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What Is The Dubrow Diet & Is It Actually Healthy?

Eliza Sullivan
Food Writer By Eliza Sullivan
Food Writer
Eliza Sullivan is a food writer and SEO editor at mindbodygreen. She writes about food, recipes, and nutrition—among other things. She studied journalism at Boston University.
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One of 2019's top diet trends, the Dubrow diet is based on a book by the same name by husband-and-wife team Heather and Terry Dubrow.

Heather Dubrow is known for a stint on the reality-TV series Real Housewives of Orange County, while her husband Terry Dubrow, M.D., is known as one of the plastic surgeons on Botched, also a reality series.

After being published in 2018, searches for the diet skyrocketed toward the end of January 2019, around the time that the Dubrows appeared on Live With Kelly and Ryan.

During this appearance, Heather described the diet as a way to "biohack" your body. It’s more of a lifestyle plan than a diet plan (though there are food lists and recipes in the book).

What are the basics of the diet?

In essence, the diet locks into the key components of intermittent fasting. Depending on where you are in the plan, you don't eat during 12, 14, or 16 hours of the day.

However, they recommend certain liquids be consumed during the times you're "not eating." They specifically call out bone broth, coffee (with nondairy creamers is fine!), beet drinks, tea (at different temperatures) as useful calories for helping keep up your diet.

They call the diet "interval eating" because they actually want you to consume these calories during what would be called "fasting" in a traditional intermittent fasting plan. The plan is further broken down into three separate phases.

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What do the phases look like?

The diet has three parts, each of which has its own (slightly kitschy) title. Phase 1 is known as "Red-Carpet Ready," which lasts anywhere from two to five days, depending on your weight loss goals. Phase 2 is known as "Summer Is Coming" and is meant to last until a goal weight is reached. The final phase is called "Look Hot While Living Like a Human" and is designed to help maintain a healthy weight while living a "normal life."

This is a good time to call out the fact that, while they also tout benefits like autophagy and more, the core of this diet is a weight loss plan, but it does include planning for future maintenance of a healthy weight that may be useful for those looking to maintain rather than lose.

During Phase 1, they advise keeping coffee on you at all times (due to its rumored ability to suppress appetite), drinking a lot of water, and taking supplements. Foods during this phase focus on lean proteins, leafy greens, and healthy fats, and it's during the phase that a 16-hour non-eating window is used (which is not safe for everyone; please consult your doctor before trying). Alcohol is also prohibited.

During Phase 2, participants fast for anywhere from 12 to 16 hours, but the diet restrictions are less severe. More carbohydrates are permitted, and the portion of healthy fats that are allowed increases.

During Phase 3, the intervals are for 12-hour non-eating periods five days a week and 16-hour non-eating periods two days a week. While the food list stays the same, this phase allows for the ever-controversial "cheat meal."

What do functional medicine doctors have to say about it?

When taken with its similarities to intermittent fasting, which has been thoroughly researched, it's a decent stand-alone diet. According to Wendie Trubow, M.D., the diet "is sustainable, and creates the potential for long-lasting results if followed."

Unlike some other diets, this one gives a clear plan for not only weight loss but also weight maintenance, allowing for potentially more success for long-lasting weight loss.

Overall, this diet is a strong contender, but its benefits are seriously close to those we've seen with intermittent fasting. If you're looking for an extremely detailed guide to losing weight with time-restricted eating, it may be worth checking out.

We have tons of information and plans for people thinking about trying intermittent fasting, from how best to start to what it's like to try it and what plan is best for you.

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