John McDougall, MD
John McDougall has two formal dietary plans that he recommends: the
12-Day Diet and the McDougal Plan for Maximum Weight Loss (MWL). Both
of these plans are nearly vegan, based solely on grains, vegetables,
fruits, and beans. The MWL plan is for those persons with stubborn
weight problems that don't respond to the 12-day diet and severely
limits consumption of grain products other than grains cooked whole --
even bread made from whole wheat is eliminated.
The Twelve-Day Diet
- Milk (for cereal or cooking)
- Milk (as beverage)
- Cottage cheese
- Sour cream
- Ice cream
- Eggs (in cooking)
- Eggs (for eating)
- Meat, poultry, fish
- Vegetable oils (for pans)
- Vegetable oils (in recipes)
- White rice (refined)
- White flour (refined)
- Refined and sugar-coated cereals
- Coffee, decaffeinated coffee, and black teas
- Colas and un-colas
NOT ALLOWED ON THE TWELVE-DAY DIET, BUT ALLOWABLE OCCASIONALLY
These high-fat plant foods (high in natural vegetable oils) can be
used occasionally and/or in small amounts after you have completed the
twelve-day diet and regained your health and appearance.
- Soybean derivatives (tofu, tempeh, miso, high-fat soy milk)
- Nuts and nut butters
McDougall Program for Maximum Weight Loss
Foods you should eat
- All whole grains and whole-grain cereals, such as brown rice,
corn, oatmeal, barley, millet, and wheat berries; many packaged grain
cereals, puffed grains, and other healthful cereals.
- Squashes, such as acorn, butternut, buttercup, pumpkin, and
- Root vegetables, such as potatoes, sweet potatoes, and yams.
- Legumes, such as peas, split peas, black-eyed peas, string beans,
and such beans as chick-peas, lentils, and adzuki, navy, pinto, and
- Green and yellow vegetables, such as collard greens, broccoli,
kale, mustard greens, cabbage, various types of lettuce, and
watercress; celery, cauliflower, carrots, and asparagus, and tomato.
- Fruit, such as apples, bananas, berries, grapefruit, oranges,
peaches, and pears. (Limited to two servings per day.)
- For most people, simple sugars, salt, and spices used sparingly at
the table rather than in cooking.
Avoid the following:
- All red meat, including beef pork, and lamb. All are rich in fat,
cholesterol, and other harmful constituents.
- All poultry and fish. Poultry has about the same amount of
cholesterol as red meat, while fish varies, depending on the type.
Some fish are higher in cholesterol than red meat, others lower.
- All dairy products, including milk, yogurt, and cheese. All are
loaded with fat and cholesterol. Low-fat dairy products are not
recommended because of potential health hazards, including allergies,
childhood diabetes, arthritis, and lactose intolerance.
- All oil, including olive, safflower, peanut, and corn oil. Oil is
simply a liquid form of fat.
- All eggs. Eggs are abundant in fat and cholesterol.
- Nuts, seeds, avocados, olives, and soybean products (including
tofu, soy cheese, and soy milk). Soybean products are high in fat,
unless they have been specially processed (low-fat varieties are also
- All dried fruit and fruit juices
- All flour products, such as breads, bagels, and pretzels. The
less a food is processed the better it is for weight loss. Flour
products are composed of fragments of grain, or relatively small
particles, which increase absorption and slow weight loss.