introduce a few more proteins. The return to a normal regime is faster. But the yoyo effect is there that almost inevitably lies in wait.

The “Victoria Principal” diet, named after the American actress, goes the other way by shortening even more protein. The result we lose muscle, and what we will recover after seeing cracked, it is good old fat impregnable. To flee absolutely!

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