Difficulties with the Scarsdale Diet

The Scarsdale Diet restricts calories to around 1,200 per day and the foods on the menu are quite different in nature to those usually eaten but those undertaking the diet. These two factors can make it a shock to your system, after 2-3 days some people report feeling very hungry and having little energy thus find it a struggle to stick to.


Ketosis happens when your body metabolises (burns) body fat, ketones in the fat are released into the bloodstream, this is the key to the Scarsdale Diet. Our bodies prefer to turn the carbohydrates we eat into energy however when not enough carbs our available body fat is burned for energy. Dr Tarnower's career was spend studying weight loss and he discovered that inducing ketosis leads to fairly rapid weight loss. The downside is that to get to the ketosis stage we have to put our bodies in a situation they're rather not be in, thus hunger and lack of energy.

Simple Carbohydrates

Another reason why is people don't get on well with the Scarsdale Diet is that their body is familiar with a diet that include a lot of simple carbohydrates (sugar, white bread, white rice etc.) which are very easily broken down into energy the body can use but can also lead to weight gain.

Here's a way you can understand the effects of simple carbs; try having a can of Coke, or other drink that's high in sugar, 20 minutes before you're due to eat dinner - you'll find that your appetite has all but disappeared by the time you come to eat. Your body has just received energy it can use quickly, and it will use it quickly - expect your hunger to return quickly about an hour and a half later, sooner than it would have if you'd not had the drink and instead had the full meal.

When the diet is started these easy souces of energy (sugar and carbs) are no longer available and your body reacts accordingly in an attempt to get you to replace it. See good and bad carbs for more about why simple carbs aren't good for you.

The Good News

A side effect of ketosis is that ketones (in the bloodstream) act as an appetite suppressant, however is can take a while before ketosis begins, thus there can be a period beforehand that some people find difficult to take and don't complete the diet. It should become easier if you can stick with it, but of course not everyone can (or wants to).

Dieting isn't Easy

If dieting was easy none of us would have excess weight. The very nature of dieting (not eating foods that we enjoy and would otherwise eat) is similar to trying to live on a budget or perhaps giving up smoking - not easy! There's no magic wand and no magic diet, there are hundreds (if not thousands) of diets each of which different people both like and dislike - but they all require some discomfort and sacrifice. The Scarsdale Diet isn't for everyone, but those who do get on well with it often see very pleasing results (note that the Keep Trim Phase is very much part of the diet and should be completed if you want to keep the weight off).