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Healing Tool Series:The Mayo Diet

Book and online program to help people lose weight permanently and keep it off

“Healing Tools” summaries are a collection of evidence-based resources to help providers and patients use integrative health approaches to improve health and wellbeing.

This tool is for:

  • Patients
  • Providers

This tool was created by:

  • Mayo Clinic


What is this tool for?

The Mayo Clinic Diet helps people lose weight and keep it off by making healthy changes in eating and exercise. It has two phases:

  1. Lose It! In the first two weeks, people jump-start weight loss in a safe and healthy way. They may lose up to 6 to 10 pounds.
  2. Live It! People continue to lose 1 to 2 pounds a week until they reach their goal. Then they learn how to keep the weight off for life.

A practical diet with tools to support weight loss

The Mayo Clinic Diet helps people eat well without being hungry, move more, track their healthy habits and stay motivated. The diet focuses mostly on fruits, vegetables, protein, dairy and healthy fats.

Weight loss tools include:

  • Recipes
  • Meal plans
  • Serving guides
  • Fitness plan
  • Habit tracker
  • Food journal
  • Weight tracker

Doctors at Mayo Clinic recommend the diet to their patients, including through Mayo Clinic’s Healthy Living Program.

The Mayo Clinic Diet for patients

People can follow The Mayo Clinic Diet by buying:

  • The Mayo Clinic Diet, a #1 New York Times best-selling book
  • An online subscription to The Mayo Clinic Diet, an interactive program with a free app

People in or near Rochester, Minnesota, can also participate in The Healthy Living Program, which includes The Mayo Clinic Diet.

The Mayo Clinic Diet for providers

Providers can recommend the book or online subscription to individual patients.

For use in group programs, providers can purchase the book or the online subscription in bulk quantities.

Other Recommended Diets

The Mayo Clinic Diet is one of many diets experts recommend. Other diets on the U.S. News 2018 list of Best Diets Overall are:


Designed to prevent and lower high blood pressure, DASH recommends foods high in certain nutrients (potassium, calcium, protein, and fiber): vegetables, fruits, whole grains, fat-free or low-fat dairy products, fish, poultry, beans, nuts, and vegetable oils. The diet limits salt, saturated fat, and sugar.

Mediterranean diet

This heart-healthy diet is based on the typical foods and recipes of people in Mediterranean countries. It emphasizes fruits, vegetables, nuts, olive oil, fish and other healthy foods and limits red meat, sugar, and saturated fat.

Flexitarian Diet

This primarily vegetarian diet gives people the flexibility to eat meat sometimes.  Beginners can start with 2 meatless days per week (up to 26 ounces of meat or poultry per week) while experts go at least 5 days a week with no meat (9 ounces of meat or poultry per week).

Weight Watchers

This diet uses a SmartPoints® system that encourages people to eat more fruits, vegetables, and lean protein, and less sugar and unhealthy fats. Weight Watchers offers support through in-person meetings, online chat, or telephone).

U.S. News Best Diets Overall

The U.S. News Best Diets Overall is based on ratings by an expert panel comprised of nutritionists, specialists in diabetes and heart disease, and other diet experts.

How does this contribute to an integrative approach?

Combining conventional medicine, self-care, and complementary and alternative medicine can help patients achieve optimal healing and health. The Mayo Clinic Diet enables patients to lose weight while developing and maintaining a healthy lifestyle; thus, it can be made part of a lifestyle medicine approach to chronic disease.

What does the evidence say about this tool?

The Mayo Clinic Diet reflects a synthesis of research and clinical experience by physicians and scientists at Mayo Clinic. It has not been tested separately, however, for its effectiveness compared to other diet-based approaches to weight loss.

Who created this tool?

Mayo Clinic is a nonprofit, health care organization committed to providing expert, whole-person care to every patient through integrated clinical practice, education and research. It has major campuses in Rochester, Minnesota; Scottsdale and Phoenix, Arizona; and Jacksonville, Florida.

Learn more about The Mayo Diet:

More information on other diets

The U.S. News Best Diets Overall website has more information on the diets featured here and the other best diets.

For providers:

For bulk quantities of The Mayo Clinic Diet book email for information about quantities and prices at

For bulk quantities of online subscriptions email for information about quantities and prices at


At Healing Works Foundation, we believe that achieving optimal health and wellbeing requires an integrative health approach—one that combines and coordinates conventional medicine, self-care, and complementary and alternative medicine.

Translating Evidence into Action

The goal of these summaries is to help providers and patients learn about and access evidence-based integrative health tools.


Healing Works Foundation is a nonprofit organization and does not profit from any of the tools featured in these summaries.

Patients: Contact your provider before starting any new health program.  Show him/her these resources.

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