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The 17 Day Diet (2011) by Mike Moreno: Food list – What to eat and foods to avoid

The 17-Day Diet - book by Dr Mike MorenoThe 17-Day Diet Cookbook by Dr. Mike MorenoThe 17 Day Diet (2011) is a low-processed food, low-sugar, low-fat “body confusion” diet that gets progressively less restrictive and can be used in cycles.

  • 4 stages, progressively less restrictive
  • Start with high lean protein, high non-starchy vegetables, probiotics, no starches
  • Add unprocessed starch foods and slowly increase the allowed amount of fat in animal protein foods
  • Add other whole grain starches and more ingredient choices
  • Maintenance diet
  • No sugars, bad fats (saturated, trans), low salt

Below is a description of the food recommendations in the diet. Summary  |  Cycle 1: Accelerate  |  Cycle 2: Activate  |   Cycle 3: Achieve  |   Cycle 4: Arrive   |  Always avoid  |   Transitional Day Fast  |  PMS guidelines. There’s a lot more in the book.

Use this page as a cheat sheet alongside the book. Send this page to friends, family, and anyone else who you want to understand what you’re eating on this diet.

See The 17 Day Diet for more information on the foods that are encouraged at each stage, the benefits of friendly gut bacteria, why to drink a lot of water, the exercise plans, cultural tweaks, sample menus, and recipes.The 17-Day Diet Breakthrough Edition by Dr Mike Moreno

Get a copy of The 17-Day Diet Breakthrough Solution for the original 17-Day Diet plus information on Contour Foods and the Transitional Day Fast, supplementation, exercise workouts for spot reduction, more recipes, and more meal plans. Dr. Mike says “This book is my attempt over the last two years to fix and tweak the original 17 Day Diet so that you can lose weight even faster, keep it off longer, and stay healthy and fit well into your golden years.”

Also get a copy of The 17-Day Diet Cookbook for more recipes.

The reasoning behind The 17 Day Diet

This diet claims to use “body confusion” – different diets and different phases to prevent your body from adapting and the scale from sticking. By avoiding processed foods, sugars, and bad fats, you can improve your health and lose weight.

17 Day Diet plan

The diet has 4 cycles.

  • Cycle 1: Accelerate. This cycle claims to promote rapid weight loss by improving digestive health, helping clear sugar from the blood to boost fat-burning, and discourage fat storage. It’s a low carb, low fat, low processed food, high vegetable, high lean protein stage, with unlimited permitted low-fat proteins and non-starchy vegetables. You follow this cycle for 17 days. If you reach your weight loss goal you move to cycle 4; if not you move to cycle 2. This cycle can also be used if you gain some weight back and want to quickly lose it.
  • Cycle 2: Activate. This cycle claims to reset your metabolism through a strategy that involves increasing and decreasing your caloric consumption to stimulate fat-burning and to help prevent plateaus. It lasts 17 days and consists of alternating between Accelerate days (see above) and Activate days, where you start to add natural starches.
  • Cycle 3: Achieve. This cycle claims to help you develop good eating habits through the re-introduction of additional foods and move you closer to your weight goal. It lasts 17 days. Some more carbs are allowed, and protein is cut down. At the end of cycle 3, if you have additional weight to lose, you can recycle back to cycle 1 then 2 then 3, or 2 then 3, or continue with 3 until you reach your goal weight.
  • Cycle 4: Arrive. This cycle claims to keep you at your goal weight through a program of eating that lets you enjoy your favorite foods on weekends, while eating healthfully through the week. Monday breakfast through Friday lunch, eat with restrictions as described in cycles 1, 2, or 3. Friday dinner through Saturday night, eat your favorite foods and meals in moderation

There are some foods that you should always avoid on this diet, plus different foods to eat and avoid on each phase/cycle.

In the Breakthrough Edition, there’s an optional Transitional Day Fast between cycles

There are also guidelines to follow if you have PMS

The author says that this diet is designed for people in normal health – you should not follow this diet if you have type 1 diabetes, any serious medical disease, or if you are pregnant or breastfeeding/nursing.

Always avoid these foods (except “free” meals on cycle 4 weekends):

  • Sugar
    • All types, natural and processed
    • Including HFCS, fructose, sucrose, glucose, corn syrup
    • Best to give up soda altogether
    • It looks like honey and other natural sweeteners should also be excluded.
  • Bad fats
    • Saturated fats
    • Trans fats
  • Salty foods
  • High-sugar and high-fat condiments
    • E.g. regular ketchup because it contains sugar; no sour cream because it contains fat

Transition Day Fast between cycles – Breakthrough Edition, optional

Having a 1-day transition fast day between each cycle is an option that Dr. Mike suggests in the Breakthrough Edition. He says it can help reduce cardiovascular disease, blood pressure, gastrointestinal troubles, type 2 diabetes, cholesterol levels, and chronic inflammation, as well as increasing fat-burning and sparing lean muscle. He also says it will accelerate your results.

Drink 3 Fat-Burn Smoothies throughout the day: one at breakfast, one at lunch, and one at dinner. Ingredients are whey protein powder, unsweetened almond milk, and other ingredients such as low-fat yogurt, powdered fiber, crushed pineapple, banana, strawberries, fresh spinach, matcha green tea powder, and Truvia

17 Day Diet cycle 1 – food list

Cycle 1: What to Eat  |  Foods to Avoid

Cycle 1: Accelerate – What to eat

*Contour foods  are suggested in the Breakthrough Edition as foods that have been scientifically proven to take fat off your abs, thighs, and all over your body, which everybody should be eating, every day. These are marked here with a *star. Cycle 1 contour foods are fish, apples and pears, olive oil, and yogurt.

  • Lean proteins – no limits
    • *Fish: salmon, canned or fresh; sole; flounder; catfish; tilapia; canned light tuna in water. Opt for wild-caught rather than farm-raised fish.
    • Poultry: skinless chicken breasts, skinless turkey breasts, lean ground turkey
    • These lean proteins are also listed as acceptable in cycle 1 in the ethnic diets section of the book: ceviche; red snapper (huachinango)
  • Eggs – up to 2 a day
    • Eggs (2 eggs = 1 serving). Stick to no more than 4 yolks per week if your physician has diagnosed you with high cholesterol. Egg whites can be eaten without restriction in the original diet; the Breakthrough Edition says that 4 egg whites = 1 serving
  • Cleansing vegetables – no limits.
    • Artichoke, artichoke hearts, asparagus, bell peppers (all colors), broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, celery, cucumbers, eggplant, garlic, green beans, green leafy vegetables (including beet greens, turnip greens, collard greens), kale, leeks, lettuce (all varieties), mushrooms, okra, onions, parsley, scallions, spinach, tomatoes, watercress
    • These vegetables are also listed as cleansing vegetables in the ethnic diets section of the book: arame, Asian eggplant, bamboo shoots, bean sprouts, bok choy, broccoli rabe, chiles, Chinese broccoli, cilantro, dulse/sea lettuce, fennel, grape leaves, lily pods, long beans, sugar-free marinara sauce (½ cup = 1 serving), nori, parsley, pea pods, seaweed/sea vegetables, snow peas, summer squash, tomatillos, zucchini/courgettes
  • Low-sugar fruit – 2 servings daily – 1 serving = 1 piece fresh or 1 cup chopped fresh fruit. Do not eat fruit after 2pm
    • *Apples, berries (all types), grapefruit, oranges, peaches, *pears, plums, prickly pear cactus, prunes, red grapes
    • If you take statins and want to eat grapefruit – have ½ grapefruit in the morning and always take your statins in the evening, to minimize any grapefruit-drug interaction. Consult with your physician before doing this
  • Fruits and vegetables should be eaten raw whenever possible, except carrots and tomatoes. Ensure they’re fresh, not wilted; buy locally grown where possible
  • Probiotic foods – 2 servings daily
    • *Yogurt (e.g. Greek-style, sugar-free fruit flavored, plain, low-fat – 6 oz. = 1 serving), kefir (1 cup), low-fat acidophilus milk (1 cup), yakult (small 50-calorie bottle), Breakstone LifeActive cottage cheese (½ cup), reduced salt miso dissolved in low-fat, low-sodium broth (1 tablespoon), tempeh (4 oz.), sauerkraut (½ cup), kimchi (½ cup)
  • Friendly fats – 1-2 tablespoons daily
    • *Olive oil, flaxseed oil
  • Condiments and pantry
    • Low-fat low-sodium broth, vegetable cooking spray, low-carb ketchup, low-carb marinara sauce, mustard, fat-free salad dressings, salsa, lite soy sauce,  salt, Tabasco sauce, vinegar
    • Fat-free sour cream, fat-free cheeses (i.e. parmesan)
    • Sugar-free jams and jellies, vanilla extract
    • Herbs – e.g. basil, bay leaves, chives, dill, garlic, horseradish, Italian seasonings, mint, oregano, parsley, rosemary, sage, tarragon, thyme
    • Spices – e.g. cayenne pepper, chili powder, cinnamon, cumin, curry powder, garlic powder, nutmeg, onion powder, pepper
  • Sweeteners
    • Truvia
    • Nectresse (Not mentioned in original 17-Day Diet but included in Breakthrough Edition)
    • Go easy on sugar substitutes and learn to enjoy the natural sweetness of fresh fruits
  •  Beverages
    • Water, mineral water, or seltzer water – eight 8 oz. glasses a day
    • Green tea – suggests you have 3 cups a day, but it appears that this doesn’t count towards your water goal
    • Herbal tea
    • Coffee or tea (unsweetened, no milk) – max 3-4 8 ounce cups a day, drunk at least 1 hour before meals – this doesn’t count towards your water goal
  • Eat slowly and only until full; do not overload your stomach

Cycle 1: Accelerate – Foods to avoid

Avoid the “avoid always” foods above plus:

  • Starchy foods, including
    • All grains, including wheat, rice, corn, oatmeal, etc.; processed grains such as bread, pasta, cereals, etc.)
    • Starchy vegetables such as potatoes, corn, sweet potato, etc.
    • Legumes (beans, lentils, chickpeas, etc.)
    • All processed starchy foods
  • Fatty and red meat proteins (note that chicken and turkey breast are allowed)
    • All red meat
    • Pork
    • Dark poultry and poultry skin
    • Processed meats
  • Shellfish
  • Alcohol
  • High-sugar fruits
  • Fruit juice (or vegetable juice)
  • No fruit after 2pm
  • Implied in the book – milk and milk products which are not listed in the probiotic foods section above in “Accelerate – what to eat” – uncultured milk and milk products aren’t listed as acceptable foods until Cycle 3

17 Day Diet cycle 2 – food list

In this phase, you alternate between Accelerate days (see above – you eat what you ate in cycle 1) and Activate days. So the first day of cycle 2 you eat the foods listed below, the second day you eat the foods listed in phase 1 only, and so on alternating between the two.

Cycle 2 Activate days:  What to Eat  |  Foods to Avoid

Cycle 2: Activate – What to eat

*Contour foods  are suggested in the Breakthrough Edition as foods that have been scientifically proven to take fat off your abs, thighs, and all over your body, which everybody should be eating, every day. These are marked here with a *star. Cycle 2 contour foods cycle 1 contour foods (fish, apples, pears, olive oil, yogurt) plus whole grains, legumes, and whey protein on Activate days.

On the alternate Active days, eat the Cycle 1 Accelerate foods above plus:

  • Proteins
    • For all proteins, rather than eating unlimited amounts, keep your portions of fish, poultry, and meat to about the size of an average kitchen sponge
    • Shellfish: clams, crab, mussels, oysters, scallops, shrimp
    • Lean cuts of meat (trim all visible fat): flank steak, top sirloin steak, top round, eye of round, beef round tip, beef top sirloin, beef top loin, lean ground beef, pork tenderloin, pork sirloin chops, pork boneless loin roast, pork top or center loin chops, lamb shanks, lamb sirloin roast, veal cutlet
    • *Whey protein
    • These lean proteins are also listed as acceptable in cycle 2 in the ethnic diets section of the book: organic bison meat, reduced-fat chorizo, tofu (all varieties)
  • Probiotic foods
    • You can have full-fat yogurt instead of low-fat yogurt
    • These probiotics are also listed as acceptable in cycle 2 in the ethnic diets section of the book: labne
  • Fruits
    • These fruits are also listed as acceptable in cycle 2 in the ethnic diets section of the book: barberries, pomegranate
  • Natural starches – no more than 2 servings daily. Do not eat natural starches after 2pm
    • *Whole grains (1 serving = ½ cup): amaranth, barley, brown rice (not white rice), bulgur, couscous, cream of wheat, grits, longer grain rice such as basmati, millet, oat bran, old-fashioned oatmeal, quinoa
    • *Legumes (1 serving = 1 cup): black beans, black-eyed peas, butter beans, garbanzo beans / chickpeas, great northern beans, kidney beans, lentils, baby lima beans, navy beans, peas, pinto beans, soy beans, split peas
    • Starchy vegetables: breadfruit (1 cup = 1 serving), corn (½ cup), potato (1 medium), sweet potato (1 medium), taro (½ cup), winter squashes – acorn, spaghetti, butternut etc. (1 cup), yam (1 medium)
    • These natural starches are also listed as acceptable in cycle 2 in the ethnic diets section of the book: arracache, all varieties of beans and legumes, bulgur wheat/tabouli, calabaza, edamame, orzo, plantains, polenta, risotto, yautia, yucca/cassava root/manioc
  • Sweeteners
    • Small amounts of agave nectar are included in recipes for cycles 2 onwards
  • Condiments and pantry
    • Baking powder, cornstarch

Cycle 2: Activate – Foods to avoid

On the Accelerate days, avoid the foods listed to avoid for cycle 1. On the alternate Active days, avoid the “avoid always” foods above plus:

  • Fatty meat and poultry and processed meats
  • Bigger fish such as swordfish, shark, king mackerel, and albacore tuna.
  • Processed starches such as foods containing flour including pasta, bread, and cereals, instant oatmeal, and short grain white rice.
  • Alcohol
  • High-sugar fruits
  • Fruit juice (or vegetable juice)
  • No fruits or starches after 2pm
  • Implied in the book – milk and milk products which are not listed in the probiotic foods section above in “Accelerate – what to eat” – uncultured milk and milk products aren’t listed as acceptable foods until Cycle 3

17 Day Diet cycle 3 – food list

Cycle 3:  What to Eat  |  Foods to Avoid

Cycle 3: Achieve – What to eat

*Contour foods  are suggested in the Breakthrough Edition as foods that have been scientifically proven to take fat off your abs, thighs, and all over your body, which everybody should be eating, every day. These are marked here with a *star. Cycle 3 contour foods cycle 1 and 2 contour foods (fish, apples, pears, olive oil, yogurt, whole grains, legumes, and whey protein) plus additional whole grains and high-fiber breakfast cereals, soy milk, and (not-too-ripe) bananas.

Eat the “accelerate” and “activate” allowed foods plus:

  • Proteins
    • Additional poultry: cornish hen, quail, pheasant, reduced-fat turkey bacon or sausage and lunch meat, Canadian bacon
    • These lean proteins are also listed as acceptable in cycle 3 in the ethnic diets section of the book: Queso Fresco
    • For proteins allowed on cycles 1 and 2: Remove skin from chicken and turkey, trim all visible meat from fat
  • Natural starches – 2 servings daily – Do not eat natural starches after 2pm
    • Natural starches listed in Cycle 2, plus these additional alternatives:
    • Breads (1 slice = 1 serving): cracked wheat, fiber-enriched, gluten-free, multi-grain, oat bran, sugar-free, pumpernickel, rye, whole grain bagel (½ = 1 serving), whole wheat pita bread (1 pocket), whole wheat tortilla (10”)
    • *High-fiber cereals (1 cup = 1 serving): All-Bran, All-Bran Extra, All-Bran Bran Buds; Fiber One, gluten-free cold cereals, low-sugar granola (½ cup = 1 serving)
    • Pasta (½ cup = 1 serving): whole wheat, gluten-free, vegetable-based, high-fiber, udon noodles
    • These natural starches are also listed as acceptable in cycle 3 in the ethnic diets section of the book: low-carb tortillas, corn (maize) tortillas, bollilos (sour dough bread), flatbreads made from white whole grain, whole wheat, and multigrain; whole grain Italian bread, soba noodles (½ cup = 1 serving), ramen noodles (½ cup = 1 serving), rice noodles (½ cup = 1 serving), Chinese wheat noodles (½ cup = 1 serving), udon noodles (½ cup = 1 serving), chapattis, lavash
  • Vegetables – unlimited.
    • Alfalfa, broccoli sprouts, chilies, cilantro, fennel, grape leaves, jicama, kelp and other edible seaweeds, kohlrabi, nopales (edible cactus), pea pods, radishes, rhubarb, rutabaga, summer squash, swiss chard, yellow wax beans, zucchini, virtually any vegetable
    • These vegetables are also listed as cleansing vegetables suitable for cycle 3 in the ethnic diets section of the book: chayote, jicama, nopales/cactus pads
  • Fruits – 2 servings daily – 1 serving = 1 piece fresh or 1 cup chopped fresh fruit. Do not eat fruit after 2pm
    • Apricots, *bananas, cherries, currants, figs, kiwi, kumquats, guava, mango, papaya, pineapple, pomegranate, tangerine, tangelo, virtually any fresh fruit
  • Probiotics, dairy, and dairy substitutes: 1-2 servings daily
    • Low-calorie cheeses (brie, camembert, fontina, low-fat cheddar, edam, feta, goat, limburger, part-skim mozzarella – 2 oz.), low-fat cottage cheese (½ cup), low-fat ricotta cheese (½ cup)
    • Low-fat or skim milk (1 cup)
    • Dairy substitutes – sugar-free rice milk, almond milk, or *soy milk – 1 cup
  • Friendly fats – 1-2 tablespoons daily
    • Avocado (1/4 fruit = 1 serving)
    • Canola oil (1 tablespoon), walnut oil (1 tablespoon)
    • Light mayonnaise (2 tablespoons), mayonnaise (1 tablespoon)
    • Nuts or seeds – unoiled (2 tablespoons)
    • Reduced-calorie margarines (2 tablespoons), trans-free margarines (1 tablespoon)
    • Reduced-fat salad dressings (2 tablespoons), salad dressings (1 tablespoon)
  • Optional snacks – the limit for these isn’t clear in the book, but presumably you’re allowed one per day
    • Babybell low-fat cheese (2 disks), frozen fruit bar, Fudgsicle 100 calorie bar, reduced sugar and fat granola bar, light microwave popcorn (4 cups), Skinny Cow ice cream sandwich, sugar-free pudding cup, string cheese (1 stick)
  • One alcoholic drink daily – 5 oz. wine, 12 oz. beer, or 1 ½ oz. hard liquor
  • Artificial sweeteners are allowed in moderation

Cycle 3: Achieve – Foods to avoid

Avoid the “avoid always” foods above plus:

  • Fatty meat and poultry and fatty processed meats.
  • Highly processed starches such as foods containing white flour including pasta, bread, and cereals, instant oatmeal, and short grain white rice.
  • Fruit juice (or vegetable juice)
  • No fruits or starches after 2pm

17 Day Diet cycle 4 – food list

Cycle 4:  What to Eat  |  Foods to Avoid

Cycle 4: Arrive – What to eat

  • Monday breakfast through Friday lunch
  • Friday dinner through Sunday dinner
    • Eat your favorite foods and meals in moderation
    • Enjoy no more than 1-3 favorite meals over the weekend
    • Do not binge. Eat slowly and enjoy your food
    • If desired, enjoy alcoholic drinks in moderation over the weekend (1-2 daily) – 5 oz. wine, 12 oz. beer, or 1 ½ oz. hard liquor
  • Avoid soups made with milk or cream
  • As one of your fruit servings, you may substitute fruit juice (unsweetened), up to ¾ cup per serving
  • You can have 1 cup of vegetable juice as a snack
  • Use condiments in moderation – nonfat, low-calorie
  • Any time you see the scale register 3-5 pounds over your weight goal, go back to accelerate, activate, or achieve

Cycle 4: Arrive – Foods to avoid

Weekdays, follow any of the restrictions above – accelerateactivate, or achieve

Weekends, follow the restrictions above but you can have up to 3 meals outside these guidelines

17 Day Diet PMS exception diet – food list

PMS exception diet – Foods to eat

When you have PMS, follow the above diets but with these additions during your period

  • Protein – have at least 2 servings of lean protein daily, and have 3 brazil nuts every day
  • Soy – enjoy soy foods as snacks a few times a week
  • Carbohydrates – include 3 daily servings of natural carbohydrates – cooked oatmeal, high-fiber cereal, whole grain bread (no sugar added), beans or legumes, sweet potato, corn, barley, brown rice
  • Fruit – up to 3 servings of fresh fruit daily, with an emphasis on high-potassium fruits such as banana, cantaloupe, grapes, and mangoes
  • Fats – 1-2 tablespoons of flaxseed oil daily as your friendly fat serving
  • ½ to 1 ounce of dark chocolate or some low-calorie cocoa

PMS exception diet – Foods to avoid

When you have PMS, follow the above diets but with these exceptions and limitations during your period

  • Especially avoid soda, gum, carbs after 2pm, salt, caffeine, refined sugar, alcohol, eggs (egg whites are okay)
  • Avoid simple carbs (white bread, white pasta, chips, etc.)
  • Reduce your intake of foods that are difficult to digest, such as sugary, fatty and fried foods
  • Avoid dairy products containing lactose if they seem to worsen your bloating symptoms
  • If you have bad digestion during your period, avoid cold beverages, canned foods, frozen foods, processed foods. Eat your heaviest meal around noon.

Health benefits claimed in The 17 Day Diet

This diet claims to reduce the risk of cancer, carbohydrate sensitivity, depression, type 2 diabetes, digestive problems, gallstones, gout, heart disease, high blood pressure, high LDL cholesterol, infertility, joint disease, overweight/obesity, sleep apnea, stroke

As always, this is not intended to be a replacement for professional medical diagnosis or treatment for a medical condition. Consult your doctor before starting a new diet. This page describes what the authors of the diet recommend – Chewfo is describing the diet only, and does not endorse it.

See the original 17 Day Diet for more information on the foods that are encouraged at each stage, the benefits of friendly gut bacteria, why to drink a lot of water, the exercise plans, cultural tweaks, sample menus, and recipes.
Buy now from Amazon Diet book

Get a copy of the 17-Day Diet Breakthrough Solution  for the original 17-Day Diet plus information on Contour Foods and the Transitional Day Fast, supplementation, exercise workouts for spot reduction, more recipes, and more meal plans.
Buy now from Amazon Breakthrough diet book

Also get a copy of The 17-Day Diet Cookbook for more recipes.
Buy now from Amazon Cookbook
Dr. Mike’s website is http://www.drmikediet.com/. He’s on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/DrMikeDiet and Twitter at https://twitter.com/drmikediet.
There’s also a 17-Day Diet SparkPeople team, with forums and discussions.

How has this diet worked for you?

{ 301 comments… add one }

  • carmen July 31, 2013, 10:52 am

    this is the only and I mean to say its the only diet that ever work for me lost 22bl .
    thank you

  • Dawn Olton October 10, 2013, 8:18 pm

    I would like to know what to prepare for breakfast if i am going to omit oats and carbs for the 17 day diet.

    Is it possible for you to send me a simple guideline as to what a day’s meal looks like?

    • Penny Hammond October 11, 2013, 8:02 am

      There are meal plans in the 17 Day Diet book to give you ideas of what to eat for each of the cycles – there’s a meal plan for each day of each cycle. For example, phase 1 breakfast ideas include eggs with fruit; low-fat yogurt with berries; cottage cheese with fruit.

  • Carl January 9, 2014, 2:14 pm

    What do i do if i cant eat eggs m trying this plan but i just cant do it thanks bye

    • Penny Hammond January 9, 2014, 7:03 pm

      You’re right, most of the breakfast recipes for the early cycles contain eggs. There are also some recipes for shakes – would those work for you? Another alternative is to eat “lunch” or “dinner” foods for breakfast.

  • raidee January 17, 2014, 3:29 am

    Can you please tell me when you say for eg 1 serving = 1/2 cup of brown rice, is it cooked or uncooked? should I still cook the 1/2 of rice? or is it already cooked 1/2 cup = 1 portion? LOVE THIS DIET

    • Penny Hammond January 17, 2014, 8:16 am

      It looks like it the serving size is for cooked grains like rice, not uncooked.

      In most cases, rice and many other grains go to 1 1/2 to 2 times the size when they’re cooked. So try starting with 1/4 cup of uncooked rice and measure it when it’s cooked – it should be around 1/2 cup cooked. Adjust if you don’t end up with the right amount after it’s cooked.

  • Diane Cullipher January 19, 2014, 4:57 pm

    Pls name some brands of yogurt. I’m concerned that I’m not eating the right kind.

    • Penny Hammond January 19, 2014, 6:13 pm

      The book doesn’t mention any brands of yogurt.
      The guidelines are: On all cycles, yogurt should be sugar-free. It’s listed as a probiotic food, so it should be a live active yogurt with “live and active cultures” in it – Greek yogurt often has these. On the first cycle (Accelerate), and on Accelerate days in the Activate cycle, it should be low-fat; in other phases low-fat isn’t required. Serving size = 6 oz.

      Any plain yogurt should be okay. If you want to have a fruit-flavored yogurt, it should be sugar-free – and you should only have artificial sweeteners in moderation, so go easy on it.
      There are some SparkPeople and The Doctors forums that discuss brands of yogurt.

      • Jodi April 2, 2014, 2:57 pm

        You can eat CarbMaster Yogurt from Kroger.

        • Penny Hammond April 2, 2014, 6:27 pm

          From what I can see that has a large number of of ingredients and it’s only a yogurt in a very loose definition of the word…

      • Martha April 22, 2014, 3:37 am

        Try FAGE. It’s Greek (the real thing) and has live cultures.

      • Carissa August 6, 2014, 8:34 pm

        Hi. I am on this diet for the second time. It is great. I use Symbio brand probiotic yoghurt in New Zealand. Just check the ingredients and make sure you get low fat low sugar type yoghurts. Symbio has fruit in it and I still lose the weight. I also have a cup of tea with a little milk and it doesn’t affect the diet.

  • Renee January 19, 2014, 8:05 pm

    This is the best diet ever I had two sisters and a brother in- law to do this diet they lost so much until I tried it I needed to loose 20 lbs before the seventeen day I lost 14lbs no joke then came the holidays Christmas I ate soooo much and got off track but after NewYears started over I’ve been on this diet now for Eight days lost and at my goal again it works!

  • Cindy Lister January 26, 2014, 8:21 pm

    Can anyone tell me about honey. I know no sugar. He suggests agave and truvia, but honey is a natural sweetner. Can it be used instead of sweetner.

    • Penny Hammond January 27, 2014, 8:41 pm

      He talks about honey in the same way as he talks about sugar – as something to be avoided, as it boosts your blood sugar and serotonin levels only temporarily, so after an initial high or calm, you may feel irritable or moody.

    • Christine November 21, 2014, 4:41 pm

      Honey has a TON of carbs in each serving. I would avoid eating it on this diet.

  • Sophia February 1, 2014, 11:34 am

    Its annoying that you say “NO CARBS” for the cycle one. There ARE carbs in cycle 1. Their are carbs in fruit and yogurt. This is not a no carb Atkins diet. So don’t say NO CARBS for cycle 1.

    • Penny Hammond February 3, 2014, 11:32 am

      Thanks – I’ve clarified it by saying no starches, instead of no carbs.

  • hina sidd February 2, 2014, 10:46 am

    kindly can i have the menu card so that get the idea of it and what about the cycle for how many days each cycle we will continue ??? kindly reply

    • Penny Hammond February 3, 2014, 11:47 am

      The menus can be found in the 17 Day Diet book.

      There are some sample menus here – I haven’t checked whether they line up with the guidelines in the book.

  • ann February 2, 2014, 8:16 pm

    you make no mention of Nuts?? When are they allowed?

    • Penny Hammond February 3, 2014, 11:59 am

      Nuts and seeds are considered “friendly fats” that can be introduced in Cycle 3, unoiled and in limited quantities.

  • Renecia February 3, 2014, 1:13 am

    Good day, im not sure if i understand the cycles correctly. My goal is to loose about 40kg. So do i follow cycle1 for 17days then cycle2 for 17days and repeat back and forth between cycle1 & cycle2(until i loose 40kg) b4 i move on2 cycle 3&4??????

    • Penny Hammond February 3, 2014, 12:12 pm

      Start with Cycle 1, then Cycle 2, then Cycle 3.

      If at the end of Cycle 3 you haven’t reached your goal weight and aren’t yet close to it, go back and repeat cycles 1, 2, and 3.
      If you’re nearly there, repeat cycles 2 and 3 or just repeat cycle 3.

      When you reach your goal weight, move to Cycle 4, the lifetime maintenance diet.

  • Lindsey February 3, 2014, 8:29 pm

    This diet worked for my boyfriend and I. We gained our weight back, but are starting it again. I call this a lifestyle change. The only thing that worked for both of us. You have to find food that is going to work for your cycles. Don’t just stick to the recipes in the book. You will drive yourself crazy. 🙂

  • Allison February 5, 2014, 9:50 am

    I been doing this diet and already lost a tremendeous amount of weight.
    I get a little bored with the protein on cycle 1 – is it allowed to replace any of the protein (chicken, fish etc) with tofu? or is Tofu not allowed at all in cycle 1?
    Thank you for your help

    • Penny Hammond February 5, 2014, 12:46 pm

      Hi Allison,

      Tofu’s allowed in Cycle 2 of this diet, but not on cycle 1.
      The only exception is the PMS Exception Diet, when you can have soy foods as snacks a few times a week during your period.

      Hold out on cycle 1 for 17 days and then move on to cycle 2 to have more variety.


  • Tina Nano February 5, 2014, 10:29 pm

    I’m doing this diet as I come across the 17 Days Diet book accidentally in a book store, it worked fine with me, I’m in cycle 2 right now, though I haven’t reach my 10 lbs weight loss in the first cycle, but it was ok because I still loss 6 lbs, my only concern is that when I started this diet, I had difficulty sleeping, and my insomnia becomes unbearable in cycle 2, could it be the green tea or coffee i drink during the day?I tried cutting on those, but still I have difficulty sleeping, I dont have much problem with sleeping before I started this diet, please if you have some advice, may be you can share to enlighten me, thank you.

    • Penny Hammond February 6, 2014, 8:34 am

      Here’s what Dr. Mike says in the book:
      “The best way to ensure proper rest is to set regular bedtimes. Avoid or cut down on caffeine, alcohol and tobacco; all disrupt sleeping patterns, making it difficult to drift off or stay there. Eating too much food close to bedtime adversely affects slumber as well.” (p.184)
      “Eat a banana or drink some warm milk before going to bed. Both these foods contain l-tryptophan, an amino acid known to be a natural sleep inducer. L-tryptophan releases serotonin, a sleep-inducing brain chemical. Avoid alcohol prior to sleep. It is a diuretic and interferes with the quality of sleep. Try an herbal tea prior to bedtime. Teas containing valerian root can be a safe, effective way to sleep when you really need to. As with any sleep aid, it should be used sparingly, however. Some people feel groggy upon awakening if they’ve taken valerian. (The best sleep aid is regular exercise.)… Practice good sleep health: keep your bedroom as dark as possible, sleep in a quiet part of your house, limit your use of caffeine and alcohol, and have a snack such as a banana and some warm milk prior to going to bed.” (pp.208-209 – the Night Shift section, but some of this could also apply to you; there are also other non-food suggestions there)

      Some other thoughts –
      Has anything else changed that might be causing insomnia?
      Do you have difficulty falling asleep, or staying asleep? If you have difficulty falling asleep, make sure you keep regular times for going to sleep and waking up, don’t nap, and don’t go to bed feeling full. If you have difficulty staying asleep, think about what wakes you up and if you can stop that – e.g. by drinking less liquid before you go to bed.

  • Tyla February 7, 2014, 2:54 pm

    I am 12 days into cycle 2 and haven’t lost any weight on this cycle. I lost 7 pounds on cycle 1. should I go back to cycle one when I have finished 17 days of cycle 2 or go onto cycle three. Will I still lose weight??

    • Penny Hammond February 7, 2014, 7:41 pm

      According to this diet, you’re supposed to go through cycle 1, then 2, then 3, then back to 1 again after you’ve finished cycle 3.
      Cycle 1 is for weight loss, cycle 2 is to reset your metabolism, and cycle 3 is to develop good eating habits. (Cycle 4 is to keep you at your goal weight after you achieve it.)

      Keep going – you may find that every time you go back to cycle 1 you lower your weight, and you’re learning how to eat well by going through the other cycles.
      Of course, if you’re already at a good weight for your height and build you’re unlikely to fall below that weight on this diet.

  • Greg February 9, 2014, 2:53 pm

    I wonder if this might be useful for a diabetic such as I, I need to lose 10-15 lbs to be at my ideal weight?

    • Penny Hammond February 11, 2014, 8:28 am

      The book says that this is what you can expect in terms of diabetes: “Because you reduced your sugar intake significantly over this period, insulin production will have normalized. So your risk of developing type 2 diabetes is reduced, as this can be linked to a larger intake of sugar.” (p.11)

  • Calitia February 15, 2014, 10:01 pm

    Is it normal to feel dizzy, hungry, and weak while on cycle 1?

    • Penny Hammond February 16, 2014, 4:35 pm

      Dr. Mike doesn’t discuss this in the book, but it’s possible that for the first few days to a week for the first time on Cycle 1 you have some withdrawal/detox symptoms if you’re “coming off” sweet and processed foods.

  • Patty February 16, 2014, 6:21 pm

    My husband and I lost a lot of weight on this diet a few years back. Unfortunately, we gained it back. We are back on it again, I’m in phase 1 and very hungry right at this moment. It is so frustrating, we felt so good and healthy and we looked great, why isn’t that motivation enough to keep it off! I always seem to go back to the same weight, it is like that is where my body wants to be. Oh well, I wish everyone well in their journey.

  • April February 17, 2014, 2:46 pm

    Patty – I was the same way. I did this diet 2 years ago before my wedding, lost 30 lbs, but gained about 20 of those lbs back. I am on day 8 of cycle 1 and doing ok now, but last week, I craved my normal Starbucks iced mochas, ice cream, cookies, and of course the starches like baked potatoes, pasta and oatmeal. It was tough but I found that drinking a ton of flavored green tea and water really suppressed my appetite. I try to make my lunches bigger than my dinners, that way I don’t end up snacking around 2-3 pm.

    I did want to know if almond milk is allowed? I don’t like the low fat acidop. milk that the meal plan recommends, but I do love original, unsweetened almond milk.

    Thanks and good luck to everyone on this diet 🙂

    • Penny Hammond February 17, 2014, 7:22 pm

      Thanks for the tips!
      Unsweetened almond milk is allowed from cycle 3…

  • Kristin Ramsden February 24, 2014, 12:25 pm

    Hello – this is my first diet ever (!) and I have had good reports from a friend – but if I have high cholesterol, and am supposed to eat oatmeal every day for that, will this diet not work for me? Thanks!

    • Penny Hammond February 24, 2014, 3:05 pm

      Oatmeal companies are allowed to advertise that eating oatmeal can lower your cholesterol. However, that doesn’t mean it’s the only way to lower cholesterol.
      There are a lot of diets based on scientific reports that say that eating carbohydrates can actually increase some “bad” types of cholesterol.

      The book claims that after 1 month on the diet, “blood levels of LDL cholesterol can fall by nearly 30 percent— a drop similar to that seen with some cholesterol-lowering drugs” (p.11)

      Good luck with your first diet, I hope it helps you get healthier!

      • Bob March 15, 2015, 11:45 am

        I was on the cusp of needing to take cholesterol medication last year, and did this diet for about 4 months. In that time I lost 55 pounds and my total cholesterol went from 215 to 165. I did gain a bit of that back by not keeping up with the changes I had made, but I’m back on cycle 1 now 🙂

    • Grace July 10, 2015, 11:06 am

      My husband did cycle 1 for 30 days and lowered his cholesterol by over 300. He now takes fish oil daily to maintain it.

  • connie February 26, 2014, 9:40 pm

    I started on this program jan.15,2014 weighing in at 205. I love the program I weigh everyday and I have lost weight everyday accept when I ate too late in the evening. my current weight as of this morning feb.26,2014 was 183.6. I can live with this program. my dr. in nov. told me I was pre-diabetic-high colesteral-nothing was good and she put me on all kinds of meds . and I made the decision that I was going to take control of my life and not let food control me. so far I am very pleased with this program because it really teaches me how to keep from being hungrywith eating the right foods. very pleased with these results.

  • Johanne louise March 1, 2014, 7:58 pm

    I’m a manager in a boutique. And one of my clients told me she lost 78 lbs so she is the one that introduced
    Me to this 17 day diet will see will buy all what I nee
    Will try it as I have alot of will powder….will right back in soon. Johanne Louise

  • courtney clark March 2, 2014, 1:22 pm

    I am on the 14th day of the 17 day diet and I’ve lost 20 pounds I cheated the other night and I am so disappointed in myself I was wondering if it would be okay to restart cycle one and then go on. On this diet I do not like anything underwater 🙂 so I’ll eat the chicken and the turkey out of the me meat. I feel the need to lose more weight and I know this cycle one is to lose weight do you think it would be okay to start cycle one again

    • Penny Hammond March 2, 2014, 3:47 pm

      Dr. Mike isn’t clear what to do if you have a single night of “cheating” on the early cycles. On cycle 4, he says your body can handle it – he even advises “strategic cheating” on C4, having no more than 1-3 “favorite meals” each weekend (p.104).
      He also says that if, for some reason, you’ve gained a great deal of weight (perhaps by being on vacation), your solution is to start the 17 Day Diet from the beginning and progress through all Cycles. (p.110)
      But one cheat night towards the end of phase 1 – I’m not sure you need to go to the extreme of going right back to the beginning of phase 1. Maybe do the day over and make it 18 days instead of 17 (as long as you don’t do this more than once!) There’s one 17DD blog that says that all you need to do is get back on the bandwagon, no repeats required.

  • courtney clark March 2, 2014, 6:30 pm

    Ok do you think if I do restart cycle 1 that on cycle 2 I’ll gain weight?

    • Penny Hammond March 2, 2014, 6:49 pm

      Most people maintain their weight on cycles 2 and 3, rather than gaining weight.

  • courtney clark March 2, 2014, 6:56 pm

    Ok I think ill try starting cycle 1 over again thank you so much for all your input! I might be back to ask more questions 🙂

    • Laura A McCorry March 11, 2014, 4:41 pm

      read my post I did cyce 1 the entire time

  • Laura A McCorry March 11, 2014, 4:41 pm

    I went on this diet about 2 years ago and it was the best diet ever. I lost 30 pounds and everyone couldn’t believe how great I looked. I truly felt terrific. I have a sweet tooth so it really cleaned me out of sugar. As I don’t like other carbs like rice and potatoes (I know I’m odd) as I feel there a waste of calories, so I stayed on Cycle 1 the entire time and did well, remember though you are getting carbs from the greek and keurif yogurt. The first week I lost 6.5 pound then 2 pounds every week from there then I eventually went to 1.5 pounds a week and then the last 7 pounds I was losing 1 pound a week. I ended up gaining the weight back because my younger brother passed and I was extremely depressed. I’ve been trying to get back on this diet and it’s been difficult to stay on however I found this website and it’s gives me a better idea of the quantity that I need to eat so I’m going to try it again as I feel this diet really motivates you to continue due to the well as you lose wright at a good pace. The other thing is that I didn’t do any massive workouts. I ran almost everyday about 3 miles.

    • Char November 30, 2014, 6:31 pm

      Laura A. McCorry,
      it is so disheartening to regain what we work so hard to lose!

      Could it be if this time you move through the 3 cycles you will have a better handle on eating the right amounts/items when you are at the right weight?? I don’t know, but seems that there is a reason behind his 4 cycles – if this is to work. I am just starting and do NOT want a do-over! This is my last chance to lose weight – I have tried, succeeded, then failed on all other diets known to man (or woman!) Good luck this time!!

  • Bev March 11, 2014, 6:41 pm

    I the book page 45 the comment on grapefruit and grapefruit juice is (which you do not drink on the 17 day diet) then on page 48 first day of diet the suggested breakfast has 1/2 a grapefruit. Am I missing something here?

    • Penny Hammond March 11, 2014, 7:02 pm

      Dr. Mike says that small amounts of grapefruit – ½ grapefruit (all phases) or 1 cup of grapefruit juice (not on phase 1) – are okay in the morning and you should take your statins in the evening; check with your doctor first.

      Here’s the text on page 45:
      “What if I take a medicine that interacts with grapefruit? Grapefruit and grapefruit juice (which you do not drink on the 17 Day Diet) interacts with a few specific prescription drugs, and one is statins, taken to lower cholesterol. Grapefruit and grapefruit juice may prevent the liver from sufficiently breaking down the drug, resulting in a higher dose entering the bloodstream. Most doctors know this. This interaction was discovered back in the 1990s with research studies. A handful of these studies talked about the “usual dose” of grapefruit juice. But the usual dose was sometimes a whole quart a day! No one drinks that much grapefruit juice, even if grapefruit juice is your favorite food. Personally, I like grapefruit. I eat it for its taste, vitamin C and fiber. Plus, I like folding the grapefruit in half and squeezing the juice into a spoon. What I tell my patients who take statins is that they may enjoy ½ grapefruit or 1 cup of grapefruit juice (no juice on the Accelerate Cycle of the 17 Day Diet, though) in the morning. Secondly, I instruct them to always take their statins in the evening. These measures help minimize any grapefruit-drug interaction. And they still get to squeeze their grapefruit. Before doing these things, you should make sure to consult with your own physician.”

    • Stephanie January 25, 2015, 5:16 pm

      Grapefruit is allowed. Grapefruit juice as with all other fruit juices is not allowed. With fruit juices you’re missing out on the fiber that eating the whole fruit provides. Fiber will help keep you satiated longer.

  • Angie March 20, 2014, 2:25 pm

    I’m thinking of trying this out, my only concern is that I don’t eat fish or chicken. Will there be options for me?

    Thank you.

    • Penny Hammond March 23, 2014, 1:57 pm

      That would be tough in cycle 1 and the alternate days in cycle 2 where you follow the cycle 1 diet – fish and chicken are the main sources of protein in cycle 1. If you eat turkey, you could try having that instead, and/or lots of egg whites.
      The other cycles would be easier for you to follow if you can eat other types of animal protein.

  • Genia March 22, 2014, 9:00 pm

    I need to lose about 70 lbs. Can I do it safely on this diet? What time frame should I expect in taking the weight off? also would like to know if there is a support group out there that would help me along with information and moral support.

    • Penny Hammond March 23, 2014, 2:06 pm

      This diet claims to help reduce obesity, and it has been very popular for a number of years. I can’t advise whether any diet is safe – opinions of what is good for you vary over time.

      Have a look at the 17-Day Diet SparkPeople team, which has forums and discussions.

  • CP March 23, 2014, 10:02 am

    It’s currently day 7 for my husband and me, and we are both pleased at our weight-loss thus far. I was just reviewing the list of cleansing veggies, and realized that squash and zucchini are not listed. Is it a bad idea to be eating spaghetti squash and/or zucchini during cycle 1? (I was planning to make turkey meatballs with spaghetti squash for our lunch so that our low-carb sauce would be consumed before 2pm.) Bottom line, is the food list in the book a guideline or strict “eat only these veggies” plan for success?

    Also, Kefir is listed, but there are several varieties available (obviously we are staying away from the smoothie kind that contains 16g of sugar, etc.) But I’m having trouble finding any yogurt besides plain that does not contain sugar. We don’t typically care for artificial sweeteners, but would be willing to try something if there were a product easily available.

    Thank you in advance for any advice/suggestions!

    • Penny Hammond March 23, 2014, 2:41 pm

      You would have thought that zucchini are a popular enough vegetable for Dr. Mike to include clear guidelines for them. In the main part of the diet they’re listed as okay to eat in cycle 3, but they’re also listed as an acceptable cleansing vegetable for phase 1 in the ethnic section (Persian foods). Weird. I think they should be fine in cycle 1, and summer squash or yellow squash the same. Winter squashes are only allowed on the alternate “Activate” days in cycle 2.

      The sweetener that Dr. Mike recommends is Truvia (stevia), but I can’t find any yogurts on the market that are sweetened only with stevia. However, he says this:
      “Q. Can I use other sugar substitutes on the 17 Day Diet? A. Artificial sweeteners are found in many foods these days, such as reduced-sugar yogurt, which is one of the recommended probiotics on the 17 Day Diet. Clinically speaking, all sugar substitutes are testing safely; we just don’t know much about their long-term health effects. Six of the most common sugar substitutes currently available are aspartame (Equal), saccharine , acesulfame K, sucralose (Splenda), sugar alcohols and stevia (Truvia and Sweet Leaf). Aspartame, saccharine, acesulfame K, and sucralose are all chemical sugar substitutes that do provide some health benefits: They are lower in calories than regular sugar, and they do not raise blood sugar, particularly helpful for people with diabetes. Nor do these sweeteners promote tooth decay. Sugar alcohols, such a mannitol and xylitol, are carbohydrates but not sugars, which make them sugar-free sweeteners. Unlike artificial sweeteners they can raise blood sugar, but because they are slowly absorbed from the intestinal tract, the rise in blood glucose and demand for insulin is minimal compared to eating pure sugar. They, too, are low calorie compared to natural sugar and do not promote tooth decay. Stevia is a newer artificial sweetener which is natural in the sense that it is not a chemical made in a lab. It is a natural extract from the stevia plant. My advice is to go easy on sugar substitutes and learn to enjoy the natural sweetness of fresh fruits.” (p.227)

      If you want to avoid artificial sweeteners, stick with plain yogurt and add fruits that are suitable for that cycle.

    • Martha April 22, 2014, 3:47 am

      Try greek yoghurt with apple (Fuji is sweet enough) and a pinch of cinammon. You will not need any sugar but if you do a couple of stevia drops should do it.

  • mosestheboxer March 29, 2014, 5:53 pm

    I am on cycle 1 and Im on my 14th. day. I really would like to know if I can have red beets. harvard or pickled? Thank you

    • Penny Hammond April 6, 2014, 12:33 pm

      The only references to beets I can see in the book are for shift workers and the PMS exception diet.
      They could probably be included in phases where you can have starchy vegetables, as they’re fairly high in natural sugars – stick to the portion sizes. So not on phase 1 or on phase 2 accelerate days.
      When you can have them, watch out for added sugars – a lot of commercially pickled foods have sugar added.

  • Anna April 1, 2014, 4:45 pm

    In the first cycle, what is the last hour I could dine? I always come home very late at 9 or 10 pm…

    • Penny Hammond April 6, 2014, 3:07 pm

      I can’t find anything in the book that tells you what times to eat, except advising you not to have fruits or starches after 2pm.
      Dr. Mike advises that you don’t eat just before going to bed as it may cause insomnia or make it worse.

  • Solange April 7, 2014, 11:43 am

    Hello I am new in this and decide to try the 17 day diets. My friend start and lose lots of weight and I needed to lose as much myself.
    My question is can we drink coffee in morning with a little 1% milk.
    The other question is can we drink Chai tea or just green tea???

    What about 1/2 teaspoon of honey in your coffee???



    • Penny Hammond April 8, 2014, 11:52 am

      The book isn’t exactly clear on milk, but it looks like you should only have milk products which are probiotic in cycles 1 and 2, and milk is only listed as okay to use in Cycle 3.

      Chai tea is tea plus spices. It looks like spices are okay on all cycles. Check your chai tea to see whether it’s based on green tea or black tea – if it’s made with black tea, try making your own mix using green tea.

      The author isn’t clear on “natural” sweeteners, but he lists honey as a simple carbohydrate that spikes your blood sugar level and that’s fattening.

  • Lisa April 8, 2014, 10:26 am

    I just got the book and am about to start the 17 day diet. I’m hopeful that this will be the way for me to eat healthier and cut out the junk food and sweets! I do have some quick questions.
    1. It says to eat fruits and veggies raw except for carrots and tomatoes. Why? And can you not have them raw at all?
    2. When do people normally have their snack? I was thinking breakfast, lunch, snack (a fruit), dinner and snack (yogurt or veggies) in the evening. Does that sound right?
    3. It says to squeeze lemon into your first morning glass of water. Can you use lemon in your water thru out the day? Thank your for any help you can provide. I’m making my shopping list and am quite excited to get started!

    • Penny Hammond April 8, 2014, 12:13 pm

      Here’s what the author says about raw and cooked veggies: “Eat fruits and vegetables raw whenever possible. Generally, raw produce is healthier. Exception to the raw rule: Cooked carrots and tomatoes yield more antioxidants.” (p.43)

      I can’t see any guidelines in the book about when to eat your snack – presumably it should be when you’re hungry.

      It should be okay to use lemon in your water throughout the day.

  • Diane April 16, 2014, 6:58 pm

    Can you tell when I can use Mayo with olive oil, Cycle 1 or Cycle 2? Thank you in advance.

    • Penny Hammond April 17, 2014, 4:54 pm

      Eggs and olive oil are allowed in all cycles, but mayonnaise is only listed in cycle 3 and 4. If you made your own mayo using olive oil, and kept within the fat guidelines of 1-2 tablespoons of fat daily, you may be okay eating mayo on cycles 1 and 2 – but you might find other places you want to use that limited amount of fat.

  • Lauri April 26, 2014, 11:39 am

    I love dates with cottage cheese. Is dates allowed during pgase 1

    • Penny Hammond April 27, 2014, 12:43 pm

      In Cycle 1 and Cycle 2, the book tells you to only eat low-sugar fruits; in Cycle 3 you can have “virtually any fruit”.
      Dates aren’t mentioned in the book, but they’re usually considered a high-sugar fruit, along with other dried fruits. So I’d assume they’re not allowed during phase 1.

  • Carol Powell April 27, 2014, 12:55 am

    I’m lactose intolerant and can’t eat yogurt is there anything else I could substitute? And can I have a vegetable and fruit smoothie with a plant based protein powder for breakfast?

    • Penny Hammond April 27, 2014, 1:18 pm

      Unless you have really severe lactose intolerance, you should be able to have some dairy foods.
      Lactose can be “pre-digested” and broken down into digestible sugars for you in two ways: by certain fermenting processes and by adding lactase.

      Traditionally made yogurts, kefir, and acidophilus milk (any of these plain, with live active cultures), and also hard cheeses, tend to be very low in lactose. This is because the fermentation process “eats” the lactose for you and breaks it down.
      Try one of these in small amounts to see whether you have any of the symptoms you get from lactose – if it’s really a live culture, there should only be tiny amounts of lactose and it shouldn’t affect you.

      Also, you can get lactase drops or lactase pills to take before eating lactose-containing dairy foods – these are substitutes for the lactase that isn’t being produced by your body.

      If you’re trying to get probiotic servings and that doesn’t work for you, there are a number of non-dairy probiotic foods listed in the book – reduced salt miso dissolved in low-fat, low-sodium broth, tempeh, sauerkraut, kimchi.

      It looks like a vegetable and fruit smoothie with a plant based protein powder would be okay.

  • Donna April 29, 2014, 4:57 pm

    For cycle 2 I read somewhere that the 2 servings of starches need to be eaten before 2pm? Is that correct?

    • Penny Hammond April 30, 2014, 10:14 am

      That’s right – for cycles 1, 2, and 3 Dr. Mike says you shouldn’t eat fruit after 2pm, and for cycles 2 and 3 he says you shouldn’t eat natural starches after 2pm. Basically, have your carbs before 2pm.

  • Leah April 30, 2014, 2:47 pm

    I am on day 3 of the 1st cycle. I am also training for a 1/2 marathon so finding myself hungry. Is there anything I can add to this phase to get me through the days after long runs? Another egg or yogurt serving?

    • Penny Hammond April 30, 2014, 6:25 pm

      If it helps your hunger, try to eat more of any of the unlimited foods, e.g. unfatty fish or poultry. If that doesn’t help, as you’re burning so much energy you could try to increase your portions of other foods, as long as you don’t overdo any of them.

  • Rosa M April 30, 2014, 3:05 pm

    My question is if I can eat sugar free gelatin during cicle 1?

    thanks 🙂

    • Penny Hammond April 30, 2014, 6:35 pm

      Neither the diet book nor the cookbook say anything about gelatin or jelly.
      Real gelatin is basically a very low fat protein, so it would theoretically fit in any phase. However, it’s usually sweetened, either by a caloric sweetener (sugar or something else) or by an artificial sweetener, and there may be a number of other artificial ingredients like colorings and flavorings. Sugars aren’t allowed on any phase. Artificial sweeteners are less clear-cut – Dr. Mike mentions them as not great for you several times in the book, but he says you can have them in reduced-sugar yogurt. He prefers stevia/Truvia. But in general, he recommends that you go easy on them. He doesn’t talk about other artificial additives, but as most of this diet consists of “real” foods I’d guess he wouldn’t encourage you to eat much of them either.
      So my assumption would be – you may be able to have a little, but go very easy on it.

  • Christine C. May 1, 2014, 10:54 am

    Can we use Whey protein in cycle 1?

    • Penny Hammond May 1, 2014, 11:59 am

      Dr. Mike doesn’t mention whey protein at all in the book or cookbook. He includes whey powder in a cookie recipe that he says is suitable for the Activate, Achieve, and Arrive cycles, but whey powder is different than whey protein.

      There is one post on Facebook where he says that whey protein is fine for sure – see https://www.facebook.com/DrMikeDiet/posts/383253325095896
      He also mentions it in a blog – see http://www.tipsonhealthyliving.com/diet-and-fitness/whey-protein-for-weight-loss
      Neither of these is referring to The 17 Day Diet, so it’s not clear on which phases it would be allowed. But it’s relatively low in carbohydrates and fat and high in protein, so it might fit in Cycle 1.

  • Helen D May 12, 2014, 5:15 pm

    I don’t eat fruit. At all. I know, it’s weird. But I usually have juice from freshly squeezed oranges in the morning. Do I have to wait until Cycle 3 to have it?

    • Penny Hammond May 13, 2014, 7:57 pm

      Fruit juice actually isn’t allowed until cycle 4, and then only in moderation. On a number of recent diets it’s excluded because it can spike your blood sugar.

  • Kassandra May 13, 2014, 10:44 am

    I am planning on starting this next week, I have already been on a very low carb diet for awhile but I have been at a platuea so I figured I would try to change it up, I was wondering if its required to eat the fruit and yogurt (probiotic) or if its just suggested, also the same with the natural starches do I have to eat them?

    • Penny Hammond May 13, 2014, 8:05 pm

      Dr. Mike says you should eat probiotics – “These foods help your body digest foods and extract calories” (p.28)
      He says you should eat more fruits and vegetables. Not just more fruits. He insists several places in the book that you should have more fruits.
      He asks you to limit natural starches, but he doesn’t say anywhere that it would be okay to avoid them completely.

      If you want to switch it up, don’t continue to do what you were doing before by avoiding these foods!

  • Sheryl Spear May 16, 2014, 9:54 pm

    Is it ok to use probiotics in supplement form?

    • Penny Hammond May 18, 2014, 1:49 pm

      On page 47, Dr. Mike answers the question “Can I take a probiotic supplement instead of eating probiotic foods?” with this response: “Yes. Probiotics come in supplement form that you can buy at your pharmacy or health food store. Look for a probiotic supplement that contains 10 to 20 billion colony-forming units (CFUs), and read the label to learn how it should be stored.”

  • Frank Matcovich May 19, 2014, 4:05 pm


    I am confused about what kind of yogurt can be eaten in stage one, it seems that the low fat yogurt has more sugar, also is there any kind of milk that you can put in your coffee in stage 1. Thanks.

    • Penny Hammond May 20, 2014, 2:44 pm

      Low-fat yogurt has a slightly higher percentage of natural sugars (lactose) – it’s not an added sugar if there aren’t any sugars in the ingredients. Natural sugars in dairy and low-sugar fruits (and also in a small amount in some vegetables) are allowed in Cycle 1.

      I can’t find any mention in the book of what you can use as a milk substitute during Cycles 1 and 2. Unsweetened almond milk is allowed from cycle 3, but that doesn’t help you now! Does anyone else have any ideas?

      • Chrissie June 26, 2014, 10:39 am

        One would think a small amount of low-fat acidophilus milk would be suitable, since this is on the approved list of probiotic foods.

  • Kassandra May 20, 2014, 12:42 pm

    Just started the program 2 days ago and holy moly Im so hungry and think about food all day long, but I really want to stick it out and see if this works so other than the normal Chicken/or turkey burgers /fish I had to come up with easy ideas, so I figured I would share them and hopefully this helps someone out 🙂

    Turkey/chicken meatballs eggplant parm
    veggie soup Zucchini parm
    Turkey/chix meatloaf chix parm
    lettuce wraps with tuna or chicken salad chix cacciatore
    Chicken salad with red grapes (before 2) Tuna melt on top of tomato slices
    Taco lettuce wraps chicken fajitas
    turkey/chicken meat crust pizza
    No bean turkey chili
    turkey stuffed peppers
    turkey stuffed cabbage rolls
    chicken skewers

    And if in a pinch on fast food I order 6-7 hard shell chicken tacos fresca style at Taco bell and dump them out on a plate. Also there is always chinese takeout and ask for steamed chix and broccoli with the sauce on the side.

    Hope this helps 🙂

  • Pat May 21, 2014, 1:45 pm

    When can you eat legumes? Just started diet doing ok. Thanks

    • Penny Hammond May 25, 2014, 1:39 pm

      Legumes are considered a starchy food on this diet, and you should only have them (in the amounts allowed) in days and cycles when you are eating starches.
      Cycle 1 – not at all
      Cycle 2 – only on alternate Active days, with one serving = 1 cup
      Cycle 3 – okay as part of your starch portion, same serving size
      Cycle 4 – as above

  • Sheryl Spear May 23, 2014, 6:42 pm

    I am a 56 year old female. I started this 8 days ago and have not lost a pound. I know this works, my son lost 30. I have the book, and have not cheated once. Walk everyday for 45 min. Does this happen?

    • Penny Hammond May 25, 2014, 2:30 pm

      Not all diets work for everybody – so yes, it’s possible this might not work for you even if you follow it to the letter.
      Try drinking lots of water to see if that helps to flush things out.

  • kate May 25, 2014, 1:38 pm

    Hi I am starting this diet tomorrow and would like to find out if I am allowed to have coffee? I love my coffee especially in the mornings. I can cut it out but if it is allowed then I would prefer not to. Also want to know if I am allowed milk? Should it be low fat/fat free or full cream? Thanks

    • Penny Hammond May 25, 2014, 2:57 pm

      Coffee is allowed in all cycles of the diet – Dr. Mike says that one to two cups a day is idea (implying you shouldn’t have much more than that).
      However, milk isn’t allowed until cycle 3 (at which point low-fat or nonfat milk are allowed in moderation). Cream isn’t listed as okay on any cycle. I haven’t come across any milk or cream substitutes that are allowed on cycles 1 or 2 of the diet – so it would have to be black coffee.

  • Jeannie May 28, 2014, 2:15 pm

    Question, what about eating ‘Egg Beaters’? Does the same rule apply for 2 eggs = 1 serving? I prefer ‘Egg Beaters’ over real eggs.

    • Penny Hammond May 29, 2014, 6:53 pm

      The only time Dr. Mike refers to egg beaters in the book is when he’s saying that low-fat high-carb diets don’t work.
      He says you can eat egg whites without restrictions. Egg beaters have a lot of added ingredients as well as egg whites – none are listed as foods to avoid in the book as far as I can see.

  • Nel May 30, 2014, 5:08 pm

    I recently discovered unsweetened coconut almond milk and unsweetened vanilla almond milk. Are these allowed at all during the diet?

    • Penny Hammond May 30, 2014, 5:56 pm

      You can have unsweetened almond milk on cycles 3 and 4 (serving size 1 cup, 1-2 servings daily). I’d assume that unsweetened coconut almond milk and vanilla almond milk would be the same – just check the ingredients to see that there’s nothing there which doesn’t fit in with the diet.

  • J June 5, 2014, 11:08 am

    So does this mean no coffee once so ever the only thing you can drink is water..

    • Penny Hammond June 8, 2014, 1:11 pm

      Coffee’s okay – I just made this page a little clearer on that regard. Dr. Mike suggests restricting how much you have (max 3-4 8-ounce cups a day). Watch out for things you can’t add to your coffee on a particular phase – sugar or sweeteners, milk or cream.
      You can also have tea (same restrictions) or green tea.

  • Deb June 7, 2014, 12:42 pm

    What beverages are allowed. Is coffee?

    • Penny Hammond June 8, 2014, 1:44 pm

      Coffee and tea – no more than 3-4 8-ounce cups a day. Watch what you add – no sugar, no milk on cycles 1 and 2.
      Green tea and herbal teas are okay.
      Alcohol isn’t allowed until cycle 3, and then only in limited amounts.

  • Sofia June 9, 2014, 6:55 am


    I am on diet for almost a week. I nearly lost 2 kg. To be honest I thought I will loose more. I started to think, that I do something wrong, so my question is.
    When should I eat dinner.. I mean the latest time for it? Usually we eat about 8.30pm , so maybe that is too late.

    Is it ok, to eat kefir after dinner ? I have one serving for breakfast and 2nd after dinner ( as a dessert) 😉 ).

    I also think, that I probably fill my stomach too much for the night. That is why I am asking for kefir in the evening.

    Thank you !!!

    • Penny Hammond June 10, 2014, 5:23 pm

      Hello Sofia,

      2 kg sounds like a lot of weight loss for under a week!

      I can’t find anything on the book about meal timing or the latest time to eat dinner.

      Sure, you could have kefir after dinner – keep an eye on the number of servings you’re having over the course of the day. If you’re not sleeping well because you’re having too much for dinner, that might affect your weight loss, so if that happens try shifting some of your eating to earlier in the day.

      • Jaime March 11, 2015, 10:28 pm

        I thought kefir was a probiotic and not allowed after 2pm?

        • Penny Hammond March 15, 2015, 5:30 pm

          It’s carbohydrates that you’re not supposed to eat after 2pm; you can eat probiotics after 2pm.
          There’s a small amount of carbs in kefir, yogurt, and other milk-based probiotics, but it’s not considered a starchy or sugar food that you’re supposed to be avoiding after 2pm.

  • Mary June 9, 2014, 3:38 pm

    I just started the diet and I was wonder with the yogurt I hate it I get sick from the smell and the taste any suggestions

    • Penny Hammond June 10, 2014, 5:47 pm

      You could have other probiotic foods instead of yogurt. There’s a listing for each cycle of the diet. If you get sick from the smell of yogurt, you probably wouldn’t like other milk-based probiotics such as kefir, but instead you could have miso, tempeh, sauerkraut, or kimchi.

  • KC June 16, 2014, 6:49 pm

    Can I eat bread during the first cycle ?

    • Penny Hammond June 19, 2014, 5:27 am

      The first cycle is a no-starch cycle, and you can’t eat bread on that cycle.

  • Lauren K June 21, 2014, 6:07 pm

    I recently read that Dr Mike approved Unsweetened almond milk for all cycles. Is that true?? Its very low carb but not a probiotic. Thanks!

    • Penny Hammond June 22, 2014, 1:36 pm

      I can’t find that anywhere from Dr. Mike himself.
      In the Breakthrough Edition he says “I really like almond milk for diets, by the way. It’s lower in calories than skim milk. It’s lactose-free, making it perfect for people with milk allergies. It has absolutely no cholesterol, and that’s terrific for heart health. But, most of all, it tastes pretty darn good” (p.64). He includes unsweetened almond milk in the recipes for all the smoothies on the optional Transitional Day Fast between cycles. However, even in the new book he doesn’t include almond milk on cycles 1 or 2.

      • Susan S December 26, 2014, 10:47 am

        You seem very knowledgeable. I’m reading the Breakthrough Edition and planning to begin soon. I have a tree nut allergy. Do you know what I can use in my fasting smoothies instead of almond milk? Thanks! Susan

        • Penny Hammond December 26, 2014, 2:13 pm

          Hi Susan,
          Would you be able to use seed milks? E.g. hemp milk, flax milk, sunflower seed milk, pumpkin seed milk (unsweetened, if you can find it; you can look online for seed milk recipe to make your own). Doesn’t exactly fit with the recommendations, but it might work for you.

  • Rachel H June 23, 2014, 7:13 pm

    In cycle one for eggs, it says up to two per day. Then it provides a breakdown for the servings that 2 eggs equals one serving. So am I allowed to eat up to 2 servings of eggs per day (for eggs) or am I allowed two eggs per day?

    • Penny Hammond June 24, 2014, 6:11 am

      You’re allowed 2 whole eggs per day.

  • Corina m July 3, 2014, 10:48 am

    I have a 2 month old that I am exclusively nursing. I was wondering if I can do this diet while nursing. Also I have to avoid dairy for the baby so I was wondering if I can just substitute almond milk for the dairy…
    I want to make sure I am eating enough and being healthy for the baby…. So this diet spuds possible because there is a lot of food. Just wondering if it is enough of the right types to feed my baby well. ( keep up milk production etc)

    • Penny Hammond July 3, 2014, 12:36 pm

      Dr. Mike says you shouldn’t follow this diet if you’re nursing.

      There are some healthy eating recommendations in this diet that may be helpful to you – avoiding the “always avoid” foods and eating a variety of foods as listed in the “what to eat” sections for cycles 1-3 (eat the foods from all cycles, not just from cycle 1 or 2). Exclusively nursing takes a lot of calories, so it’s probably not a good idea to cut down on healthy fats.

  • Renae Jones July 3, 2014, 10:32 pm

    Today is day 14 of phase 1 for me. I have lost 10 pounds so far. I would love to lose 30 pounds altogether. I have gotten regular low fat greek yogurt. I use Dannon Oikos. They have alot of different varieties. My favorite is honey flavored. I love this diet. This is the second time to do this diet. I lost 25 pounds the first time. I started back to school, and over the course of 2 years I had ate myself back to my original weight. I have tried different diets over the past 3 months with exercise just to be disappointed. I didn’t lose weight until I started this diet again. I wish I had just started this diet in the first place. The first phase is the hardest. I find myself drooling over the idea of a bowl of oatmeal! It feels good to get on the scales and see a 10 pound weight loss. I can do without oatmeal for 3 more days….I think? I would recommend this diet to anyone!

  • Bobbi July 8, 2014, 2:42 pm

    Is gum allowed on this diet if it is sugar-free?

    • Penny Hammond July 9, 2014, 7:34 am

      Dr. Mike doesn’t talk about gum in general, but refers to it in the part of the book that talks about PMS.
      He says that the artificial sweetener sorbitol, found in some sugarless gums and candies, can contribute to bloating. Also, he says that chewing gum causes you to swallow excess air, and this aggravates bloating.
      In general, he encourages you to take it easy on sugar substitutes.

  • DT July 16, 2014, 9:18 am

    I am on week two of a half hearted attempt. I do crave something in the evenings….I think my body misses the carbs. I have cheated a bit. I had 2 glasses of wine on the weekend, and drank tequila a couple of times when I went out (6 oz), and one night espresso vodka! Also, I have been putting milk in my coffee in the morning (1%). Well, I only lost about three pounds which is better than before. I have been using 2 greek nofat yogurt with fruit in it. I am not sure if they are “no sugar added” (probably too much sugar), and ketchup & relish on my turkey burger. Oh, and I had a one inch of some crazy nutty thing/bar in the health food store. I also had GNC’s ultra mega Green Active Dietary Supplement a couple of times ( I guess it is a soy & whey based product… so not so good). I guess that is tooooo mannny cheets! I guess I am more on a phase two than one. I think I should eat a carb and try again! lol!

    • Penny Hammond July 17, 2014, 7:35 am

      Well, you’re right, that’s quite a lot of cheats!
      The author talks about cycle 1 “clearing sugar from the blood to boost fat burning.” Many, if not most, people have sugar and carb cravings, and going cold turkey like following cycle 1 to the letter can be difficult at first. But getting completely off sugar and foods that your body reads as sugars (alcohol, carbs) is what cycle 1 is about; the other cycles introduce healthy carbs but also don’t allow sugar at all.

  • DT July 16, 2014, 9:24 am

    What about xylitol! I like it. Nuctrese is gross and taste’s like a chemical. Stevia just doesn’t do it for some things and I am allergic to the other stuff.

    • Penny Hammond July 17, 2014, 7:37 am

      Xylitol isn’t on Dr. Mike’s list of preferred sweeteners.
      He says “Sugar alcohols, such a mannitol and xylitol, are carbohydrates but not sugars, which make them sugar-free sweeteners. Unlike artificial sweeteners they can raise blood sugar, but because they are slowly absorbed from the intestinal tract, the rise in blood glucose and demand for insulin is minimal compared to eating pure sugar. They… are low calorie compared to natural sugar and do not promote tooth decay… My advice is to go easy on sugar substitutes and learn to enjoy the natural sweetness of fresh fruits.” (p.227)

  • Monica July 21, 2014, 12:00 pm

    Regarding water count – herbal teas are caffeine free so I would think they wouldn’t be considered a “negative water”. Therefore they should count toward your 8 glasses of water a day, don’t you think?

    • Penny Hammond July 21, 2014, 7:03 pm

      I’d assume that by “tea” as a type of negative water Dr. Mike means black tea, and perhaps green tea, but not herbal teas which don’t have caffeine.

  • Maite July 24, 2014, 9:03 pm

    Is air popped popcorn allowed on any of the cycles ?

    • Penny Hammond August 4, 2014, 5:38 pm

      Light microwave popcorn is listed as an optional snack in the Achieve cycle (and would therefore also be allowed in the Arrive cycle).

  • Maite July 24, 2014, 9:06 pm

    Also having just read the book, green tea is actually recommended daily and no teas count toward your water count. Good or bad. So drink green tea with your meals is his recommendation in the book. But you still need to drink your water. Herbal teas do not count towards water either per his comments in good teas. This is in reply to posts right above mine.

    • Penny Hammond August 4, 2014, 5:37 pm

      Could you point to where it says that herbal teas do not count towards water? I can’t find that anywhere in the original book or the breakthrough edition. Thanks!

  • Robin July 25, 2014, 5:36 am

    What about cantaloupe and honeydew melons ? Are they allowed in cycles 1 or 2? And while Dr. Mike does not recommend tuna, swordfish or shark because of metal content, are they permissible in cycle1? I am tired of salmon. And I really am not a fan of flounder or tilapia. Is lobster permitted in cycle2?

    • Penny Hammond August 4, 2014, 5:55 pm

      Cantaloupe and honeydew melons are not included as a permissible low-sugar fruit in cycles 1 or 2; however there are a couple of recipes with melons in cycle 3, which allows virtually any fresh fruit.

      In cycle 1, you can have low-fat fish, but no shellfish. You should be fine with low-mercury fish that are not on this list.
      In cycle 2, you can have fattier fish and shellfish. Lobster is probably similar enough to shrimp that you could have it in this cycle.

  • Regina July 25, 2014, 7:55 am

    I’ve completed cycles 1-3 but haven’t lost all I want to, so I’m starting cycle 1 again. My question is about exercise, in cycle 3 I’ve been walking for an hour but in cycle 1 the recommended exercise was 17 minutes. Do I need to cut back exercise or continue what I’ve built up to?

    • Penny Hammond August 4, 2014, 6:05 pm

      I only look at the food side of diets, not exercise…
      It looks like Dr. Mike is suggesting you exercise 17 minutes a day to get you to start exercising. However, all the eating suggestions are in cycles so perhaps the exercise should be as well. Have a look at the SparkPeople 17 Day Diet SparkTeam to see if there’s any discussion.

  • Jennifer Steffens August 13, 2014, 11:52 am

    Is Stevia or Agave okay to use? I like to keep most of my ingredients as natural and organic as possible due to multiple allergies.

    • Penny Hammond August 13, 2014, 2:17 pm

      The only sweeteners allowed in cycle 1 are Truvia (which is stevia) and Nectresse.
      Small amounts of agave are included in recipes from cycle 2 onwards.

      • Jennifer Steffens August 13, 2014, 4:13 pm

        Thank you 🙂

  • Ann August 14, 2014, 3:49 pm

    Why no fruit or starches after 2:00 p.m.?

    • Penny Hammond August 17, 2014, 8:29 pm

      Here’s what Dr. Mike says: “During Cycles 1 and 2, I recommend not eating carbs after 2:00 p.m. If you did a good job of replenishing your muscle and liver glycogen throughout the day, which is what carbs do, then any excess carbs in the later afternoon and at night, a time when you’re typically least active, will be readily converted to fat. On Cycle 3, you’re allowed to have carbs at dinner. However, if you want to spur weight loss, continue avoiding carbs after 2:00 p.m.” (Breakthrough Edition p. 119)

  • Angie R August 17, 2014, 11:49 am

    This diet is fantastic! I had no idea that my life long asthma problems were due to white flour, or the like until I eliminated them for this diet. Not only did I lose 35 lbs but no longer had asthma! I have since gained most of my weight back and am going to cycle thru the diet again, but the best part is my asthma is so much less. I have not eaten as many carbs as I used too, but I have at times and my physiology must have changed because my breathing is great!

  • Bonnie September 1, 2014, 9:44 pm

    I am on day 8 and doing ok. Have not checked my weight yet as I do not have a scale but will tomorrow at my daughters.
    My question is I take a diuretic and go to the bathroom at least 3 to 4 times with every thing I drink I have a hard time drinking water all day along with the hot water with lemon and the green tea after meals. Especially if I have a smoothie as one of my meals. I always get up about 3 to 4 times at night so I am not getting much sleep. Is it really necessary to have all the extra water or can I change and just drink the water and not the tea.

    • Penny Hammond September 2, 2014, 12:16 pm

      My main suggestion would be to avoid drinking for 3-4 hours before going to sleep (including smoothies), so it doesn’t wake you up at night.
      Hot water with lemon should count towards your water goal, you don’t need to count it separately.
      The green tea after meals is suggested, but not as “mandatory” like the water – possibly you could cut it back.
      Good luck!

  • Hillary September 3, 2014, 7:37 pm

    I was wondering if your allowed to eat dill pickles and also whey protein (either shakes or powder)? Thanks

    • Penny Hammond September 4, 2014, 7:32 am

      For pickles, check the ingredients and make sure there isn’t any sugar there.

      For whey protein powder and shakes, again check the ingredients (sometimes other things are added, including sweeteners).
      It isn’t mentioned in the book, but there is one post on Facebook where he says that whey protein is fine for sure – see https://www.facebook.com/DrMikeDiet/posts/383253325095896
      He also mentions it in a blog – see http://www.tipsonhealthyliving.com/diet-and-fitness/whey-protein-for-weight-loss
      Neither of these is referring to The 17 Day Diet, so it’s not clear on which phases it would be allowed. But it’s relatively low in carbohydrates and fat and high in protein, so it might fit in Cycle 1.

  • Mona September 19, 2014, 12:57 pm

    I did great on cycle 1 losing 8 lbs! But after a few days on cycle 2 I fell off the wagon for about 2 weeks.

    • Penny Hammond September 21, 2014, 11:59 am

      Think about how well you did on this diet – repeat phase 1 and then try to move to phase 2 again. Keep an eye out for any trigger foods that might cause you to fall off the wagon – it’s probably best to avoid those foods.

  • rabeeya October 11, 2014, 2:45 pm

    I ate a few nuts in cycle 1 the first two days. Does that mean I restart?

    • Penny Hammond October 12, 2014, 7:07 pm

      Dr. Mike isn’t clear what to do if you have a small amount of “cheating” on the early cycles. On cycle 4, he says your body can handle it – he even advises “strategic cheating” on C4, having no more than 1-3 “favorite meals” each weekend (p.104).
      If you just had a small deviation from the diet, take it as a learning experience not to repeat, and move on.

  • Heather October 15, 2014, 8:02 am

    this is a new way of eating, I don’t even call it a diet anymore. I have lost 19 lbs so far

    • Penny Hammond October 15, 2014, 11:30 am

      That’s great!

  • Ineia October 16, 2014, 3:27 pm

    Can I use whey low sweetener ? It taste like sugar and it’s ok for diabetics

    • Penny Hammond October 16, 2014, 3:41 pm

      It looks like the ingredients are fructose, lactose monohydrate (milk), and sometimes sucrose or corn starch.
      Dr. Mike advises you to avoid all sugars on this diet, including fructose and sucrose. The only exception is the “free” meals on cycle 4 weekends.

  • May Reynolds October 23, 2014, 2:48 am

    Good Day

    Do i just need the book to go on the dieet?

    Please let me know.

    • Penny Hammond October 23, 2014, 3:07 pm

      I’d encourage you to get the book if you want to go on this diet. The Breakthrough Solution is the latest version.
      It contains more information on the foods that are encouraged at each stage, the benefits of friendly gut bacteria, why to drink a lot of water, the exercise plans, cultural tweaks, sample menus, and recipes. The Breakthrough Solution also has information on Contour Foods and the Transitional Day Fast, supplementation, exercise workouts for spot reduction, more recipes, and more meal plans.

      Because the foods you’re allowed to eat will be restricted, you’ll also have to make sure you have foods that fit within each phase.

  • Erin Kornstadt October 23, 2014, 10:31 pm

    Is JIF Natural Peanut Butter ok to have in cycle 1? Also, just to clarify, egg whites have no restrictions to them…so I can have 4 egg whites=1 serving for breakfast and again 4 more egg whites at dinner? Thanks for blogging, this is great!

    • Penny Hammond October 27, 2014, 12:15 pm

      Nuts (unoiled) are considered a “friendly fat” in cycle 3, but not listed before then. So I’d assume that you can’t have peanut butter or other nut butters until then (and always check the ingredients).

      You could probably repeat the same proteins as long as you don’t go over the limit for the day – however, it might not be a good idea to have the same protein all the time.

  • Erin Kornstadt October 23, 2014, 11:10 pm

    Oh and what about hummus?!?! Thank you!!

    • Penny Hammond October 27, 2014, 12:18 pm

      Legumes aren’t allowed on cycle 1 (or on Accelerate days in cycle 2). So hummus, which is made from chickpeas, would be out.
      They’re allowed in limited amounts on Activate days of cycle 2 (and later cycles) – look at the ingredients to see what’s been added, and mind the total amount of fat you’re allowed per day as hummus tends to be made with a fair amount of oil.
      Legumes are starches, so don’t eat after 2pm.

  • Vicki October 31, 2014, 5:47 pm

    I need the chicken soup recipe from this book. It is so delicious and I have let someone borrow my book. This is the recipe where you bake the chicken breasts. Please?????

  • Shyrll Bryant November 6, 2014, 3:37 pm

    I started cycle 2 today. My question is can I eat beef all day or does that need to be done by 2:00 p.m. on my cycle 2 days?

    • Penny Hammond November 7, 2014, 7:44 am

      It’s only starches (carbohydrates) that should be eaten before 2pm – beef isn’t considered a starch, it’s a protein, so no time limitations for it.

  • Tamara November 12, 2014, 10:37 pm

    Hallo i am in cycle 1 and i live in Jordan we do not have cottage cheese what we have is Halloumi cheese
    I was wondering can I substitute the halloumi for cottage cheese and whats the permitted amount ??
    Thank you

    • Penny Hammond November 13, 2014, 7:43 am

      Cottage cheese is listed as a probiotic in the book, and only the live active cottage cheese is suggested.
      You could substitute with a soft young cheese that’s somewhat fermented. Halloumi’s semi-hard, and I don’t know the probiotic level but wouldn’t expect it to be high. Maybe try lebne instead? That’s usually very high in live active cultures that help you digest.

  • Heather November 14, 2014, 5:13 pm

    Through all of my years of watching my weight and many diets, this is the only eating plan that has worked. I have lost 20.7 lbs so far. I consider this a lifestyle change. Very seldom do I have a craving for something sweet. I no longer eat processed bread, pasta, or sweets. I make my low carb bread/ buns each week. I eat potatoes twice a month. Works for me

  • Tamara November 20, 2014, 11:07 am

    I have a question regarding bulgar lentils and rice ?? When the book says 100 grams is this the dry weight or cooked weight
    Do we measure precooked or after


    • Penny Hammond November 21, 2014, 6:55 am

      When the book tells you how much of each type of food you can eat per serving, that’s the cooked weight.

      If there’s an ingredient going into a recipe, the weight will be the dry weight if the ingredient is uncooked.

    • Tamara November 21, 2014, 7:24 am

      Can you help me out ???

      • Penny Hammond November 23, 2014, 2:34 pm

        I’m not quite sure what your question is, how I can help you out.

  • Tamara November 24, 2014, 2:29 am

    have a question regarding beans and rice ?? When the book says 100 grams is this the dry weight or cooked weight
    Do we measure precooked or after
    Since in jordan all beans and rice and all other grains are stored dry
    And the weight differs when cooled
    Can you help me out

  • Paula December 2, 2014, 1:41 pm

    Hi, can you tell me if I could have a herbalife shake for breakfast made with water? Also, what about sweetcorn and peas in the first 17 days?

    Thank you.

    • Penny Hammond December 3, 2014, 8:32 am

      Look at the ingredients of the shakes. It looks like the second ingredient in many of them is fructose, basically sugar. All types of sugar are supposed to be avoided in all phases of this diet.

      Sweetcorn/corn is listed as a starchy vegetable to avoid in cycle 1. It says you can eat shell peas (e.g. mangetout/snow peas) in cycle 1, but doesn’t list (green) peas out separately. They’re pretty starchy, so I’d assume you should avoid them in cycle 1.

  • Reham December 17, 2014, 2:43 am

    I am waiting for the book, but reading the lists I could not find avocados – except as part of the good fat cycle 3 – is that the oil? Or the fruit?
    I don’t see it on the avoid list of cycle 1 or 2.
    Can I replace 1 egg with some slices of avocados?
    Or eat it instead of lean protein options? Please inform.
    I had just bought some at Costco thinking they were ok and now I have no idea what to do?!

    • Penny Hammond December 26, 2014, 12:42 pm

      Looking through the original book and the breakthrough edition, in both books it says that avocados (the fruit) are for cycles 3 and 4, not for cycles 1 and 2. Avocados have carbs and fat, which is probably the reason they’re not used until cycle 3 when you’re introducing a wider range of carbs.
      You’re correct, I didn’t specifically list it in the “avoid” list for cycles 1 and 2 – the book doesn’t have a clear “avoid” list so it’s a little difficult to be completely specific here. You could consider avocados to be a type of starchy vegetable – but they’re kinda unusual. If you feel it would be okay, you could try to have a little on Activate days.

  • Gwen December 31, 2014, 4:01 pm

    Have been on the 17-Day plan for 3 months with a weight loss of 50 pounds. This plan is working for me. I walk for my exercise. I added venison since it is a very lean meat. Blood work done: sugar, BP, cholesterol levels are down. Doctor decreased all my meds. WOW!!! Try it, you have nothing to lose but weight.

    • Kelly January 2, 2015, 12:26 am

      Gwen, how many rounds of cycles have you done?

  • Linda January 1, 2015, 5:02 pm

    Can you have water chestnuts in cycle 1? If not, when?

    • Penny Hammond January 1, 2015, 5:40 pm

      Dr. Mike doesn’t mention water chestnuts in any of his books or his website, as far as I can see.
      It looks like they’re about 25% carbs, which is significantly more than the cleansing vegetables so they’re probably not suitable for cycle 1. My assumption would be that you could add them as a natural starch on cycle 2 / activate days.

  • Julie Hawks January 4, 2015, 4:06 pm

    what all can you eat for breakfast, I need to lose 30 lbs, and my husband 70 lbs, so excited to get going,, I need food group daily meals help plse, thank-you

    • Penny Hammond January 4, 2015, 6:04 pm

      There are meal plans in the 17 Day Diet book / Breakthrough Edition (pretty much the same as each other) to give you ideas of what to eat for each of the cycles – there’s a meal plan for each day of each cycle. For example, phase 1 breakfast ideas include eggs with fruit; low-fat yogurt with berries; cottage cheese with fruit. There are also recipes in the 17 Day Diet Cookbook, including smoothies, frittata, omelette, scramble.

    • Cindy January 10, 2015, 12:25 am

      I don’t like eggs but have learned to love other things for breakfast such as ground turkey with taco seasoning. I cook a few pounds and freeze in serving sizes. Then it is quick to thaw and warm up. I have it with tomatoes and/or spinach all fried up (using water or a little olive oil) with garlic, seasoning salt, paprika. Ready in 3-4 minutes. I also use leftover chicken, diced, fried with tomatoes, spinach, mushrooms, onions and seasoned. I also eat low carb turkey meatloaf or Greek yogurt. Liberte 0% is one of the highest in protein and low in added sugar. Most of the sugar is from the added fruit.

  • Suzanne January 12, 2015, 11:23 am

    Jenny have been on the diet 9 days and lost 9 lbs. Its been fairly easy. I have 12 more to go to be at goal wt. My question is — I really enjoy and need– Crackling Oat Bran in my diet. It does have sugar in it. One serving is 3/4 cup and is 200 calories. Dietary Fiber is 25% with 14 g of sugar. I haven’t varied from the diet at all. Just wondering if that will ever be allowed in my eating plan. What are you thoughts?

    • Penny Hammond January 12, 2015, 8:23 pm

      That does look tasty – and wow, it has a lot of sugar! (sugar as the second ingredient, and corn syrup in there as well). You could try to have it in Cycle 4 as one of your Favorite Meals (eaten occasionally, one of 3 Favorite Meals on each weekend, and in moderation), and/or you could start looking for sugar-free substitutes like some granolas to give you crunch and oatiness, or high-fiber cereal like the recommended ones for cycle 3 if you’re looking for the bran for regularity (All-Bran, All-Bran Extra, All-Bran Bran Buds; Fiber One, gluten-free cold cereals, low-sugar granola).

  • Sonia January 14, 2015, 11:09 am

    I tried this diet a few years ago and lost over 30lbs. Then it just stopped working. I have gained 20lbs back after 2 years of health issues, I was thinking of trying this again, but have some new food restrictions that I am not sure how to manage with this diet, as last time they were the staples for my breakfast and snacks. After going through some health issues, I have discovered that I have a severe intolerance to all dairy and egg whites. So my go to greek yoghurt and scrambled egg whites for breakfast are a no go. With no grains in Cycle one, I am at a loss as to what to eat. I also have a severe allergy to soy and all legumes, so that protein option is out as well.
    Any suggestions would be appreciated.

    • Penny Hammond January 14, 2015, 4:46 pm

      Sorry to hear you’ve been having so many issues.
      One trick is to eat leftovers or non-breakfast foods at breakfast time – it can take some getting used to, but leftovers take very little preparation!
      You could try to substitute some of the ingredients in the shakes – e.g. vegan protein powder (look for a legume-free one) instead of whey powder; unsweetened almond milk instead of milk.
      Or bacon, sausage, or other breakfast meats with vegetables.
      Does that help?

  • Carolyn Becton January 19, 2015, 1:52 am

    What do you season your vegetables with instead of using salt. I did not see this in the book.

    • Penny Hammond January 19, 2015, 12:32 pm

      Try herbs, spices, lemon or lime juice, vinegar, hot sauce, low-salt soy sauce, or salt-free seasoning blends.

  • Veda Fields January 26, 2015, 12:47 pm

    I am on day3 of cycle 1. I am unclear as to when to drink the green tea. Before, after or with a meal? Drinking so much water and tea helps keep me from feeling too hungry.

    • Penny Hammond February 2, 2015, 8:23 pm

      Looking at “Meal Planning Made Easy” (p79) and the meal plans for each day, Dr. Mike recommends that you have green tea with your meals.

  • Viraj A January 29, 2015, 7:51 am

    The book mentions patern of diet as follows : Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Snacks
    But the book also says not to have fruits after 2 pm. Where as snacks is shown after dinner and it contains yogurt + 1 serving of fruit.
    So what is the exact time to have snacks??

    • Penny Hammond February 2, 2015, 8:52 pm

      You’re right, it’s confusing that for each day the snacks are listed after dinner, but that doesn’t mean that’s when you should be eating the snacks.
      There don’t appear to be any guidelines in the book about when to snack – my assumption is that it should be when you’re hungry. If you feel the need to have a snack after 2pm, choose a snack without fruit in it.

  • Allie February 7, 2015, 11:16 am

    Would a “Quest Bar” protein bar be allowed on cycle 2?

    Protein Blend (Whey Protein Isolate, Milk Protein Isolate), Isomalto-Oligosaccharides* (Prebiotic Fiber), Erythritol, Water, Unsweetened Chocolate, Almonds, Cocoa, Cocoa Butter. Contains less than 2% of the following: Sea Salt, Stevia, Natural Flavors.

    Nutrition Facts
    Serving Size 1 (60g)
    Calories 160
    Calories from Fat 50
    *Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet
    Amount/Serving%Daily Value*Total Fat 6g9%Saturated Fat 2.5g13%Trans Fat 0g Cholesterol 5mg2%Sodium 250mg10%Vitamin A 2%• Vitamin C 0%Magnesium 4%• Phosphorus 10%Amount/Serving%Daily Value*Potassium 180mg5%Total Carbohydrate 25g8%Dietary Fiber 16g68%Sugars 1g Erythritol 6g Protein 20g Calcium 10%• Iron 10%
    Contains: Almonds and Milk Derived Ingredients
    Only 3g net carbs

    • Penny Hammond February 8, 2015, 2:28 pm

      Thanks for including the list of ingredients! Looking through them for ingredients you’re supposed to avoid, I see:
      Whey powder – Dr. Mike lists this as a superfood in the Breakthrough edition
      Oligosaccharides – these could be considered a starch, only to be eaten before 2pm on Activate days
      Erythritol – this is an ingredient in Truvia, which Dr. Mike says is okay for all phases
      Unsweetened chocolate, cocoa, and cocoa powder – these may be an issue – Dr. Mike only specifically allows dark chocolate or low-calorie cocoa in small amounts during the week of your period. On his website page about needing dessert on your diet, he says chocolate is okay with the 3-bite rule.

      To summarize, I’m not sure whether it would be allowed – maybe in small amounts in the morning as a special treat.

      • Allie February 11, 2015, 6:18 pm


  • Becky Jennings February 26, 2015, 5:23 pm

    I read in the 17 Day Diet Breakthrough Edition that on Cycle 3 “gluten free cold cereal” is allowed. Does that mean cereals like Gluten Free Rice Chex? I was really surprised!! Thx.

    • Penny Hammond March 4, 2015, 5:44 pm

      Look for something that’s high in fiber and doesn’t have added sugars. For example, Gluten Free Rice Chex has both whole grain rice and rice (so it’s not clear how much is whole grain and high fiber), and it contains sugar and molasses (both are added sugars) – so it doesn’t fit this diet.

      Old-fashioned or steel-cut oatmeal is an option.

  • Laurie February 27, 2015, 7:53 am

    Where do parsnips fit it?

    • Penny Hammond March 4, 2015, 4:25 pm

      I’d consider parsnips to be a starchy vegetable, to be included from Cycle 2 Activate days onwards, using starchy vegetable serving sizes (1 cup = 1 serving) and not to eat after 2pm.

  • Ingrid March 4, 2015, 6:06 pm

    For someone that is lactose intollerant what can be substituted for the yogurt?

    • Penny Hammond March 4, 2015, 6:30 pm

      If you get real, live culture yogurt, that’s very low in lactose – the live cultures eat it up.

      If that still leaves too much lactose for you (you get symptoms after eating it), you could try other probiotic / live culture foods such as sauerkraut, kimchi, tempeh, or low-salt miso.

  • Liza March 16, 2015, 10:18 am

    I am considering trying this diet. If I take a daily probiotic capsule, do I have to eat yogurt? I really do not like yogurt very much. Also, can the fruit be skipped? Not a big fan.

    • Penny Hammond March 16, 2015, 7:27 pm

      From page 80 of the Breakthrough Edition:
      Can I Take a Probiotic Supplement Instead of Eating Probiotic Foods?
      Yes. Probiotics come in supplement form that you can buy at your pharmacy or health food store. Look for a probiotic supplement that contains 10 to 20 billion colony -forming units (CFUs). These supplements usually need to be kept in the fridge. Read the label to learn how to store it.

      Dr. Mike is a big advocate of eating (lower-sugar) fruit – especially to replace processed sugary foods. Do you have something in mind you would eat instead on the snacks that call for fruit?

  • ange March 20, 2015, 4:11 pm

    Thank you so much for all the information on this website, its even easier to follow than the book which I have. I absolutely love this diet, I’m 53 and have been on and off diets all my life until now. I’m just about to start Cycle 2 and I’ve lost 10lbs already and very very pleased. Its so liberating not to have to count calories in everything that you put in your mouth. If you follow this to the letter you WILL lose weight. By the way I saw the comments regarding yogurt and I am a huge fan of Fage 0% greek yogurt, delicious with fruit for breakfast!

    • Penny Hammond March 20, 2015, 5:25 pm

      You’re welcome, and I hope you continue to do well!

  • ange March 20, 2015, 5:53 pm

    How does raw chocolate, i.e. cacao figure in this. Can I make a hot chocolate with cacao powder and water for instance?

    • Penny Hammond March 22, 2015, 11:18 am

      The only times Dr. Mike say that chocolate/cocoa is okay to eat are when you have your period and as an occasional treat in cycle 4.
      Unsweetened cocoa powder is over 50% carbohydrates – I’m wondering whether it could be considered a natural starch.

      • ange March 25, 2015, 3:53 pm

        Good point Penny, perhaps count it as a natural starch. To be honest I struggle to eat 2 portions of starch a day after doing cycle 1 anyway so maybe I’ll replace one with a cup of hot chocolate. As always Penny your a wealth of knowledge!

  • tessa April 5, 2015, 11:42 pm

    Hi, I am one cycle 1 and was recently diagnosed with diverticulitis. Fresh vegetables are out of the questions what other vegetables would you recommend? The first time I completed the 17 day diet I lost 30lbs. Its has been about a year and I have gained a little back so I am starting over I only have about 24 more lbs to loss to hit my goal weight. I love this diet!! Thank you!

    • Penny Hammond April 10, 2015, 9:56 am

      Where did you hear that fresh vegetables were out of the question?
      There’s conflicting advice on what to eat with diverticulitis, but it’s commonly advised to eat plenty of fiber, including vegetables. Some say to avoid cruciferous vegetables during flare-ups (cabbage family, including broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, anything else that smells the same when cooked), but others encourage eating it.

  • Melissa April 10, 2015, 7:43 pm

    Can the green tea be cold or does it need to be hot?

    • Penny Hammond April 12, 2015, 3:55 pm

      I can’t see anything saying it needs to be hot. Dr. Mike says that if you don’t like green tea you can substitute green tea extract or matcha green tea powder into foods such as smoothies, yogurt, or cereal. These are all cold uses, so cold green tea should be fine.
      Probably best to make the cold green tea yourself so you know it’s just green tea, without anything added.

  • Jenn April 12, 2015, 11:55 am

    My “ideal weight” in mind is 120. The first time I did the diet, I was up to 135, which doesn’t sound like a lot, but was very uncomfortable for me. After the first two cycles I was right at my ideal weight and. The first time my husband and I did the diet, he weighed around 230 and by the maintenance cycle he was down to 190. Because we had met our weight/body goals, we skipped Cycle 3. I will say, it works MUCH better when my husband and I do this diet together as we motivate each other to stick with it. Overall, though, I know I can always lose some weight and get back into healthy eating habits by coming back to this diet time and time again, as needed.

  • Mary April 12, 2015, 1:24 pm

    I just started this diet 12 days ago and love it! I was worried about my sweet tooth after supper. What can be eaten for that “chocolate fix” after supper?

    • Penny Hammond April 12, 2015, 4:10 pm

      Dr. Mike is very insistent on not eating carbs after 2pm, and doesn’t want you to use artificial sweeteners if you can avoid them. Part of this diet is coming off your sugar addiction.
      (He does say that when you have your period you can have about 1/2 to 1 ounce of dark chocolate or some low-calorie cocoa daily, but isn’t clear if that’s restricted to before 2pm).
      Could you try something completely different like a peppermint tea, or going for a walk?

  • Kaja April 24, 2015, 1:32 am

    I recently bought the book and want to try out this diet. Im a little confused about snacks. Book says: for example: snacks:
    – 1 medium apple
    – 6oz yogurt
    Does that mean I have two snacks a day or is it one snack a day – apple and yogurt as one snack?
    What I want to know is if I have 4 or 5 meals a day including snacks.
    Can I move snacks during the day, for example have one before lunch or before dinner?
    And one more question. I really dont like green tea to the point I feel sick but I love black tea. Can I dring black instead of green – meal plan calls for green


    • Penny Hammond April 24, 2015, 7:14 am

      Dr. Mike says “Try to eat a regular pattern of meals throughout the day, with main meals and snacks at roughly the same time throughout the day. The moral of this study is: No late lunches. The 17 Day Diet allows you to snack between your main meals. That’s a good thing. In fact, I want you to eat something every three hours. Research shows that folks who don’t eat for three hours or longer have more body fat than regular snackers. If you go too long without eating, or if you skip meals, your body senses that food is scarce, so it clings to its energy reserve, which is fat. Then when you finally eat something, insulin shoots higher than normal in an effort to process the calories coming in. At that point, a fat-storing enzyme called lipoprotein lipase increases too, and starts packing away the newly eaten calories as fat.” (p. 43)

      So… snack between meals if you’re going more than 3 hours between meals.
      In the meal plans, it doesn’t say you have to eat the snack suggestions together – you can have the apple as one snack (should be before 2pm) and the yogurt as another snack.

      Dr. Mike says “if you don’t like green tea, here are some substitutes:
      – Take capsules of green tea extract. (Follow the manufacturer’s recommended dosage.)
      – Stir matcha green tea powder into foods, such as smoothies, yogurt, or cereal. (This powder is very high in antioxidants.)
      – Have coffee instead. Coffee is also permitted on the 17 Day Diet. The caffeine kicks your metabolism into high gear. Caffeine also jump-starts the breakdown of fat in the body. I’d recommend sticking to 1 to 2 cups a day.” (p. 41)
      He doesn’t list black tea as a substitute, and doesn’t give clear guidelines on it – perhaps something to have in moderation like coffee, 1-2 cups a day.

  • mary garafalo April 24, 2015, 9:13 am

    Can I have whole milk kefir on the 17 day diet?

    • Penny Hammond April 26, 2015, 8:04 pm

      In cycle 1 the book says the kefir should be low-fat.
      In cycle 2, you can use whole milk products (including whole milk kefir) on Activate days.
      In cycles 3 and 4, you can use whole milk products (including whole milk kefir).

  • JoAnne April 26, 2015, 3:37 pm

    Hi ! I’m excited to start this new eating regimen! I was hoping you could tell me if fat-free sour cream and salsa are permitted in Cycle 1 ?

    • Penny Hammond April 26, 2015, 8:32 pm

      Sour cream isn’t listed as a probiotic, so it’s not permitted on Cycle 1.

      Look at the ingredients of the salsa – most of the usual ingredients for salsa are okay, such as tomatoes, onions, garlic, and cilantro.

  • Kaja April 28, 2015, 3:04 am

    Thanks for the quick response to my previous questions. I started that diet on Monday. Im planning my groceries ahead so I have checked what I need for the next few days (I follow the meal plan from the book). I have noticed that on Cycle 1 Day 4, snacks are not listed. I was wondering if it is an error in a book or is it because there is kefir with fruit on breakfast and then super salad with again yogurt with fruit for dessert for lunch – so its already 2 servings of fruit and 2 servings of probiotic. Should I skip snacks completely or should I eat vegetables from the list as snack? Thanks

    • Penny Hammond April 29, 2015, 6:43 pm

      You’re right, that’s missing from the Breakthrough Edition, and also the original edition. The general guidelines it gives are to have a 2nd fruit serving and a 2nd probiotic serving as snacks in cycle 1 – as you point out that’s already covered in the rest of the menu for that day, so veggies sounds like a good snack for that day.

  • Sydney May 11, 2015, 2:34 pm

    I only use decaf green tea – will I lose some of the advantages of the tea? I know I don’t get the caffeine jolt – anything else? Will my weight loss be hindered?

    • Penny Hammond May 17, 2015, 3:45 pm

      Dr. Mike suggests you “Adopt the habit of drinking green tea. It contains some caffeine, but offers compounds that help burn fat.” (Breakthrough Edition p. 71).
      This implies that the caffeine isn’t the only benefit in green tea. And green tea powder is suggested as an alternative to green tea, so altered versions appear to be okay. He also suggests cutting regular coffee with decaf, or “If you drink other sources of caffeine, such as teas and diet drinks, ease up on them too or switch to decaf versions.” (Breakthrough Edition p. 188).
      So I’d assume decaf green tea would be fine. I don’t imagine it would have more than marginal effect on your weight loss.

  • Tamara June 5, 2015, 11:19 am

    I am on cycle 3 and and i wanted to ask is watermelon permitted ?? And how many grams per serving
    And does this apply to melons as well ??

    • Penny Hammond June 7, 2015, 12:15 pm

      There are a couple of recipes with melons in cycle 3, which allows virtually any fresh fruit. The recipes don’t mention which type of melon, so presumably watermelons and also other types of melons are allowed.
      Serving size is listed as 1 cup of melon balls (this ties in with the given serving size in cycle 3 of 1 cup chopped fresh fruit).
      As with any other fruit, you shouldn’t have it after 2pm on this diet.

  • Eveline Hache June 9, 2015, 7:41 am

    I have been on cycle 1 for 15 days and lost 4 lbs. My problem is with constipation- never had that problem before. I do add about a Tsp of Chia with my morning snack of yogurt in the morning, it helps but do not go daily like I used to. Any suggestions?

    • Penny Hammond June 15, 2015, 12:01 pm

      Try increasing the amount of green leafy veggies you’re eating, both raw and cooked (remember they’re unlimited!); also drink plenty of water. You could also try mixing up the probiotic foods you eat, making sure you’re not eating the same one all the time.

  • Melissa June 18, 2015, 10:02 pm

    cycle – allows for brown rice. is brown rice pasta ok? The ingredients listed are organic brown rice and water

    • Penny Hammond June 25, 2015, 7:17 am

      In cycles 1 and 2, no pastas are allowed, even brown rice pasta.
      In cycle 3, brown rice pasta as you described would be okay.

  • Lisa July 9, 2015, 10:26 pm

    I am on day 11 and i am down 10lbs. Im very strict with following the plan. I relize im not going regularly. Is it ok on cycle 1 to take benefiber? Also I eat greek light and fit stawberry cheesecake yogurt is this ok? No fat 6g sugar. But I see all yogurt has sugar. Whats the best to eat or is mine ok? Thank you, Lisa

    • Penny Hammond July 10, 2015, 6:34 pm

      Make sure you’re drinking plenty of water and fibrous veggies, that should help. Also the book says “Fight constipation by walking for at least 17 minutes each day to keep food moving through your digestive tract.” (p. 195)

      Natural yogurt has natural sugars; you need to be avoiding added sugars. Look at the ingredients list, not just the nutrition facts panel. Make sure that none of the ingredients are sugar (or sugar with a sneaky name).

    • Lisa July 12, 2015, 7:52 pm

      So is greek nonfat vanilla flavored yogart ok? Also the constipation, I eat romain lettuce n broccoli. I run for 1 hr or 1.5 4 days a week. I have been going but very minimal..

      • Lisa July 12, 2015, 7:56 pm

        I also drink 100 plus oz a day of water n 3 8oz cuos of green tea.. I also eat red peppers,greens peppers & mushrooms..

        • Penny Hammond July 13, 2015, 5:55 pm

          Are you eating veggies in large amounts, like half of your plate?

      • Penny Hammond July 13, 2015, 5:53 pm

        Every time, you have to look at the ingredients. It might be nonfat, but does it have added sugar? Many brands concentrate their marketing on being low fat, but don’t advertise what they’re adding instead to make it taste good.

  • Sarah July 21, 2015, 10:20 am

    Just beginning the diet and was wondering about 2% versus 0% greek yogurt. Which would be optimal?

    • Penny Hammond July 24, 2015, 6:34 pm

      The book refers to low-fat yogurt, not fat-free.

  • Crystal July 21, 2015, 3:28 pm

    I would like to know in wich cycle I can eat beets.. not the leafs but actual boiled beets.
    Thank you

    • Penny Hammond July 24, 2015, 6:35 pm

      Beets aren’t listed in the book…
      They could probably be included in phases where you can have starchy vegetables, as they’re fairly high in natural sugars – stick to the portion sizes. So not on phase 1 or on phase 2 accelerate days. And watch out for added sugar.

  • FP August 5, 2015, 4:39 pm

    Just wondering if there are calorie restrictions to this diet? If you can eat all the protein you want, wont you gain weight if you eat too much? Calorie in vs Calorie out?

    • Penny Hammond August 9, 2015, 3:53 pm

      This book doesn’t limit what you eat based on calories – no calorie counting.
      You can eat all the protein you want only in cycle 1 and on Accelerate days, when you’ve got a lot of restrictions in what else you can eat – mostly veggies. And you can only have lean meat on those days. So you don’t have much exposure to foods with lots of calories.

  • Jolene August 18, 2015, 9:54 pm

    Can I have watermelon in phase 1 or 2? I’d imagine that it would have less sugar than a lot of the phase 1 fruits..

    • Penny Hammond August 23, 2015, 4:34 pm

      Hi Jolene,
      The only time melons are mentioned in the books are in a recipe for Achieve (cycle 3) and the PMS exception diet.
      It’s not listed as a food that’s allowed on phases 1 or 2.
      Actually the original book says “Certain fruits like pineapple, watermelon and bananas are high in sugar, and they don’t promote fat loss.” (p.22)

  • dillah September 9, 2015, 11:25 am

    Plz I need ur assistance on the kind of nuts I should take..I mostly like cashewnuts unsalted ones and peanuts are thy okay for cycle one

    • Penny Hammond September 11, 2015, 7:03 pm

      Nuts aren’t listed for cycle 1 or cycle 2, so you can’t have them yet – you can introduce unoiled nuts in cycle 3.

      Dr. Mike isn’t specific about the types of nuts, except mentioning Brazil nuts and walnuts.

  • lori September 10, 2015, 8:26 am

    Hi, i just came across this website very informative. My question, i normally dont take dinner is that okay with this diet

    • Penny Hammond September 11, 2015, 7:07 pm

      Dinners are listed in the sample menus, but the book doesn’t say “thou shalt have dinner.”
      Just make sure you’re eating the recommended servings where they’re given.

  • Lena October 4, 2015, 11:31 am

    Can i eat an aprricot? I didnt see it in the book.

    • Penny Hammond October 5, 2015, 2:14 pm

      You can have apricot from cycle 3 onward; remember that like other fruits and starches you shouldn’t have it after 2pm.

  • Carol October 11, 2015, 8:14 am

    I would like to make turkey meatballs bur prefer them with marinara sauce , as it says its okay in stage 1 . Marinara sauce usually has some sugar. Are there any recipes without sugar or commercial brands?

    Any dinner ideas for stage 1?

    • Penny Hammond October 25, 2015, 3:35 pm

      The book suggests looking for low-carb marinara sauce.
      Rao’s “homemade” pasta sauces don’t have added sugar; also look for Monte Bene; Hunts makes a pasta sauce with no added sugar. You can also do a recipe search for marinara and leave out the sugar.

      The books have cycle 1 recipes, including a variety of salads, eggplant parmesan, ceviche, sesame fish, poached salmon, low-carb primavera delight.

  • Liz October 16, 2015, 3:23 pm

    Can I eat olives during any of the first three cycles?

    • Penny Hammond October 25, 2015, 4:44 pm

      There are 2 recipes in the book that contain olives and are for use on cycles 1 to 4 – so yes, it looks like you can eat olives on any of the first three cycles.

  • Cathy November 3, 2015, 5:43 pm

    Getting ready for cycle 2!!
    How do I prepare the oatmeal? With water?

    Lost 13 lbs on cycle 1 and starting to like what I see.

    • Penny Hammond November 8, 2015, 1:47 pm

      Yes, cook the oatmeal with water.
      Congrats on your success so far!

  • Nina December 7, 2015, 4:01 pm

    Is it OK to start the fast breakthrough before starting cycle1 ? I know it says you can do it in between the cycles, but, Would it hurt to begin with the fast breakthrough?

    • Penny Hammond December 13, 2015, 7:00 pm

      There’s nothing in the book saying you can’t begin the diet with it…

  • Elizabeth January 4, 2016, 2:07 pm

    I am just starting on the 17 day diet and was wondering if I could roast my vegetables instead of steaming them? Also, are calamata olives or capers allowed? thanks!!

    • Penny Hammond January 5, 2016, 6:36 pm

      Oven-roasted vegetables are included in the dinner menu for day 12 of Cycle 1 Accelerate (Breakthrough Edition only).
      Dr. Mike says “Cook vegetables in the shortest time possible to preserve nutrients. Steaming vegetables is a great way to keep nutrients from escaping.” (Breakthrough Edition, p. 76; original book p. 44).
      Roasting takes longer to cook than steaming, so you should probably stick to steaming most of the time.

      There are 2 recipes in the book that contain olives and are for use on cycles 1 to 4. They say “salad olives” but presumably any types of olives could be used in any phase – probably in moderation, as they have a fair bit of fat.
      Capers are also a brined/pickled, unsweetened vegetable, so they should be fine as well.

  • Christina January 7, 2016, 10:23 am

    Hi Penny, What type of yogurt and what is the % of fat you would recommend in the first cycle?

    • Penny Hammond January 10, 2016, 2:42 pm

      Hi Christina,
      In cycle 1, Dr. Mike says that you can have Greek-style, low-fat yogurt. He doesn’t define the % of fat, but 2% and 1% are usually defined as low-fat (the only time fat-free or 0% fat yogurt is mentioned is in chapter 10, the PMS exception diet). It can be plain or sugar-free fruit flavored. It should have live active cultures so it acts as a probiotic. 1 serving is 6 oz.

  • Ada January 14, 2016, 9:27 pm

    I did try this diet..and it really worked ,I did it faithfully up to the third cycle ,lust 27 lb I will say this though…No diet is easy, but the 17 day died I have to say it was not as bad as some I felt really good on it, easy to follow..Thanks to Dr. Morreno.

  • Fran Rodahl February 8, 2016, 2:42 pm

    May I drink Metamucil 3x a day on the 17 day diet along with the other required foods?

    • Penny Hammond February 15, 2016, 2:48 pm

      You should be eating a lot of veggies on the 17 day diet, and they contain natural fiber – why would you need metamucil as well?

  • Laura March 18, 2016, 1:19 pm

    Hi. I just started the 17 day diet. Just wondering if canned chicken or turkey (flakes of chicken or turkey) is allowed in cycle 1. What about skinless boneless chicken thighs or any poultry dark meat?

    • Penny Hammond March 24, 2016, 1:27 pm

      Canned fish in water is allowed in phase 1, and skinless chicken and turkey breast are allowed. For the canned chicken and turkey, are they skinless breast, and are they canned in water or another food allowed in cycle 1? If so, they’d probably be okay.

      Chicken thighs / poultry dark meat are a little fattier than skinless chicken or turkey breast – it looks like they’re not allowed until cycle 2 or 3, not entirely clear.

  • Rosemary Betts April 3, 2016, 1:52 pm

    i have quit losing weight for the past 4 days,i have followed this diet to the T,DRANK WATER,WHAT CAN I DO?

    • Penny Hammond April 17, 2016, 9:33 pm

      Sometimes the body doesn’t lose weight every day – plateaus can be temporary. Continue the diet for a little longer to see if there’s any change.

  • Reenie April 11, 2016, 5:42 pm

    I have a question ! I am on day 7 of this diet and I lost a few pounds, not much. So I am wondering what I am doing wrong. Occasionally during the week I come home late from work which results in me eating dinner around 9pm.. and I sleep around 12am. Would this be why? Please advise on what time would be latest to have dinner in order to promote weight loss.

    Thank you

    • Penny Hammond April 17, 2016, 10:10 pm

      Unfortunately the perfect diet doesn’t exist – so although this diet works really well for a lot of people, it might not work for everyone.

      Try eating dinner at least 2-3 hours before bed, if you can.

  • Yana April 20, 2016, 6:58 pm

    Hi! I was wondering if, tuna steaks/seared tuna pieces are okay for Cycle 1? The list only mentions Canned tuna…. is it strictly the fish listed allowed? Also is a raw protein powder acceptable? Mine is low in carbs and fats. Thanks!

    • Penny Hammond May 3, 2016, 5:10 pm

      Fatty proteins aren’t allowed in cycles 1, 2, or (less strict) 3.
      Also, Dr. Mike advises you to “Avoid the bigger fish such as swordfish, shark, king mackerel, and albacore tuna: They are the most likely to carry metals like methylmercury, which is considered a toxin.” (Breakthrough edition p. 73)

      Check the ingredients of your protein powder – does it contain ingredients that are supposed to be avoided on the cycle you’re on?

  • lisa May 29, 2016, 4:41 pm

    Hi ,
    i’would like to know what kind of proteins bars we are allowed to. I d like to add them to my breakfast as i just have 2 fruits and a white cheese 0%; iM ON CYCLE 1.
    i ALSO WANT TO KNOW IF IN THE breakthrough edition we are allowed to have fat free cheese during the cycle 1.
    thank you

    • Penny Hammond May 30, 2016, 4:17 pm

      It’ll be tough to find a protein bar for cycle 1. I can’t see any reference to nuts in cycle 1 (or 2), and dried fruits are probably high-sugar fruits also to be avoided.

      In the Breakthrough Edition, fat-free cheeses are allowed as a “condiment” in cycle 1 – this implies you could sprinkle a little over another food, rather than eat whole pieces out of hand.
      Has anyone found any protein bars that work in any of the cycles?

      • samar March 30, 2017, 6:54 am

        what about the atkins bars? their carb count is 2.1 g

        • Penny Hammond June 20, 2017, 2:47 pm

          Atkins bars probably count as processed foods, to be avoided with this diet.

  • ljiljana popovic June 6, 2016, 4:22 am

    Dear all, I was wondering, I have to lose 5 kg in next 3 weeks.
    I am not skinny but I will be with 5 kg less. I am already on some kind of diet “healthy eating only” for last month and I’ve lost 5kg. Does anyone had similar success? I started cycle 1, and I will be disciplined but just some support would be very nice, or at least comment that is possible … thank you

  • Judy McElravy December 4, 2016, 3:53 pm

    Can I have almonds???

    • Penny Hammond December 6, 2016, 4:22 pm

      Nuts or seeds (unoiled) are allowed in cycle 3 (and therefore cycle 4 as well). So, almonds would be allowed at that time.

      • Sam119 March 20, 2017, 5:11 pm

        I have done low carbs diet before, but unfortunately gained the weight back. My question is about glucophage pills with the 17days diet and about the lactose free milk

        • Penny Hammond June 20, 2017, 2:46 pm

          You’ll have to check with your doctor about the glucophage pills and whether it’s okay for you to have kefir, live active culture yogurt, and lactose-free milk.

  • Julie January 8, 2017, 5:57 pm

    What if I can’t eat all of the food ? I’ve had breakfast, morning snack, and lunch and now I’m not hungry and haven’t had my second probiotic and haven’t eaten my protein and veggies for supper.

    • Penny Hammond June 20, 2017, 2:38 pm

      Try paring down the serving sizes – instead of a cup of something, have 3/4 cup. That way you get the full variety of foods.

  • Lisa K January 17, 2017, 10:37 am

    Can you tell me if diet soda is allowed as long as I am drinking the suggested amount of water each day? I don’t drink coffee or tea and I don’t think I can handle the horrible headaches I get when stopping caffeine. Thanks!

    • Penny Hammond June 20, 2017, 2:39 pm

      Oh, but think how much better you’ll feel when you break the caffeine habit! Can you find a few days where you’re not going to be too busy, and cut back then?
      Dr. Mike says it’s best to give up soda altogether.

  • Tamara January 31, 2017, 1:59 pm

    I am at cycle 3
    I read that muesli is allowed in cycle 3 ???
    But how much grams and is any type of it allowed ??

  • Doug March 11, 2017, 10:19 am

    I’m using Lifeway Lowfat Kefir for smoothies but I see that it has 20 g of sugar per serving. I’m I using the wrong brand of Kefir?

    • Penny Hammond June 20, 2017, 2:42 pm

      Are you using plain flavor, or one of the fruit flavors?
      Plain kefir still has some natural sugars in it, even if the only ingredients are milk (which naturally contains lactose, a sugar) and live active cultures.
      Check the ingredients to see if there are any added sugars.

  • Sarah June 5, 2017, 3:43 pm

    Hi can I have sugar-free Jell-O in cycle one

    • Penny Hammond June 20, 2017, 2:48 pm

      Neither the diet book nor the cookbook say anything about gelatin or jelly.
      Real gelatin is basically a very low fat protein, so it would theoretically fit in any phase. However, it’s usually sweetened, either by a caloric sweetener (sugar or something else) or by an artificial sweetener, and there may be a number of other artificial ingredients like colorings and flavorings. Sugars aren’t allowed on any phase. Artificial sweeteners are less clear-cut – Dr. Mike mentions them as not great for you several times in the book, but he says you can have them in reduced-sugar yogurt. He prefers stevia/Truvia. But in general, he recommends that you go easy on them. He doesn’t talk about other artificial additives, but as most of this diet consists of “real” foods I’d guess he wouldn’t encourage you to eat much of them either.
      So my assumption would be – you may be able to have a little, but go very easy on it.

  • Pamela June 19, 2017, 6:54 pm

    What about Coconut Water…not to count as the 8 servings of water…..but is it allowed

    • Penny Hammond June 20, 2017, 2:52 pm

      Coconut water is actually kinda sweet.
      According to this article on coconut water, a 300 ml bottle of coconut water can contain 2 tsp of sugar.
      It might be best to wait until cycle 4.

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