How Effective Is the Duke Diet for Weight Loss?

The Duke diet is an online diet program based on a program developed by Duke University in Durham, North Carolina. Before becoming available online, this program was available only to students of Duke University and residents of the Durham area.

The Plan

For a fee of $5 per month billed every 13 weeks, dieters on the Duke diet have a personalized lifestyle plan that includes a dieting plan, exercise plan, behavior techniques and access to medical expertise. Membership on the Duke diet offers dieters several benefits and tools as part of the membership. These include access to:

  • Meal plans personalized to your tastes and lifestyle
  • 400+ recipes
  • Tools for creating shopping lists
  • Guides for nutritional information of many types of foods
  • Guides for eating out and still maintaining a healthy lifestyle
  • Message boards that allow you the support of other dieters
  • Fitness plan personalized for your activity levels
  • Complete video library of exercises  
  • Tools for keeping track of weight loss
  • Journal and food logs
  • Calculators for determining calorie content, activities and BMI
  • Professional advice for each of the four categories of nutrition, exercise, behavior and medical expertise

Is the Duke Diet Effective?

Unlike fad diets, which offer only tools for dieting, the Duke diet offers tools to continue a healthy lifestyle, which is the key to true long term weight loss. It focuses on not only diet, but also on exercise and behavior—key components to helping you maintain weight lost. The diet itself is based on the USDA food pyramid which gives you a balanced diet designed to provide all the nutrients your body needs.

Also, since the Duke diet personalizes the lifestyle change to you, it gives you the tools that will help you lose weight and to maintain that lifestyle so the weight stays off in the future. Unlike fad diets that focus only on short-term weight loss, the Duke diet educates you, so that your healthy lifestyle can be maintained easily even when you are no longer a member of the program.

The only disadvantage of the Duke diet is the price. At $5 a week, the total cost of the program runs $260 a year, which may be pricey for many people. The information provided by the Duke diet can be found for free in many other places. However, for those who can afford it and are having trouble losing weight, it can be a good program to help dieters learn the skills they need. In addition, the Duke diet allows you to cancel your membership anytime and receive a partial refund of any time not used. The only stipulation to this is that the first $25 (or first 5 weeks of the program) is nonrefundable.

Due to its emphasis on teaching long-term weight loss skills and the ability to personalize a plan to each individual dieter, the Duke diet can be effective to long-term weight loss as long as the diet is followed properly and the dieter sticks to it.


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