The McDougall Diet

The McDougall Diet is a low-fat diet that aims to teach individuals how to lose weight, change eating habits and improve their overall health. The McDougall Diet, created by Dr. John McDougall, is based on the belief that individuals can prevent diseases by eating an unprocessed diet that is low in fat content.

The Premise

Dr. McDougall conducted his own research to determine if diet was directly connected to health conditions. After some experiment, Dr. McDougall determined that by eliminating meat and dairy while increasing intake of vegetables, fruits and whole grains, individuals would reduce weight, blood pressure and cholesterol. Additional improvements included a reduction in headaches, allergies, constipation, arthritis and fatigue.

The Diet

The McDougall Diet is a vegan meal plan that promotes weight loss and improves overall health. While on the McDougall Diet, individuals are advised to eliminate all meats, fish, poultry, eggs, tofu, milk, peanut butter, nuts, olives and shellfish from their diet. Fats, oils and refined flour products are reduced. 

Acceptable foods on this diet include whole grain pastas and breads, squashes, such as pumpkin and zucchini, root vegetables, such as potatoes and beets, beans, such as string beans and kidney beans, leafy green vegetables, such as cabbage, kale and spinach, green, red and yellow vegetables, such as asparagus and tomatoes, and fruits, such as grapefruit and pears.

What To Get Excited About

The McDougall Diet is a well-respected vegetarian and vegan-based diet that provides dieters with a wide variety of fruits and vegetables. If you enjoy eating large volumes of fruit or vegetables, then this may be a good diet choice for you. Furthermore, if you are sick of calorie counting, then consider the McDougall Diet, which does not incorporate calorie counting. Instead, some foods items are allowed to be consumed in unlimited portions.

Things to Consider

If you are the type of person who enjoys a piece of meat with dinner, then this may not be the diet plan for you. The strict vegetarian and nearly vegan meal plan may not appeal to many dieters. Additionally, the McDougall Diet does not allow any added fats or oils. Several medical studies show that monosaturated fats, which are banned on the McDougall Diet, actually are beneficial to lowering LDL cholesterol levels and triglycerides.


The McDougall Diet recommends daily exercise, such as tennis, swimming or walking. It promotes scientific research that shows healthful eating and exercise can help lead to a 10 to 15 pound weight loss, lower liver enzyme levels and reduced fat in the liver.


The McDougall Diet is an extreme diet that has a long list of foods that are restricted. If dieters are able to eliminate these foods from their diet, then they should experience weight loss while still maintaining adequate energy levels. It may be difficult for some to adjust to the McDougall Diet. While the diet does include a long list of restrictive foods, for most dieters, this diet will not cause any harm and may help promote weight loss.


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