Scarsdale medical diet

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Cover of The Complete Scarsdale Medical Diet

The Scarsdale medical diet is a fad diet created in the 1970s by Dr. Herman Tarnower, and named for the town in New York in which Tarnower conducted his medical practice, described in his book The Complete Scarsdale Medical Diet plus Dr. Tarnower's Lifetime Keep-Slim Program.[1]


The diet is classified as a fad diet, and though its results compare with those of other low-calorie diets, it brings an increased risk of heart disease.[2]

Health professionals acknowledge that diet protocol gives quick weight loss results but argue that low carbohydrate intake is irrelevant to the apparent weight loss and shows little benefits pertaining to body recomposition.[3] In addition, they say that the diet is no better than any other diet that changes eating behavior. [4]


The book (ISBN 978-0553268867), originally published in 1978, received an unexpected boost in popular sales when its author, Herman Tarnower, was murdered on March 10, 1980, by his long-time lover Jean Harris, the headmistress of The Madeira School, a fashionable boarding school for high school girls in McLean, Virginia. The murder was the subject of a 2005 made-for-TV movie called Mrs. Harris.


  1. ^ [non-primary source needed]"Scarsdale Diet, Ketosis Research". Retrieved 2014-12-24. 
  2. ^ Alters S, Schiff W (22 February 2012). Chapter 10: Body Weight and Its Management. Essential Concepts for Healthy Living (Sixth ed.) (Jones & Bartlett Publishers). p. 327. ISBN 978-1-4496-3062-1. 
  3. ^ Swartz, Jacqueline (March 15, 1982). "The sense and nonsense of the best-selling diet books.". Canadian Medical Association Journal (Canadian Medical Association) 126: 696–701. 
  4. ^ Wing, Rena R.; Epstein, Leonard H.; Shapira, Barbara (Jun 1982). "The effect of increasing initial weight loss with the Scarsdale Diet on subsequent weight loss in a behavioral treatment program.". Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology (American Psychological Association) 50 (3): 446–447. doi:10.1037/0022-006x.50.3.446. 

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