Posted by: Chris Maloney | November 1, 2014

Will Dr. Oz’ Two Week Weight Loss Plan Help You Lose Weight?

Despite knowing everything he knows, and despite the clear research that short term weight loss isn’t an effective means of maintaining weight, Dr. Oz has given everyone a two-week weight loss plan.

Let’s call a spade a spade. Dr. Oz recommends starvation for several weeks. Oh, but wait! You get to eat unlimited vegetables! Not if you follow his grocery list, which doesn’t list any of those yummy unlimited veggies. And if I was say, trying to lose weight, then I would not think to add things to my Dr. Oz approved shopping list.

Other than the 56 oz of frozen berries ($50 worth of berries, anyone?) Dr. Oz doesn’t make this look very appetizing. I get almost four cups of brown rice. Oh, but that’s for the week, not the day. We’re really looking at Atkins or Paleo without the meat, which is really what makes Atkins or Paleo work for people.

I do like the idea of a detox, but that’s different from a weight loss diet. When you do a detox, you do it with the idea of detoxifying your body. Generally you would focus on that, and not worry about weight for a few days. So combining the detox with the weight loss seems like a way to make sure everyone wins. “I didn’t lose any weight, but I detoxed, so I’m good.”

The biggest issue I have with starting anyone on a two week diet is that Dr. Oz doesn’t give clear instructions on what you should eat when you come off this two week vegetable extravaganza. That for me is always the most important aspect. It isn’t the diet, it’s what you’re eating for the rest of your life.

So, will Dr. Oz’s two week diet help you lose weight? Short term starvation has been shown to drop weight. The weight rebounds, often with more weight added as your body responds to you starving it by trying NOT to die the next time there’s no food. No fair getting angry at your body for trying to keep you alive longer.

If, on the other hand, you were to follow Dr. Oz’s other diet, the one where he tells you to eat unlimited vegetables and ignore his shopping list, you would probably not lose weight. Not in two weeks. If you eat only vegetables over a period of three to six months, yes. I would expect your body to do any number of changes over that time period. But it wouldn’t be a two week situation, more of a lifestyle change.

Now, let’s say six months from now you still haven’t lost weight. Then I would presume that you need to look at the many, many other factors that influence weight besides caloric intake. Lifestyle, stress, exposures, hormonal levels, epigenetics, are just a few of the things that can impact weight and subvert caloric restriction induced weight loss.



  1. I told my husband that starvation diets frequently caused people to gain more weight afterwards. He joked that I should try it since I can’t seem to keep weight on.

  2. It’s not completely insane, as most of my patients with “can’t gain” issues have a lot of anxiety about it. The anxiety keeps on the fight or flight response, which means that they have about 30% less blood in the gut to absorb the food after eating. Switching over to not being concerned for a few days might help absorption. But starving would tend to increase anxiety, worsening the absorption issues. So tell him it won’t work unless he massages your feet constantly to keep you relaxed.

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