The Dr. Nowzaradan Diet Review: Does It Work for Weight Loss

Written by Resurchify | Updated on: February 13, 2023

The Dr. Nowzaradan Diet Review: Does It Work for Weight Loss

The Dr. Nowzaradan diet was created by Dr. Younan Nowzaradan, a renowned bariatric surgeon. He shot to fame after successfully treating several morbidly obese patients on the hugely famous tv program ‘My 600-pound life’. The program covers different stages of their journey like, before, throughout, and after the weight loss surgery. Everyone has been talking about his revolutionary nutritional strategy for a long time now.

His diet is designed exclusively for preoperative weight loss and he is among the handful of surgeons who performs surgeries on severely obese patients. He is also known as Dr. Now, his approach limits calorie intake to 1000-1200 daily. It must be only tried under the guidance of a medical professional or bariatric nutritionist. Dr. Now is highly recognized as he operates on patients that several different surgeons consider to be very dangerous and gives them his unique food regimen.

Based in Houston, Texas, this Iranian-American doctor is well known for his no-nonsense, strict-love approach shown in the reality series aired on TLC. Dr. Nowzaradan graduated from Tehran University with a medical degree in 1970. It has been more than 20 years that he has been practicing. His areas of expertise include lap band systems, gastric sleeve procedures, gastric bypass surgeries, and revision operations. Additionally, he focuses on weight loss surgeries.

He was a pioneer in the use of laparoscopic surgery and thinks it’s the finest method for weight loss operation. He is particularly noted for offering a personally designed diet called ‘Dr. Nowzaradan diet’ and activity plans for patients who are in greater danger or are morbidly obese and thinking about having bariatric surgery. In his book, ‘The Scale Does Not Lie, People Do’, he discusses the program and urges patients suffering from morbid obesity, those whose weight is more than 600 pounds to attempt to drop around 30 pounds in only 30 days.

The initial weight loss process will be more successful the more one weighs. Only those who are getting ready for weight loss operation or those in immediate danger of developing major health issues owing to weight must try this strict diet. Contrary to common perception, obesity cannot be magically cured with a weight-loss operation. Many of Dr. Now’s critical cases need extensive preparation before having the lap-band or vertical sleeve gastrectomy surgery.

The quickest route to a healthier weight is through severe calorie restriction. Additionally, it aids in preparing the patient for future meals with decreased serving sizes. According to Dr. Now on his website, the operation might handle the mechanics of what quantity of food a person requires to feel satisfied or what quantities of nutrients and calories are taken into the body. However, the surgery doesn’t affect the post-surgical attitude of the patient. Therefore, the Dr. Nowzaradan diet acts as a trial run for life following the surgery. 

According to Dr. Now, there are two main reasons why losing weight is necessary. First, doing surgery on someone who is overweight puts a tremendous amount of strain on their body. These dangers are reduced by dieting and weight loss. The second reason is psychological factors. Patients still need to alter their behaviours, diets, and lifestyles following the surgery and their experience on the tv show.

They are preparing for the future and demonstrating their commitment to improving their health by adhering to Dr. Now’s diet recommendations before surgery. His low-calorie diet is made to assist patients in losing weight faster and lower the likelihood of complications. An individual’s risk of surviving after surgery and the likelihood of maintaining weight loss increases with the amount of weight they had lost before surgery.

However, it is advised that people should practice this diet under the guidance of a doctor or nutritionist because extremely quick weight loss might have a severe negative influence on bodily systems. This diet has certain prerequisites such as professional supervision, complete patient adherence, and consent to follow the dietary recommendations together with the specified exercises.

There are conflicting opinions regarding the effects of pre-operative weight loss before bariatric surgery. Studies have shown that decreasing 5-10% of weight can improve the results of surgery. Those who fulfill the requirements and demonstrate to Dr. Now that they would follow the procedure seriously are the only ones who will receive bariatric surgery from him. Although some people consider bariatric surgery as ‘cheating’. However, it involves a lot of effort and dedication to a fit lifestyle to be successful in long-term weight loss. 

What Is the Dr. Nowzaradan Diet?

This restrictive eating regimen consists primarily of low-fat, high-protein, low-calorie, and low-carb foods. Patients are allowed to consume approximately 1200 calories each day, which is significantly less than the required amount of regular calorie consumption. Looking at it first, the diet schedule appears entirely impracticable and unsustainable.

On the other hand, Dr. Nowzaradan’s diet asserts to be a balanced approach to weight loss that doesn’t cut out any food groups other than sugar yet keeps a low-calorie consumption. Additionally, to see quick results from this diet, one can’t just consume less than 1200 calories daily because it will deprive the body of vital minerals and energy-producing macronutrients.

Each patient receives a personalized diet and exercise plan from Dr. Now that takes into account their pre-surgery weight, target weight, age, gender, and any underlying medical conditions. He divides food into eight sessions, four of which are food groups and four of which are nutrient groups. This enables his patients to comprehend what they should consume. The acronym FAT stands for three basic concepts that are commonly followed by his diet plan. The acronym FAT stands for, and the tenets of Dr. Nowzaradan’s diet are-

  • Frequency- This is about how frequently one eats. Two to three meals a day, no between-meal snacks.
  • Amount- This refers to the recommended daily calorie intake. He advises keeping daily calorie consumption to 1200 calories or less, distributed equally. This means 400 calories for every three meals per day, or 600 calories for every two meals daily.
  • Type- The kinds of foodstuffs one consumes are also crucial. Dr. Now advises one to cut back on sweets completely, raise the protein and fiber content in meals, and cut back on fat and carbs. The meal becomes more satisfying with the support of protein and fiber.

He advises patients to adhere to the following course of diet-

  • Grains weighing 5- 7 ounces.
  • 3 cups of fat-free dairy.
  • Meat weighing 4-8 ounces.
  • 5-9 portions of fruits and vegetables per day.
  • 7-9 teaspoons of good fats and oils.
  • Fiber between 20-35 grams.
  • A maximum of 2300 milligrams of salts.
  • 0 sugar.

Dr. Now advises making a list of every favourite eatable before crossing off any items that are rich in sugar, fat, or calories. When one is following the Dr. Nowzaradan diet, what is left over must be a regular component of daily meals. Additionally, he advises choosing small amounts that have minimal processing. It helps one to stick to their tight calorie restriction.

One should not adhere to this diet for more than one or two months as it is intended for weight loss before bariatric surgery. When following this diet, one should always make sure they are closely monitored by a doctor. Although this may seem like an extreme strategy, the guiding principles typically assist people in achieving their objectives and achieving their ideal weight under the guidance of Dr. Nowzaradan.

Focusing on smaller portions of food and selecting real, whole, very less processed meals are two main rules for following Dr. Nowrazan’s diet. One should eat no more than 1200 calories per day and boosting their protein and fiber consumption helps in making one feel full for longer which prevents them from nibbling between meals. To lose weight quickly and succeed at dieting, one should consume -

  • Lean proteins such as poultry, lean portions of meat, breasts of chicken and turkey, egg whites, fish, tofu, and legumes. Except for red meat.
  • Oils and fats like cooking spray and modest portions of oil for cooking.
  • Fruits with less sugar like berries, grapefruit, and oranges. Every whole fruit apart from cantaloupe, watermelon, mango, and banana.
  • Some nuts and seeds like flax and chia seeds.
  • Low carbohydrate condiments such as mustard that have been flavoured with added sugar.
  • Maximum vegetables, except starchy veggies like corn and potatoes. Other vegetables include spinach, carrots, broccoli, celery, green beans, and cauliflower, as long as they are low in calories and starch. 
  • Fatless dairy products such as skim milk and non-fat yogurt.
  • Whole-grain carbohydrates in moderation include whole wheat pasta, corn or wheat tortillas, and whole wheat bread.
  • Sweeteners with zero calories.

Dr. Nowzaradan’s diet presents a list of foods one should stay away from before undergoing bariatric surgery. There are some expected items such as french fries or cookies, as well as some unexpected ones like peanuts, popcorn, and oatmeal. Such foods are-

  • Certain meat and proteins that are heavy in carbohydrates, high-fat meat, processed meat (bacon, sausage, hot dogs), red meat, and battered and fried meats such as fried chicken, fried chicken steak, and eggs.
  • Few fats and oils like butter, vegetable, or olive oil.
  • Fruits rich in sugar like watermelon, banana, mango, pears, cherries, figs, and cantaloupe. Fruit juices and fruit in syrup cans. Dried and candied fruits.
  • Vegetables with starch like all varieties of potatoes (also french fries), maize, beans, and peas.
  • Full-fat dairy products that are sweetened like ice cream, sorbet, yogurt, chocolate milk, milkshakes, and full-fat cheese.
  • Most nut butter, seeds, and nuts like almonds, cashews, peanut butter, peanut, sunflower seeds, and pistachios.
  • Desserts and sugar like cookies, jellies, candies, pastries, jams, juice, artificial sweeteners, and soda.
  • Some carbohydrates, mainly refined and packaged snacks like granola, muesli, cereals, crackers, popcorn, white rice, brown rice, waffles and pancakes, white bread, pasta (brown and white),  and chips.
  • Energy and sports drinks, shakes, meal supplements, and sodas.
  • Sweets with sugar such as cookies, candies, pastries, cakes, syrup, and honey.

Due to the high-calorie content, Dr. Now advises eliminating a number of nutrient-rich foods like eggs, olive oil, almonds, and seeds. He also recommends restricting bread of wholewheat and other whole-grain carbohydrates, however, they are not entirely forbidden from the regimen. It is crucial to follow the diet plan and eat only twice or thrice daily in tiny portions.

Making two meals of 600 calories or three meals of 400 calories can be useful for keeping a track of the calories consumed. Avoiding snacks in between meals helps our liver to break down the food just consumed due to more time gaps. According to him, popcorn is frequently drenched in fat, oatmeal has high carbohydrate content, and peanuts have high calories which are easily overeaten.

Even though there isn’t an official example menu for Dr. Nowzaradan’s diet plan on the internet, conclusions can be drawn based on the information about his diet ideology and what patients of My 600-LB life have posted online regarding their personal diet programs. For breakfast, he suggests whole-grain bread, oats, egg whites, beans, cottage cheese of low fat, simple Greek yogurt, turkey sausage, black coffee, water, and unsweetened tea. At lunch, one can consume any lean protein which is baked, broiled, or barbecued.

They might also eat tofu, canned tuna, non-starchy veggies, deli meat, or a salad with a little bit of vinaigrette dressing. A serving of beef should weigh three ounces or like the size of a deck of cards. Dinner could be similar to lunch. Snack options include plain Greek yogurt without added sugar and turkey or ham roll-ups. This could be a challenging diet to stick to, however, those who have witnessed the tremendous improvements in his patients can testify that the end results are ultimately worthwhile.

Here is an example of how a normal Dr. Nowzaradan diet might look, comprising three meals, 400 calories each-

  • Breakfast consists of one cup of skim milk, two turkey bacon slices, one cup of simple non-fat yogurt, and a half cup of either blueberries or blackberries.
  • Lunch would consist of whole-grain pita bread, carrots, celery, and one cup of tuna salad made using non-fat Greek yogurt without mayonnaise.
  • Dinner will consist of two cups of low-chicken and vegetable soup and one side salad with one tablespoon of vinaigrette dressing.

The Goal of Dr. Nowzaradan Diet

The preoperative diet advocated by Dr. Nowzaradan is a unique dietary strategy with two main objectives. The first goal is to promote a certain amount of preoperative weight loss before bariatric surgery. The second objective is to determine the degree of a patient's commitment by making sure they are prepared for the necessary lifestyle adjustment followed by bariatric surgery.

Effective long-term weight loss never results from the operation alone. The only method to maintain ideal physical features is to lead a constant healthy lifestyle. We applaud the doctor for asking his patients about their degree of dedication before carrying out such a dramatic treatment because the second item is crucial to long-lasting outcomes.

Another goal of Dr. Nowzaradan’s diet is to lose weight quickly using the principles of frequency (how frequently one eats), amount ( what quantity of food one consumes), and type (what kind of food one eats). This is not a diet that works for everyone. This food regime also aims at lessening critical complications, potential side effects, and surgical and postoperative problems following bariatric procedures.

Benefits of Dr. Nowzaradan Diet

The low-calorie diet of Dr. Now has numerous advantages. It lowers the risk of complications both while the surgery is going on and once it is over. To reduce the risks of dying before and after the bariatric surgery, one should try to restrict their diet to 1200 calories per day, increase fiber consumption, and cut back on fat and carbs. This is why patients weighing more than 600 lbs are recommended to consult this doctor with the hope of losing 30 pounds in only 4 weeks.

Before undergoing weight-loss surgery, those who follow the Dr. Nowzaradan diet program could also learn to develop healthy eating patterns and develop the ability to eat little portions of food, which are advantageous behaviours after surgery. This diet is naturally unique to each person and therefore should be followed only under the guidance of a doctor. Weight loss is one of the main advantages of the diet plan.

Whenever calories are limited, our body burns the fat that has been stored for maintaining the appropriate functioning of the body. Weight reduction occurs quickly as a result. Dr. Now persuades several patients of his to attempt to lose 30 pounds who are more than 600 pounds, only in 30 days. Several of them were successful also. For patients undergoing bariatric surgery, doctors frequently advise weight loss before the operation as it seems to help prevent difficulties following the procedure.

In one study, the results of over 480,000 patients who underwent bariatric surgery were examined. Even when participants shed less than 5% of their body weight before surgery, researchers discovered that weight loss reduced the danger of dying within 30 days of surgery.  According to studies, patients who were expected to lose weight before being approved for weight loss surgery appeared to have better weight results after the procedure.

Disadvantages of Dr. Nowzaradan Diet

Dr. Nowzaradan's diet is unsustainable and only intended for short-term use. Because it is so strenuously restrictive. People shouldn’t stick to the diet for longer than two months or without a doctor’s supervision. Long-term calorie restriction of 1200 calories or less can cause one’s metabolic rate to slow down, resulting in lower calorie burn and a possible change in the hormones that regulate appetite. In reality, sustained, severe calorie restriction may make it difficult for losing weight.

Therefore, if one is thinking about consuming only 500 calories each day for one month, rethink and make sure to begin dieting safely. A severe diet can potentially result in rebound weight gain if it is not supported by lifestyle modifications and bariatric surgery. In the case of people who aren't thinking about surgery or are awaiting a doctor’s appointment, several other diets that are more sustainable and less stringent can be tried meanwhile.

For instance, one could be better off adopting a wedding diet to lose weight in the days before an important occasion, like a wedding or maybe a conference. Due to restricted calorie consumption, it might be challenging for people who are following Dr. Nowzaradan’s diet to receive enough of the nutrients required for key bodily functions. The number and diversity of gut bacteria tend to decline when following a restrictive diet, which may have long-term negative effects. One should always consult their dietician or doctor about whether a calorie-restrictive diet is appropriate for them or not.

This is because dieting is not the best food and exercise routine for the majority of people. Furthermore, there is little evidence and study available regarding the long-term consequences of diets that emphasize extreme calorie restriction. Therefore, the Dr. Nowzaradan diet is not a good option apart from those who are required to lose weight to have a safe procedure. As a result, if one has an objective to lose weight permanently, one shouldn't use this or any other crash diet.


Hence, Dr. Now’s diet offers severely obese patients a way to reduce their weight without going out of control and endangering their health. This significantly enhances a person’s overall well-being and perhaps also saves their lives if they need it. This diet permits the eating of several varieties of wholesome, nutrient-rich foods. However, this does cancel out many nutritious foods like potatoes, certain fruits, and nuts.

This diet may be appropriate in some medical situations, but it isn't for most people. It is definitely not a good choice if someone is seeking a diet they can follow for a long time to encourage gradual and consistent weight loss. Lastly, avoid starting the Dr. Nowzaradan diet without consulting a doctor, particularly in case of some medical issues or consumption of medicines. One must be sure to first discuss this diet with a physician or dietician if one plans to attempt it.

Thank you for reading !


  • ‘Dr. Nowzaradan Diet (1200 Cal Weight Loss Guide, Menu & Tips)’ by Nathan. Physiqz, February 10, 2022. Available from: < >
  • ‘The Dr. Nowzaradan Diet Review: Does It Work for Weight Loss?’ by Pallavi Suyog Uttekar. MedicineNet, August 3, 2022. Available from: < >
  • ‘Dr Nowzaradan Diet: Is It Worth Trying?’ by A. Porter. BetterMe, December 2022. Available from: < >
  • ‘What You Need to Know About the Dr. Now Diet’ by Ruben Castaneda and Katie Bourque. U.S.News, January 13, 2023. Available from: < >
  • ‘Your Guide To Dr. Nowzaradan Diet’ by James. Country Recipe Book. Available from: < >
  • ‘My 600-Lb Life’: What Is the Dr. Nowzaradan Diet Plan?’ by Amanda Harding. Showbiz Cheatsheet, January 10, 2019. Available from: < >


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