The Mayo Clinic Diet: What It Is and How to Succeed

You’re about a diet away from giving up. Nothing ever works. Every time you try to eat healthy and start exercising, the whole thing falls apart. One doughnut, and it’s all over. Again. Losing weight, eating right, exercising — it’s all too much. But it doesn’t have to be. If you’re feeling burned out and betrayed by a dozen diets gone sour, you just haven’t tried an effective, credible diet that works yet. If that’s what you’re looking for, you might want to consider giving The Mayo Clinic Diet a try next.

The Mayo Clinic Diet is ranked No. 4 on the U.S. News & World Report’s list of best diets, and for good reason. Instead of trying to help you lose massive amounts of weight quickly — which usually ends in weight regain not long after a short-term diet ends — it teaches you how to transform healthy habits into a healthy lifestyle that lasts forever.

Let’s take a closer look at what makes this diet one of the best. The experts don’t lie — you’re going to love the results you’ll get. It’s a diet that’s simple to follow, and you won’t even have to give up the foods you know and love. We’ll even provide a one-day sample menu to show you how easy it is.

What is the Mayo Clinic Diet?

The Mayo Clinic Diet is not your stereotypical fad diet. Created by experts affiliated with the Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, this diet is an evidence-based approach to adopting healthy habits for life. What does that mean? It means this diet isn’t going to tell you to do something that doesn’t work. Mayo claims this is “the last diet you’ll ever need,” claiming that if you follow the resources you’re given, eating healthy will stop feeling like a diet and start feeling like normal life.

The Mayo Clinic Diet can be beneficial for a number of reasons


  • Heart health. On the Mayo Clinic Diet, you are encouraged to eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, complex carbohydrates (e.g., whole grains), protein, and healthy fats, all common recommendations for maintaining a healthy heart.
  • Weight loss. This diet will help you develop healthy habits and provides the tools that will help you choose better foods and prepare healthier recipes. As long as you follow the guidelines, weight loss is a given.
  • Blood sugar control. Eating excess refined sugars, discouraged on the Mayo Clinic Diet, can lead to blood sugar spikes. Skipping snacks and meals can cause blood sugar levels to drop to dangerous levels. You will learn healthy eating habits that have positive side effects, like keeping your blood sugar in check.

Above all, this diet is fairly simple to follow. There are no long lists of rules or detailed lists of “approved” and “unapproved” foods. You have a lot of freedom to make this diet work for you, your preferences, your schedule, and your budget.


Unlike many diet programs out there, the Mayo Clinic Diet and all its resources are free. Tools offered include recipes, sample menus, tips, and even a downloadable iOS app that can help you keep track of your habits, make better choices, and see how you’re improving. All you have to do is sign up for a profile and you’re cleared to get started.

Once you set up your free profile, you begin the first of two phases of the Mayo Clinic Diet. Don’t worry: the rules aren’t going to take over your life. In fact, you’re probably going to learn more about healthy eating and exercise in the first phase of the diet than you thought you ever needed to know. Let’s go over how these two phases work.

Phase I: Lose it

As the title implies, the first phase of the Mayo Clinic Diet focuses on positive habit-forming and its resulting effects on weight loss. During this phase, you will typically lose anywhere from 6 to 10 pounds over a two-week period (results differ with every person). This is a much healthier, safer, and more realistic approach to weight loss than diets that tell you losing 10 pounds in a week is effective long-term. It’s still not an easy feat to achieve.

However, Mayo doesn’t just give you a list of “good” and “bad” foods and send you out into the wilderness to fend for yourself. The diet actually teaches you to pinpoint and work on overcoming your diet-sabotaging habits. You’ll learn to develop new, healthy habits to replace the old, less healthy ones — a positive weight loss approach you’ll come to love.

Phase II: Live it

Now that you know the best techniques and strategies for losing weight and living healthfully, it’s time to really put your knowledge to good use. During this life-long phase, you will continue to lose one to two pounds per week on average until you reach your goal weight. You’ll use everything you learned in the first phase of the diet, plus a continued abundance of resources, to maintain a healthy weight and continue living as healthy of a life as possible.

This isn’t a diet that has a fixed endpoint. It’s meant to teach you how to apply everything you learn to your everyday routine. Health isn’t a one-week expedition you return from after a set time frame: it’s a journey that lasts a lifetime.

The Mayo Clinic Healthy Weight Pyramid

The Mayo Clinic Diet’s healthy eating and activity guidelines are based on the Mayo Clinic Healthy Weight Pyramid. This looks a little like the now outdated Food Guide Pyramid, except it’s arranged with the foods you should eat the most on the bottom (fruits and veggies). It also combines Protein and dairy and separates healthy fats from sweets, an important distinction to make when choosing the right meals and snacks to incorporate into your day.

These are the pyramid’s groupings:

  • Fruits and vegetables
  • Physical activity

One Reply to “The Mayo Clinic Diet: What It Is and How to Succeed”

  • Anna

    This page mentions that there is a free iOS app that l can download.
    It seems that l could not find it or wasn’t sure which one pertains to this article.
    Please help?

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