Dr. Nowzaradan Diet Guide – The Secret to My 600 lb life

By Ashley LoseMay 21st 2021

My 600 lb life

Ever since the premiere of the hit TLC reality show My 600-lb Life, viewers have been glued to their TV’s watching people who weigh more than 600 lbs embark on a year-long weight loss journey to transform their lives. The man behind these weight-loss success stories is Dr. Nowzaradan or Dr. Now as his TLC show "My 600 lb life" patients call him. Dr. Now is an Iranian-American author and surgeon who currently resides in Texas. He’s a specialist in vascular and bariatric surgery with over 51 years of experience helping morbidly obese people lose weight. 

As a byproduct of starring on a popular television show and becoming a household name for performing high-risk weight loss surgeries, Dr. Now has also become known for the dieting methods he prescribes to his clients. If you haven’t watched the show, when people first approach Dr. Now for weight-loss surgery, they are usually not approved right away. Before performing any surgeries Dr. Now meets with each client and gives them a custom diet plan aimed to help them lose weight and qualify for surgery. It’s a strict diet that forces many of his patients to face their fears, hit their goal pre-surgery weight, as well as make a real commitment to form new eating habits. This diet has become known as Dr. Nowzaradan Diet Plan.

Dr. Nowzaradan Diet Guide – The Secret to My 600 lb life

Dr Nowzaradan diet plan - 1200 Calorie diet

The intention behind Dr. Nowzaradan Diet Plan is to assist his clients in losing weight quickly to prepare for their surgeries and reduce the risk of complications and side effects. The types of surgeries that Dr. Now’s patients are requesting are high-risk. While many of these procedures have grown in popularity they are intrusive and restrictive procedures ranging from gastric sleeves and lap band systems to gastric plication surgeries which reduce the size of your stomach and limit the amount of food you can eat at one time, making you feel full faster.

Because each client’s needs are different each diet plan differs. Dr. Now considers each person’s weight loss goal based on their current activity level, gender, age, and current weight before assigning them the specifics of their diet plan. However, the technique Dr. Now implements to aid each of his clients with their weight loss is a strict 1200-calorie high-protein, low-fat, low-carb diet plan. For more severe morbidly obese patients the diet can go as low as 1,000 calories per day.  For some, the weight loss journey may not be easy.

Dr. Nowzaradan Diet Guide – The Secret to My 600 lb life

Which foods should you avoid on Dr. Nowzaradan’s diet?

The first step for patients who choose to commit to their surgeries and Dr. Now’s diet plan is to purge their pantries of foods that are not allowed while on the diet, this is, to teach them which foods to eat. Like many low-calorie diets, the goal is to reduce the amount of junk food a person consumes and substitute those meal options with healthy, whole foods that provide optimal nutritional value for their bodies (low carb, high protein). On that list of foods to avoid on the diet plan Dr. Now recommends are sweetened fruit, cakes, candies, cookies, ice cream, noodles, potatoes of any sort – chips, french fries, or mashed, sodas, energy drinks, rice, pasta and noodles to name a few. Even foods that are generally viewed as healthy like brown rice, nuts, and chocolate are on the do not eat list for the 1200 calorie diet. While many of these foods may seem like a no-brainer to avoid, they’re not. Imagine walking in the shoes of these weight-loss surgery seekers. They didn’t gain 600 lbs overnight. The weight that they’ve amassed is often a result of years and years of choosing substandard foods like those listed above. It’s challenging for them to part ways with their detrimental habits but they have to in order to be approved for the surgery. 

Dr. Nowzaradan Diet Guide – The Secret to My 600 lb life

Which foods should you eat on the Dr. Nowzaradan diet?

For people who want to be successful at getting down to their preoperative weight goal, it means significantly reducing their daily calorie intake and eating high-protein and nutritious foods. Think spinach, carrots, cauliflower, green beans, celery, whole grains, and fish. It's all about finding ways to improve your eating habits.

Patients can also have low-sugar fruits such as grapefruit, berries, melons, and oranges. This is just a general idea of what Dr. Now’s patients (usually morbidly obese) are allowed to eat but as you can expect, not everyone succeeds. At least not the first time around. Drastically changing your eating habits is not something you can do on a whim. It takes time, preparation, and professional guidance to get the results you want.

Dr. Nowzaradan Diet Guide – The Secret to My 600 lb life

Is Dr. Nowzaradan’s 1200 Calorie Diet Safe?

While many fans of the show binge-watch the series to cheer on their favourite cast members and support them on their weight-loss journeys. Other viewers who also struggle with their weight have decided to adopt the lifestyle changes and diet that they see on the show and create a plan for themselves. This is not safe or recommended by healthcare providers. Dr. Now’s 1,200 calorie diet is a restrictive low-calorie diet and should only be followed when under the supervision of a doctor or dietician. While calorie-restricted diet plans can be potentially beneficial for people to lose weight in the short term, according to the National Institute of Aging (NIA), there is no data in humans on the relationship between calorie restriction and longevity.  

What Does The Research Say?

Most of the experiments conducted on calorie restriction have been performed on lab animals. In some cases, rodents and other animals are allowed to consume all their daily allotment of food within a particular time frame and go many more hours without any food. In those cases, when the animals were given 10% to 40% fewer calories than they usually receive with all the right nutrients included in their meals, many cases showed a reduction of several diseases, especially cancer, and an extension of lifespan according to NIA.8 

In two other parallel studies, conducted by NIA and the other by the University of Wisconsin (UW) researchers explored the long-term health effects of calorie-restricted diets in rhesus monkeys but they ended with varying results. UW found that males and females on a restricted calorie intake diet lived 28-30 years above average.While NIA found no significant effect of the calorie restriction – as they aged the monkey died from many of the same diseases as humans, including cancer, heart disease, and diabetes.10 

Where Should You Start?

Having a doctor or dietician work with you through a low-calorie diet is important if you want to reach long-term goals. For some people, 1,200 calories are extremely too low and can lead to nutritional deficiencies. According to Medical News Today, reducing the number of calories a person consumes can help them lose weight. However, larger people or those with certain medical conditions may need more calories per day than the typical person. Also, sticking to a very low-calorie/low-fat diet can be extremely difficult for people who struggle with food cravings. Obesity is a lifelong disease and there is no operation, diet, or medication alone that can cure it.

However, establishing a healthy eating (healthy diet) and exercise regimen following surgery can have significant long-term results that offer better health and weight management. No matter what your personal weight-loss goal is, it’s important to choose a diet and exercise program that you can manage for the rest of your life. The correct meal plan will weight loss journey way easier.

1. Life After Bariatric Surgery (n.d., asmbs.org)
2. Dr. Now MB (n.d., drnowmd.com)
3. Nowzaradan diet plan: High protein low carb diet (n.d., academia.edu)
4. TV Doctor Release Diet Plan for Patients (2018, womansworld.com)
5. 1,200 calorie diet: Safety and how to do it (2019, medicalnewstoday.com)
6. Calorie Restriction and Fasting Diets: What Do We Know? (2018, nia.nih.gov)
7. Gastric Plication | What Is Gastric Plication Surgery? (2020, healthgrades.com)
8. NIH National Institute of Aging (NIA), "Calorie Restriction and Fasting Diets: What Do We Know?, National Institute on Aging, web, 2018, www.nia.nih.gov/health/calorie-restriction-and-fasting-diets-what-do-we-know
9. Mattison, J. A., Colman, R. J., Beasley, T. M., Allison, D. B., Kemnitz, J. W., Roth, G. S., Ingram, D. K., Weindruch, R., de Cabo, R., & Anderson, R. M. (2017). Caloric restriction improves health and survival of rhesus monkeys. Nature communications, 8, 14063. https://doi.org/10.1038/ncomms14063
10. National Institute on Aging. (2017, January 19). Calorie restriction improves health, survival in rhesus monkeys. National Institute on Aging. Retrieved January 7, 2021, from https://www.nia.nih.gov/news/calorie-restriction-improves-health-survival-rhesus-monkeys

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