5 Foods to Avoid on the Stillman Diet

In the 1960s in Brooklyn, New York, Dr. Irwin Maxwell Stillman, a physician, developed the Stillman Diet. A high-protein, low carbohydrate plan, the Stillman Diet is somewhat restrictive, allowing only lean meats, eggs, nonfat cheese, and seafood; all other foods are prohibited.

In his over 45 years in practice, Dr. Stillman found that the most effective way to treat his overweight and obese patients was with a high-protein diet. Knowing that up to 30 percent of calories eaten are used by the body to break down proteins, he concluded that if he raised the protein intake to around 90 percent, the metabolism would work even harder, an effect the Stillman Diet refers to as “melting out” body fat. Having success with the Stillman Diet, he went on to write “The Doctor’s Quick Weight Loss Diet” in 1967 with coauthor Samm Sinclair Baker.

The Stillman diet is done in two phases: The Quick Weight Loss (QWL) diet, or Phase I, and the Stay Slim Eating Plan, or Phase II. In Phase II, forbidden foods are gradually reintroduced over time, and if or when the dieter sees a three-pound weight gain, they return to the Phase I stage, the QWL diet. The following is a list of foods to avoid completely during Phase I and limit consumption of during Phase II.

1. Fat

Avoid fatty meats, fried foods, poultry with skin on, whole-fat dairy products, butter, margarine, oil, grease, condiments such as mayonnaise, salad dressings, tartar sauce and gravy. They are all fat laden.

2.  Sugar

This includes any type of natural or refined sugar or any food containing sugar. White sugar, brown sugar, raw or natural sugar, molasses, honey, lactose, corn syrup and cane syrup are all forms of sugar. Of course, candy and sweet desserts, fruits and fruit juices, and sugar- or corn syrup-sweetened drinks are definitely out of the question. Beware of sugar hiding in condiments like French dressing, cocktail sauce and honey mustard.

3.  Starches

Any grain type of foods: bread, cereal, corn, crackers, pasta, whole wheat, barley, etc., will cause the Stillman Diet to fail. Also included in the starch group are dried legumes and potatoes.

4.  Vegetables

Besides the veggies mentioned above, no vegetables of any type, not even lettuce or celery, are permitted on the Stillman Diet.

5.  Alcohol

Alcohol consists mostly of carbohydrates, which are not permitted. In addition, alcohol affects your judgment in food choices, thus causing you to sabotage your own dieting efforts.

Good to Know

Expect to lose 7 to 15 lbs in the first week, then 5 lbs each week thereafter on this short-term diet. Lacking in vital nutrients, a daily multivitamin is suggested. The Stillman Diet is ketogenic, and consequently hard on the liver; therefore it is imperative to drink at least 10 cups of water in addition to other beverages to flush the ketones from your system and help prevent constipation. Dr. Stillman suggests you eat six small meals per day rather than three big ones, exercise regularly, and get adequate sleep for best results.


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