- The Dubrow diet is a weight loss plan focused on intermittent fasting, and some dietitians say it is not sustainable.
- It is a strict diet plan that requires 12 to 16 hour periods without eating. Overall, it is low in carbohydrates and calories, and can be far below the FDA recommended daily values.
- The diet focuses on lean protein, non-starchy vegetables, and healthy fats — and allows for smaller servings of fruit, complex carbohydrates, and dairy.
- This article was reviewed by Samantha Cassetty, MS, RD, nutrition and wellness expert with a private practice based in New York City.
- Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.
The Dubrow diet is the brain-child of Heather Dubrow, a former Real Housewives of Orange County star, and her husband Dr. Terry Dubrow, a plastic surgeon who also stars on reality TV. Together, the couple published The Dubrow Diet, outlining a program based around intermittent fasting, which they call “interval eating.”
According to the Dubrows, following an interval eating plan is the most important factor in weight loss and weight control. They also claim the program will help you control blood sugar, improve energy levels, slow the signs of aging, and boost fat-burning.
But before you try this diet, here’s what you need to know — and why a registered dietitian says it’s not sustainable.
How to follow the Dubrow diet
The Dubrow diet has strict rules about when and what you can eat. It focuses on whole, minimally processed foods, non-starchy vegetables, lean proteins, healthy fats, and a small serving of fruits and complex carbohydrates.
It also involves intermittent fasting for 12 to 16 hours per day, with the couple saying the ideal time is 16 hours.
According to excerpts from their book “The Dubrow Diet,” the plan is divided into three phases:
- Phase 1: Red-Carpet Ready. A two to five-day phase that requires a 16-hour “reset,” which is also called intermittent fasting, followed by an 8-hour refuel schedule.
- Phase 2: Summer Is Coming. You can customize this phase by choosing one of three “speeds.” The first is a 12-hour reset, followed by a 12-hour refuel and one cheat snack per week. The second is a 14-hour reset, followed by a 10-hour refuel and one cheat meal per week. And the third keeps you following the 16 to 8-hour schedule from phase one, but adds in one full cheat day. You’ll follow this phase until you reach your goal weight.
- Phase 3: Look Hot While Living Like a Human. This is the maintenance phase that includes five days of 12-hour reset, followed by a 12-hour refueling schedule, and two days of the 16 to 8-hour schedule from phase one.
The Dubrow diet is not sustainable
While the Dubrows don’t encourage counting calories, you’ll likely get only 1,000 to 1,200 calories per day in the first two phases. For reference, the FDA uses a 2,000 calorie diet for its daily values, and dietitians worry that the Dubrow diet is far too low.
“At the end of the day, it’s very low in calories, which may also translate into inadequate amounts of necessary nutrients, as well as poor appetite satisfaction,” says Melissa Nieves, LND, RD, MPH, a registered dietitian for Healthy Meals Supreme.
Nieves also has concerns about the over-the-top focus on aesthetics. “This diet plan is heavily focused on physical appearance, which does not always equal health, and undermines self-acceptance and body positivity,” she says.
Due to its low-calorie content, Nieves says the Dubrow diet is not sustainable in the long run. “Plus, its focus on being bikini ready and looking good does not support long-term, healthy lifestyle changes,” she says.
Some research has shown that intermittent fasting is helpful for weight management, but Nieves says most guidelines for intermittent fasting do not significantly restrict calories, especially not as severely as the Dubrow diet.
Even though following a very low-calorie diet may result in rapid weight loss, Nieves says the best approach to healthy, sustainable results are slow, steady, and health-focused.