Dr oz diet plan for weight loss. Dr. Oz recommended a new fat burning diet plan to his audience which focused on eating less and exercising more, exactly what you would expect. While this formula is nothing revolutionary, what it did is speak to those who were looking for the real truth behind weight loss. This diet wasn’t targeting one specific group of people but everyone
What Is the Dr. Oz 21-Day Diet?
At Verywell, we believe there is no one-size-fits-all approach to a healthy lifestyle. Successful eating plans need to be individualized and take the whole person into consideration. Prior to starting a new diet plan, consult with your healthcare provider or a registered dietitian, especially if you have an underlying health condition.
What Is the Dr. Oz 21-Day Diet?
Celebrity physician Dr. Mehmet Oz created the Dr. Oz 21-Day Weight-Loss Breakthrough Diet, a three-week diet plan intended to “jump-start” weight loss followed by a balanced, low-calorie diet for long-term weight management. The diet recommends eating plant proteins, non-starchy vegetables, and healthy fats to promote weight loss.
Like most weight loss diets, initial weight loss will be water weight and people who resume their previous way of eating after the 21-day plan will quickly regain the weight that was lost.
What Experts Say
“Dr. Oz’s diet emphasizes nutrient-dense plant-based foods. However, the diet is quite restrictive, limiting meat, dairy, and grains, as well as eliminating any sugar or processed foods. While OK for a short-term ‘jump-start,’ it is unnecessarily strict for lifelong eating.”
—Chrissy Carroll, RD, MPH
The 7-Day Diet Plan
There is some flexibility in the meals you prepare on the diet. This is a sample week; your choices might be different depending on your needs and tastes.
- Day 1: 1/2 avocado on 1 slice Ezekiel bread, 1 cup oolong tea; 1 apple with 1 Tbsp. almond butter; 2 cups Mediterranean chopped salad with 1 Tbsp. olive oil; 1/4 cup roasted beet hummus with celery sticks, 1 cup oolong tea; 4 ounces oven-baked herbed salmon, lemon roasted broccoli (use 1 Tbsp. olive oil total for both dishes)
- Day 2: 1 cup cooked oatmeal topped with 1/2 cup fruit and nuts, 1 cup oolong tea; 1 banana with 1 Tbsp. peanut butter; 1 curried tuna salad avocado boat (use 1 Tbsp. olive oil); 1 single-serving bag (28 ounces) kale chips, 1 cup oolong tea; 1 serving vegan tempeh chili; spring mix greens with 1 Tbsp. olive oil
- Day 3: 1/2 avocado on 1 slice Ezekiel bread, 1 cup oolong tea; 1 cup mixed berries with 1 ounce walnuts; tofu lettuce wraps (omit brown sugar); 1/4 cup low-carb trail mix, 1 cup oolong tea; 3/4 cup roasted beet salad (omit feta), 1 3/4 cup red curry lentil soup (use 1 Tbsp. olive oil total for both dishes)
- Day 4: 1 cup cooked oatmeal topped with 1/2 cup mixed berries and 1 Tbsp. nut butter, 1 cup oolong tea; 1 apple with 1 ounce nuts; 2 cups Mediterranean chopped salad with 1 Tbsp. olive oil; 1/4 cup roasted beet hummus with celery sticks, 1 cup oolong tea; vegan bean and vegetable chili, spring mix greens with 1 Tbsp. olive oil
- Day 5: 1/2 avocado on 1 slice Ezekiel bread, 1 cup oolong tea; 1 banana with 1 Tbsp. peanut butter; orzo salad with shrimp (omit feta); 1 single-serving bag (28 ounces) kale chips, 1 cup oolong tea; vegan lettuce wraps
- Day 6: Low-sugar coconut raspberry oatmeal; 1/2 avocado with lemon; vegan bean and vegetable chili, spring mix greens with 1 Tbsp. olive oil; apple and 1 Tbsp. nut butter; tomato basil spaghetti squash with 1/4 block tofu added
- Day 7: Chia pudding; spicy edamame dip with celery sticks, 1 cup oolong tea; brussel sprouts and lentil salad; 1 cup mixed berries with 1 ounce walnuts, 1 cup oolong tea; tofu noodle bowl
What You Can Eat
On the 21-Day Diet, it’s recommended you cut out sugar, artificial sweeteners, and processed foods and get most of your calories from nutrient-dense vegetables and plant-based proteins.
The 21-Day Diet allows unlimited non-starchy vegetables for lunch, dinner, and snacks. The list of 42 permitted veggies does include a few root vegetables (beets and turnips).
The diet suggests three servings of these proteins per day:
- 1 cup of beans or legumes
- 1/4 block of tofu
- 1 cup of tempeh
- 2 tablespoons of pumpkin, hemp, chia, or flaxseeds
On this diet, Dr. Oz recommends eating half an avocado every day (he suggests it for breakfast). He also says a total of 2 tablespoons of olive oil to be eaten at lunch and/or dinner.
Fruit, Nuts, and Nut Butters
This diet limits fruit to two servings a day. Dr. Oz also suggests adding 1 ounce of nuts or 1 tablespoon of nut butter to one of those fruit servings as a snack.
The diet allows for just one serving of whole grains per day. The meal plan suggests a slice of Ezekiel bread at breakfast time.
Dr. Oz’s diet asks that you swap your morning coffee for a cup of oolong tea and have a second cup mid-afternoon. Dr. Oz wants people on the 21-Day Diet to have two cups of this tea every day because he says it will boost metabolism and “increase mental alertness.”
Animal Protein and Dairy Products
These are permitted, but no more than two times per week. A serving of meat, poultry, fish, or eggs can replace a plant-based protein serving.
What You Cannot Eat
The 21-Day Diet eliminates several foods and food groups.
Some vegetables, especially starchy ones, are not on the permitted foods list, such as potatoes, sweet potatoes, or popular picks like carrots and green beans.
Sugar and Artificial Sweeteners
As for sugar and artificial sweeteners, the diet calls for cutting them out entirely.
- Added sugars in coffee or tea
All processed foods are off-limits.
- Granola bars
- Frozen meals
- Canned soups
- Jarred pasta sauce
Only the above approved “healthy” fats are allowed. Other sources of fats are not.
- Most oils
- Fried foods
How to Prepare the Dr. Oz 21-Day Diet & Tips
The 21-Day Diet requires three meals and two snacks per day (composed of specific foods), along with lots of water and two daily cups of oolong tea. Dr. Oz says skipping the snacks to cut calories could backfire: “With snacks built into the diet, there is less temptation to cheat.”
Dr. Oz’s website provides a printable plan that outlines the diet’s do’s, don’ts, and timing, as well as answers to frequently asked questions.
If you’re considering the 21-Day Diet, be aware that medical experts determined that roughly half of the tips Dr. Oz shared on his TV programs had no solid research to support them—and that medically established research contradicted the advice provided on his programs.
Sample Shopping List
Dr. Oz’s 21-Day Diet includes non-starchy vegetables, lean protein, legumes, fruit, whole grains, and healthy fats. The following shopping list includes suggestions for getting started on this eating plan. Note that this is not a definitive shopping list and you may find other foods that work better for you.
- Vegetables (asparagus, broccoli, beets, cauliflower, cabbage, cucumber, eggplant, mushrooms, bell peppers)
- Lean protein (tofu, tempeh, salmon, canned tuna)
- Legumes (lentils, chickpeas, black beans)
- Fruit (avocado, strawberries, blueberries, bananas, grapefruit)
- Nuts and nut butter (walnuts, almonds, cashews)
- Whole grains (quinoa, brown rice, rolled oats)
- Olive oil
- Oolong tea
Pros of the Dr. Oz 21-Day Diet
Thanks to these aspects of the diet, it is reasonably nutritious and it could help you lose weight. However, there are some drawbacks. Review the pros and cons to inform your decision about whether the Dr. Oz 21-Day Diet is right for you.
- May support weight loss: The 21-Day Diet encourages nutrient-rich, plant-based whole foods low in calories which can support healthy weight loss.
- Emphasizes healthy fats: The diet emphasizes unsaturated fats, which may provide benefits for heart health.
- Nutritious ingredients: This diet emphasizes plant-based whole foods that are nutrient-rich but low-calorie and focuses on unsaturated fats that may offer heart-healthy benefits.
- Satisfying: With three meals and two snacks per day, people on the Dr. Oz 21-Day Diet have lots of opportunities to curb hunger (although portion sizes are small, there are no limits on helpings of non-starchy vegetables).
- No counting: There is no need to count calories or carbs with this diet. Just stick with the suggested foods and portion sizes.
- No supplements: This diet does not require any supplements or even any special ingredients, except for oolong tea.
Cons of the Dr. Oz 21-Day Diet
There are no known health risks associated with the Dr. Oz 21-Day Diet, since cutting out unhealthy processed foods and refined sugars can support overall health and help reduce the risk for obesity and chronic diseases. But there are some drawbacks to consider,
- May cause nutrient deficiencies: Strictly limiting whole grains, starchy vegetables, animal protein, and dairy can make it difficult to meet essential nutrient needs, which may impact overall health. Vitamins and minerals like calcium and B-vitamins are important for bone and cellular health.
- Restrictive: This diet cuts out all processed foods and added sugar and sharply limits whole grains and animal proteins, including dairy. Many people find this level of restriction to be difficult to stick with.
- Time-consuming: No convenience foods are allowed on the 21-Day Diet, which means you might spend a lot of time planning and preparing compliant meals.
- Short-term only: The 21-Day Diet is designed to last for three weeks, which means that it’s not a long-term solution for continued weight loss or weight management.
- Lack of flexibility: There isn’t much flexibility in this diet, which is perhaps why it’s only meant to last 21 days.7 Those following this plan need to stick to the approved list of foods and the accompanying number of servings and portion sizes.
Is the Dr. Oz 21-Day Diet a Healthy Choice for You?
The Dr. Oz 21-Day Diet uses some traditional strategies to promote weight loss, but it has a few twists to distinguish it from other diets and federal guidelines.
For optimum health and nutrition, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) suggests a daily diet that’s a balanced combination of grains, protein, fruits, vegetables, and dairy. The 21-Day Diet restricts dairy and animal protein while limiting grains to one serving a day versus the USDA’s recommendation of 5 to 9 servings per day (one slice of bread or 1 cup of cereal is 1 serving).
The diet does not suggest a daily calorie intake and does not include calorie counting (but it’s mostly made up of low-calorie foods). The USDA doesn’t focus on this number either, indicating that it can vary a lot based on age, sex, weight, and activity level. If you’re interested in determining your own calorie guidelines, you can use this calculator.
Does Dr. Oz’s 21-Day Weight Loss Breakthrough Diet Work?
If losing weight were easy, there wouldn’t be 10 million different diets out there promising you the moon. But it isn’t easy, and that’s why there are countless methods being marketed as the newest, best, fastest and simplest way to slim down. In truth, any diet that makes bold claims should be taken with a grain of salt – but not too much salt.
With that in mind, one of the diets that makes such claims is the 21-Day Weight Loss Breakthrough Diet pitched by celebrity physician Dr. Mehmet Oz, known as Dr. Oz.
How It Works
This eating plan includes many well-founded nutritional ideas, and many others that are, at best, unproven and hard to follow.
It recommends a mostly plant-based diet, with the following do’s and don’ts.
- Nonstarchy vegetables, like asparagus or broccoli.
- Plant-based proteins.
- Healthy fats.
- Limited amounts of fruit, nuts, nut butters and whole grains.
- Oolong tea.
- Any processed foods.
- Any sugar and artificial sweeteners.
- More than two servings each of animal protein and dairy per week.
You are directed to eat three meals and two snacks every day, drink plenty of water and consume two daily cups of oolong tea. The diet also spells out exactly which foods you can and can’t eat in each group. For example, there are 42 vegetables on his list, including turnips but not carrots or potatoes.
Proteins come from beans, legumes, soy products (like tofu and tempeh) and nuts and seeds (like pumpkin, flax and chia). Some animal protein is allowed, but not much – just two servings a week of meat, fish or eggs.
Healthy fats include fat from avocado – he suggests having half an avocado at breakfast – and olive oil, but no more than 2 tablespoons a day.
Dr. Oz’s diet is not fond of fruit, limiting it to just two servings a day, or whole grains, with just one serving a day.
And then there’s the wild card here: oolong tea. Dr. Oz claims that two cups of this particular tea every day “has been proven to boost your metabolism – which encourages weight loss, lowers cholesterol, aids in digestion and can help stabilize blood sugar. It also increases mental alertness.”
What the Experts Think: Pros
Celebrity-pitched diets should always come with the warning caveat emptor: buyer beware. This one is no different.
Indeed, Dr. Oz has a long history of promoting dubious nutritional advice. A 2014 study in The BMJ analyzed the claims made on 40 randomly selected episodes of “The Dr. Oz Show,” and found that scientific evidence supported just 46% of his claims, contradicted 15% of others and was not found for the remaining 39%. Overall, believable or somewhat believable evidence supported only 1 in 3 recommendations made on his show.
That’s not to say some of the advice in this plan isn’t sound – it is. “The diet is basically a well-balanced, mostly plant-based diet. It eliminates processed foods, sugar and artificial sweeteners and limits animal protein and dairy to two servings of each per week. Eating this way should lead to weight loss,” says Abby Greenspun, a registered dietitian in Westport, Connecticut. “This type of eating is great for weight management, lowering blood pressure, lowering blood sugar, improving gastrointestinal health and reducing inflammation and joint pain.”
Melissa Majumdar, a registered dietitian certified specialist in obesity and weight management, agrees that any eating plan high in vegetables, healthy fats and plant-based protein is healthful. “All of these foods are foods that most of us do not eat enough of and have strong evidence to support eating more of. They are packed with fiber, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants,” she says. Research has found that replacing animal proteins, especially red and processed meats like bacon, sausage, hot dogs and salami, with plant-based proteins can reduce health problems like diabetes, cancer, heart disease and premature death.
And some types of tea may indeed help promote weight loss. A 2018 meta-analysis in the journal Molecules concludes that certain chemicals in green, oolong, black and dark teas “all exhibit measurable weight-loss properties in a large majority of studies.” How they do so is unclear, but may be related to how they affect the gut microbiome and carbohydrate digestion.
What the Experts Think: Cons
On the other hand, “There is no evidence to support that any specific diet works better than others for weight loss,” says Majumdar, the bariatric coordinator at Emory University Hospital Midtown in Atlanta and a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. “In other words, there is not a specific macronutrient profile or specific amount of carbohydrates, protein or fat that has shown better weight loss than other diets.”
In addition, the plan is not tailored to an individual’s specific dietary needs. Perhaps most important, both dietitians warn against any eating plan that restricts options too severely. “As soon as we are told to ‘eliminate’ something, we want more of it,” Majumdar says.
Finally, short-term fixes never set you up for long-term success. “What you do on day 22 and going forward is most important,” Greenspun says. “If this plan causes you to rethink your habits and continue to eat less processed foods and eat more fiber from whole grains, nuts, fruits and vegetables, then that’s great. If you go back to your old habits, then 21 days of healthy eating is basically worthless.”
The Bottom Line
Neither dietitian would support this plan. “I would not recommend any plan that has a time limit and this kind of rigidity,” Greenspun states.
“This diet may work for 21 days, but I would never suggest a change for someone that would be so life-altering for them that they could not sustain it longer than 21 days,” Majumdar agrees.
Instead, both suggest consulting with a registered dietitian nutritionist who can work with you to identify ways to include more of these healthful foods without drastically cutting out entire food groups. “The plan should include foods that the person enjoys eating and shouldn’t cut out their favorite foods or eliminate whole food groups. It should be realistic and meet their health goals, not focus entirely on the scale,” Majumdar concludes.
Dr. Oz’s Ultimate Diet
Take up to 2 inches off your waist within 2 weeks. So says Dr. Oz’s Ultimate Diet.
The plan is based on you knowing things like how your body stores fat and burns calories, why you get hungry, and what makes you full. It also gives tips like using smaller plates to keep your portions smaller.
Does It Work?
There have been no studies of the diet itself, but Mehmet Oz, MD, does back up some of his claims with research.
What You Can Eat
Oz provides a long grocery list of recommended foods. Load up on fresh fruits and vegetables, lean proteins such as skinless chicken breasts and salmon, low fat dairy, and whole grains.
Follow the “Rule of 5s” to figure out what not to eat. If foods have any of these listed as one of the first five ingredients on the label, stay away: sugars, syrups, white flours, saturated fats, and trans fats.
Alcohol is OK, but only one drink a day, taken toward the end of dinner. Remember: Alcohol has calories, and if you let loose, you may end up eating more than you planned to.
Level of Effort: Medium
Apart from eliminating simple sugars, white flour, and certain kinds of fat, the Ultimate Diet gives you flexibility in terms of choosing what to eat from all the food groups.
Limitations: Oz’s “grocery list” is a long one and includes plenty of different foods to fit all taste buds.
Cooking and shopping: Your cooking and shopping routines shouldn’t change much. You should be able to find most of the items at your regular grocery store.
Packaged foods or meals: None required.
In-person meetings: No, but Oz does recommend finding a “weight-loss buddy” such as a spouse, friend, or co-worker and checking in with that person — either by phone or email — every day.
Exercise: Yes. Your exercise routine should include half an hour a day of cardiovascular activity such as walking, plus strength training to build muscles once a week. Ultimately, you can work up to 10,000 steps, or about 5 miles a day.
Does It Allow for Dietary Restrictions or Preferences?
Vegetarians, vegans, as well as people on low-fat or low-salt diets, should have no trouble following the diet.
What Else You Should Know
Cost: Oz recommends a total overhaul of your kitchen cupboards, which could be expensive. Once that’s done, you’ll just be keeping your kitchen stocked.
Support: You have to do this diet on your own, unless you find a weight-loss buddy.
What Dr. Melinda Ratini Says:
Does It Work?
Like any good physician, Oz has obviously read through the nutritional guidelines of the American Heart Association and the American Diabetes Association. The main concepts of his diet plan are spot-on with many of their recommendations. You will likely lose weight and be on the road to better health if you follow his plan.
Oz includes the fundamental elements of a sound diet: enjoyable eating and healthy food choices. His “Rule of 5s” is sure to knock most processed foods out of your cabinets, and with it much of the added salt, fat, and empty calories.
Is It Good for Certain Conditions?
Diets that are low in salt and fat are good for your heart health and blood pressure, and so is any needed weight loss. Your cholesterol levels will likely fall with this type of mindful eating, as well.
Weight loss and exercise are also proven to help prevent and treat diabetes. If you have diabetes, any drastic change in your diet or in your activity level means that you may need to adjust your diabetes treatment plan to avoid hypoglycemia (low blood sugar). Talk with your doctor or dietitian for guidance.
The diet allows for low-fat dairy, low-fat animal protein, and fish. It also packs in plenty of fiber from fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Fiber will help keep your cholesterol level down, and it’s good for your digestive system.
Dr. Oz’s Ultimate Diet includes about 30 minutes of aerobic activity on most days. This is also what the American Heart Association recommends. But the plan does fall a little short with strength training. Both the American Heart Association and the CDC say you should fit this in at least twice a week.
Oz recommends that everyone see their doctor before starting his diet-exercise plan.
The Final Word
The most painful part of Dr. Oz’s Ultimate Diet may well be the purging of your cabinets.
Stocking your kitchen with the diet’s shopping list is sure to be pricey at first, but after that, it shouldn’t be more than you would normally spend on your groceries. Any expensive items may be balanced out by your savings from having cut out fatty cuts of meats and prepared foods.
Be prepared to do your own cooking, as it will be much easier to follow the diet if you do. Eating out may present a challenge, since you have little control over the ingredients.