17-Day Diet: Pros and Cons

The 17-day diet is a weight loss program developed by Dr. Moreno. The diet claims to help a person lose between 10 and 12 pounds in 17 days through a very restrictive first stage that removes most dairy foods, fruit, grain-based foods, and sugar. The 17-day diet claims to boost your metabolism encouraging the body to burn more fat.

The diet became more popular in early 2010 but is still being used by many people, especially those looking to lose weight. Dr. Moreno’s portal includes recipes, resources, and information for people who want to learn more about this diet and also for people who have followed this program for a while.[i]

The diet’s proponents tout the 17-day diet for its fast results. Many people have found this diet easy to follow and implement. Essentially, you lose more weight in the first 17 days, especially during the initial phase. However, the diet gets less restrictive in the next stage. The diet has three 17-day stages in total and eventually adds back most of the foods it removes by the 4th cycle, which is typically meant to be followed.

What You Can Eat

The plan on this 17-day diet reduces the consumption of carbohydrates by removing all sugars and refined carbohydrates. The 17-day diet allows for a few whole grains and largely prioritizes healthy fats, lean protein, and low-carb carbohydrates. It works in cycles where different foods are allowed on different cycles.

The diet includes three meals per day and snacks. The ultimate goal is to keep people who follow the diet from feeling hungry. For cycle one, a person can eat as much proteins as they want and non-starchy vegetables.

The 17-day diet includes recommended eating plans for all days, but you can still mix the meal plans to fit your own tastes and preferences. You can also decide to fast in between the eating cycles to try and speed up weight loss. If you choose to follow this diet, it’s important to buy Dr. Moreno’s book that includes recipes and meal plans alongside the diet blueprint.

Most of the meal templates are very simple to follow. For instance, breakfast in the second cycle consists of a cup of lean granola topped with fruit-flavored yogurt with no sugar, whereas a dinner would include a tossed salad topped with 1 tbsp. olive oil, steamed green beans, and garlic shrimp.

People with food intolerances and allergies will also find this diet very easy to follow mainly because all they have to do is remove the foods they cannot eat.


There are several protein options you’ll have if you choose this diet plan. From the first day, you can enjoy fish (canned tuna, tilapia, catfish, flounder, sole, and salmon). Also, you can have turkey and chicken breast, lean ground turkey, and eggs in small quantities. In cycle 2, you can eat veal, lamb, lean red meat, and shellfish. In cycle 3, you can add fatty types of poultry, including Canadian bacon, turkey sausage, and turkey bacon.


With vegetables, the 17-day diet breaks these down into two categories, including starchy veggies and non-starchy vegetables. They include tomatoes, onions, mushrooms, greens, green beans, celery, asparagus, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, cabbage, and cauliflower. Starchy veggies allowed at the beginning of the second cycle include winter squash, sweet potato, pumpkin, potatoes, and corn.


Fruits are broken down into two categories, including high sugar fruit and low sugar fruit. Low sugar fruits you can take while on this diet include red grapes, prunes, plums, pears, peaches, oranges, grapefruit, berries, and apples. On the other hand, high sugar fruits include tangerines, tangelo, papaya, mango, kiwi, figs, cherries, bananas, and apricots.


The diet doesn’t include grains in the first cycle but allows them in small quantities in the second and third cycle. In the second cycle, you can add quinoa, cream of wheat, couscous, brown rice, and barley.

What You Cannot Eat

While the 17-day diet is overly restrictive, there are a few things you should not eat in cycle 1. Foods you cannot eat include dairy products like ice cream, milk, added sugars, white bread, alcohol, juice, flavored coffee drinks, dried fruit, and candy.

What to Eat?

  • Low fat poultry and fish
  • Pork and red meat
  • Sausage, bacon and poultry
  • Eggs
  • Legumes – 2nd and 3rd cycle
  • Whole grains – 2nd and 3rd cycle
  • Probiotics (sauerkraut, kefir, yogurt)

What to Avoid?

  • Juice
  • Flavored coffee drinks
  • Dried fruit
  • Candy
  • Ice cream and milk
  • White bread
  • Alcohol allowed in moderation

Does It Aid In Weight Loss?

One of the most remarkable highlights of the 17-day diet is that it can help you lose weight quickly, mainly because it limits calorie intake, which means you’ll be creating a deficit of calories.[ii]

Ingesting fewer calories than the body burns is one of the most effective ways of losing weight. For example, during the initial accelerate cycle, the diet limits your options of lean proteins, probiotic foods, and non-starchy vegetables- these are lower in calories.

The Activate Phase has recently been found very effective in fat loss, and most people find it easier to follow. The most important thing is that this diet can still help you lose weight. It makes different weight-loss claims, which are not supported by evidence. Like the change in calorie intake and food, groups can accelerate your metabolism.

Also, it recommends avoiding carbs in the afternoon, claiming that the carbs that are eaten late in the day are hard for the body to burn completely because you burn less energy in the evenings. Nevertheless, there isn’t any evidence to support these claims.

That said, this 17-day diet may help you lose weight. However, evidence shows it’s more effective than calorie-restricted while foods is not sufficient.

What Are The Rules Of The 17 Diet?

The 17-day diet has four cycles or phases; the first three cycles are about 17 days long. Below is a breakdown for every cycle.

Cycle 1

The first cycle or phase is created to aid fast weight loss and improve digestive health. Essentially, it helps clear sugars from the blood to improve the burning of fats and discourage the storage of fat. The cycle significantly reduces the consumption of carbohydrates but eliminates refined carbohydrates, sugars, and sweets. Instead, you get to replace these with low carbohydrate vegetables. You can also take some fat like flaxseed oil or olive oil plus small quantities of lean protein. You can also take probiotic foods like tempeh, kefir, and yogurt.

Cycle 2

The second cycle is created to reset the metabolism via a strategy where you increase and then reduce your calorie intake to trigger the burning of fats and prevent plateaus. Here you can take all foods allowed in the first cycle and some high-fat fish and meat, some legumes, starchy vegetables, and whole grains.

Cycle 3

This cycle is created to help develop better eating habits via reintroducing extra foods and moving much closer to your ideal weight.

Potential Health Benefits

Although proponents of this diet claim that it boosts metabolism and ultimately results in weight loss, evidence shows that any weight loss attained from temporary diets is not sustainable. Although cycle 4 of this diet is net long, most people might find it hard to stick to this diet.[iii]

Nevertheless, this diet plan touts the many benefits of cutting back on added sugars and refined carbohydrates and primarily emphasizes fresh vegetables and lean protein, which might help people create healthy eating habits. Besides weight loss, the 17-day diet offers several other health benefits, including:

  • Vegan and vegetarian-friendly – the 17-day diet has many options that make it easier to follow vegans and vegetarians.
  • Gluten-free friendly – it might be made gluten-free.
  • High in fiber – the proponents of this diet advocate consuming more high fiber foods. Fiber might not just help lose weight but also offers numerous health benefits.
  • Caters to numerous cuisines – it has multiple options for Asia, Indian, Hispanic, Mediterranean, and many other cuisines, making it very region-friendly.
  • Many tips on how to survive difficult situations – this program offers many helpful tips on surviving hard times when eating out, family situations, and surviving holidays[iv].

Sample Meal Plan

When you get to the second cycle, you’ll find alternative between high caloric foods from the second cycle and low caloric foods from the first phase. From here, you will progress to the third cycle. The following 3-day diet plan is an excellent example of what you can eat during the initial three days of the second cycle. Keep in mind that if you start following this 17-day diet, there might be other foods that are more suitable for your preferences and tastes.

1st day

  • Breakfast – one cup of fruit-flavored yogurt with no sugar, six ounces low carbohydrate, no sugar granola
  • Lunch – one cup Asian shrimp salad
  • Dinner – one serving healthy chicken masala, one cup of brown rice, and one cup of steamed broccoli

2nd day

  • Breakfast – ½ a grapefruit, one cup of plain kefir, two poached eggs
  • Lunch – two black sesame tofu
  • Dinner – three ounces of seared halibut, one serving roasted asparagus

3rd day

  • Breakfast – one cup of cooked oatmeal with peaches or sliced nectarines
  • Lunch – one cup of Greek yogurt with almond chicken salad and rosemary crackers
  • Dinner – five-ounce anti-inflammatory honey mustard salmon, one ¼ roasted potatoes, and three-ounce spring mix greens.

Following is a 1-day sample meal plan for every cycle of this 17-day diet.

Accelerate cycle

  • Breakfast – six ounces of plain yogurt (low fat), one cup of berries, and one cup of green tea.
  • Lunch – Grilled chicken breasts topped with salad drizzled with two tablespoons of balsamic vinegar.
  • Dinner – baked or grilled chicken with steamed veggies and one cup of green tea.

Activate cycle

  • Breakfast – ½ cup cooked oatmeal, a cup of green tea, one peach, and four scrambled egg whites.
  • Lunch – shrimp salad drizzled topped with two tablespoons of balsamic vinegar and a cup of green tea.
  • Dinner – one cup of green tea and pork sirloin chops, and steamed vegetables.

Achieve cycle

  • Breakfast – one cup of green tea, a cup of berries, one boiled egg, and a slice of whole-wheat toast
  • Lunch – take tuna sandwich
  • Dinner – a cup of green tea, steamed vegetables, and sesame fish

Pros And Cons Of The 17-Day Diet

Although some researchers and health experts say that there is no enough evidence for this 17-day diet, according to Dr. Moreno’s site, there is some solid evidence behind this diet.[v] Review the advantages and disadvantages to make the right decision about trying the diet.


Lots Of Lean Protein And Vegetables
Adaptable Diet Restrictions
Weight Loss
Structured Plan
Easy To Follow


Lack Of Sufficient Fiber
Unrealistic Expectations


Lots Of Lean Protein And Vegetables

The 17-day diet cycles include lots of lean protein and non-starchy veggies. Technically, you can eat infinite amounts of both proteins and vegetables in all cycles of the 17-day diet. These are enough to prevent hunger and eventually results in reduced calorie intake.

Adaptable Diet Restrictions

For people with a nut allergy, dairy intolerance, and celiac disease, you can quickly tailor this program to meet all your daily needs. Food options are quite expansive, that you can remain clear of these allergic foods.

Weight Loss

With the 17-day diet, you can rest assured that you’ll lose a substantial amount of weight, particularly in the plans of early days. This is because your calories are pretty limited, although you can have infinite non-starchy veggies and lean protein. Initial weight loss will boost motivation and improve sleep and energy that can help remain on track with the new eating plans.[vi]

Easy To Follow

The 17-day diet is straightforward to follow. Although it requires you to invest in some supplement products, the meals on every list are easier to find in many grocery stores and are relatively affordable. For people who might not want to use much time cooking, there are ways to following this diet plan with convenience foods such as lunchmeat.

Structured Plan

On the 17-day diet, everything is well set for you. You can purchase Dr. Moreno’s book to get all the guidelines necessary to follow this diet. There are some important decisions to make besides what foods to eat or the shake you want.


The first phase of this diet might be hard to follow mainly because it has specific food restrictions and rules. Nonetheless, the later phases seem highly balanced. Some people might find it very time-consuming to cook and prepare meals.

Lack Of Sufficient Fiber

We all need fiber. In essence, the current dietary guidelines recommend between 22 grams and 28 grams per day for women and between 28 grams and 34 grams for men. If you aren’t careful with planning your meals in cycle 1, you might fall shy of the fiber needs. You should incorporate many non-starchy veggies and two servings of higher fiber fruits to meet your daily fiber needs.[vii]

Unrealistic Expectations

It will be very easy to begin the 17-day diet with some unrealistic expectations. With no professional guidance or support from certified nutrition experts, the program might not offer the expected results.

For instance, as a customer, the impressive picture on the site might attract you, but you have no sure way of knowing whether the person in the image was paid for the testimonial.

Is The 17-Day Diet A Healthy Option For You?

Cycle 1 of this great plan removes certain foods like fruits and whole grains, but the foods are then added over time. So, cycle 1 of this diet does not follow the USDA dietary guidelines, but when you continue following this eating plan, the diet is more balanced.

Technically, the United States department of agriculture MyPlate nutrition guidelines tool proposes that you fill over ¼ of your plate with whole grains. This 17-day diet does not allow grains in cycle one, and after the initial cycle, you can only include tiny amounts of grains.

Also, the USDA advises reducing 500 calories per day for the steady rate of losing weight. On the 2,000-calorie diet, you should take at least 1,500 every day, but this varies based on different factors such as level of physical activities, weight, sex, and age.[viii]

The USDA dietary guidelines include tips and recommendations for a balanced diet. This advice has been created to help you get all the important minerals and vitamins you need for good health, healthy fats to make sure you’re full and well satisfied, protein, fiber, and energy. Technically, you’re encouraged to build snacks and meals around healthier foods such as:

  • Dark leafy greens and vegetables (green beans, Swiss chard, broccoli, spinach, and kale)
  • Oils (avocado oil, olive oil)
  • Seeds and nuts (sunflower seeds, almonds, walnuts)
  • Lean meats (turkey breast, fish, chicken breast)
  • Fruits (melon, berries, apples)
  • Dairy (low-fat yogurt)

How Much Does The 17-Day Diet Cost?

If you choose to follow this 17-day diet, then you’ll be purchasing lots of meat, fish, and fresh produce, so this might get a little expensive. However, you can choose where you want to buy your food. We recommend checking out the farmer’s market for cheaper fresh vegetables and fruits. Since organic foods aren’t needed, this reduces the price further because you don’t have to buy these.


What is the Main Benefit of the 17-Day Diet?

The 17-day diet is a great eating plan if you’re looking to lose weight fast and ultimately build healthier eating habits. The key to the diet is regularly changing foods and the caloric intake that claims to further boost your body’s metabolism.

What Foods Are High in Vitamin E?

Foods high in vitamin E include red bell pepper, pumpkin, bet greens, spinach, collard greens, peanut butter, peanuts, almonds, sunflower seeds, safflower, and wheat germ oil.

What Should You Eat on the 17-Day Diet?

This diet doesn’t have a strict meal plan. Instead, the 17-day diet lists all acceptable natural carbohydrates, low sugar fruits, non-starchy vegetables, and lean proteins.

How Much Weight Will You Lose on the 17-Day Diet?

You can lose between 10 and 15 pounds during the first seventeen days. Research has shown the fast weight loss plan works and helps people shed weight fast. This diet works by improving metabolic health and digestive health.

How Does the 17-Day Diet Work?

The 17-day diet depends on good fats, probiotics, antioxidant-rich produce, and lean protein. Its bans fried foods, salty foods, processed foods, and sugar. Initially, you can reduce high sugar fruits and starchy veggies.

Is the 17-day Diet Easy to Follow?

Yes, sticking to this diet is possible. You need to get Dr. Moreno’s 17-day diet book to learn and understand all the guidelines.



  1. [i] Moreno M. The 17 Day Diet. United Kingdom: Simon & Schuster; 2011.
  2. [ii] Thomson CA, Morrow KL, Flatt SW, et al. Relationship between sleep quality and quantity and weight loss in women participating in a weight-loss intervention trial. Obesity (Silver Spring). 2012;20(7):1419-1425. doi:10.1038/oby.2012.62
  3. [iii] Lowe MR, Doshi SD, Katterman SN, Feig EH. Dieting and restrained eating as prospective predictors of weight gain. Front Psychol. 2013;4:577. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2013.00577
  4. [iv] Lowe MR, Doshi SD, Katterman SN, Feig EH. Dieting and restrained eating as prospective predictors of weight gain. Front Psychol. 2013;4:577. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2013.00577
  5. [v] The 17-Day Diet by Dr. Mike. The Science Behind the Diet.
  6. [vi] Thomson CA, Morrow KL, Flatt SW, et al. Relationship between sleep quality and quantity and weight loss in women participating in a weight-loss intervention trial. Obesity (Silver Spring). 2012;20(7):1419-1425. doi:10.1038/oby.2012.62
  7. [vii] U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and U.S. Department of Agriculture. 2020–2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Ninth Edition. December 2020.
  8. [viii] U.S. Department of Agriculture. I want to lose a pound of weight. How many calories do I need to burn?