THE DUBROW DIET - A LOW CARB, INTERMITTENT FASTING PLAN
If the Dubrow name sounds familiar, it’s likely you’ve watched either The Real Housewives of Orange County starring Heather Dubrow or her husband’s popular plastic surgery show, Botched, with renowned plastic surgeon Terry Dubrow. Capitalizing on their television fame, this Hollywood couple have co-authored a book titled 𝘛𝘩𝘦 𝘋𝘶𝘣𝘳𝘰𝘸 𝘋𝘪𝘦𝘵: 𝘐𝘯𝘵𝘦𝘳𝘷𝘢𝘭 𝘌𝘢𝘵𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘵𝘰 𝘓𝘰𝘴𝘦 𝘞𝘦𝘪𝘨𝘩𝘵 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘍𝘦𝘦𝘭 𝘈𝘨𝘦𝘭𝘦𝘴𝘴.
While reading through the book’s introduction, I learned the motivation behind this diet stems from Heather Dubrow’s see-saw, lifelong journey with weight gain during which she claims she’s tried all sorts of diets without success. She and her husband decided to publish their new diet plan based on their own personal diet plan that they claim “could be the most profound transformation you’ve ever experienced.”
So what is the Dubrow Diet? The Dubrow Diet is a metabolism-targeted plan that focuses on an eating strategy that can help program your body to burn fat and activate the anti-aging ability found in your cells. The Dubrow diet is a low-carb, intermittent fasting plan that promises to help you shed pounds, boost energy levels and feel younger (an anti-aging benefit dubbed “autophagy”).
There are three phases to the diet. The first, Red Carpet Ready, is the most limited stage that lasts from two to five days and specifies a 16-hour fasting period per day. During this phase, dieters can eat lean protein, healthy fats, non-starchy vegetables and some complex carbs and fruit. Dieters follow phase two, Summer Is Coming, until they reach their goal weight. Here, fasting ranges from 12 to 16 hours and includes more complex carbs and healthy fats plus a small amount of alcohol. The third phase, Look Hot While Living Like a Human, is the maintenance phase in which dieters complete a 12-hour fast, five days a week with two 16-hour-fast days. The food is the same as in phases one and two but with a cheat meal.
The Dubrow diet emphasizes whole foods, vegetables, lean proteins and healthy fats—without taking carbs completely off the menu. While calorie-counting isn’t part of the diet, it’s pretty low in calories. “Limiting calories this much goes below the amounts generally needed when you're completely sedentary,” says registered dietician Cynthia Sass. “So, you’re eating less than it takes to support your body if you were to lay in bed all day and do nothing. This kind of deficit isn’t dangerous short-term, but it’s not necessary, and it can contribute to irritability, mood swings, persistent hunger, and cravings,” she says.
Hmm... sounds like the same knock I have on other diets— sustainability. Let’s take a closer look.
𝗣𝗵𝗮𝘀𝗲 𝟮 𝗶𝘀 𝗯𝗮𝘀𝗲𝗱 𝗼𝗻 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗳𝗼𝗹𝗹𝗼𝘄𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗴𝘂𝗶𝗱𝗲𝗹𝗶𝗻𝗲𝘀:
Protein: 2-3 servings per day
Fat: 2-3 servings per day
Nuts, seeds, and snacks: 1 serving per day
Dairy: 1 serving per day
Veggies: 2-3 servings per day
Fruit: 1-2 servings a day
Complex carbs: 1 serving per day
The servings sound a bit vague to me. You’ll follow this phase and its fasting schedule until you reach your goal then Phase 3 follows with the same guidelines but it’s considered more of a maintenance mode. In Phase 3 you’ll fast 12 hours a day for 5 days each week, and for 16 hours twice each week. You also get a “cheat meal” each week.
𝗣𝗥𝗢𝗦 𝗔𝗡𝗗 𝗖𝗢𝗡𝗦-
𝗜𝘁’𝘀 𝗺𝗮𝗿𝗸𝗲𝘁𝗲𝗱 𝗮𝘀 𝗺𝗼𝗿𝗲 𝗼𝗳 𝗮 𝗹𝗶𝗳𝗲𝘀𝘁𝘆𝗹𝗲 𝘁𝗵𝗮𝗻 𝗮 𝗱𝗶𝗲𝘁. I give a little nod to anything that promotes sustainability for the long haul. While the fasting windows are restrictive, it does seem like something that would be fairly easy to adhere to over the long term but only if you found yourself enjoying it. If you have kids, I question how you’re gonna go 16 hours between meals unless you decide to eat separately from your family.
𝗡𝗼 𝗰𝗮𝗹𝗼𝗿𝗶𝗲 𝗰𝗼𝘂𝗻𝘁𝗶𝗻𝗴. The plan focuses on serving sizes instead of calorie counting. While I personally think paying close attention to daily calorie intake works well for weight loss, this plan is more about watching macro portions. Tracking portions instead of calories doesn’t work for some people and that can be a huge pain for dieters trying to stay on track with this plan.
𝗜𝘁’𝘀 𝗸𝗶𝗻𝗱 𝗼𝗳 𝗰𝗼𝗻𝗳𝘂𝘀𝗶𝗻𝗴. Anyone else feel a little confused by it all? It kind of feels all over the place and I also think it’s interesting that the fasting windows aren’t based on activity levels. For example, you probably shouldn’t do a 16-hour fast the day you’re running a marathon.
𝗧𝗵𝗲 𝗳𝗼𝗰𝘂𝘀 𝗼𝗻 𝗮𝗽𝗽𝗲𝗮𝗿𝗮𝗻𝗰𝗲 𝗶𝗻𝘀𝘁𝗲𝗮𝗱 𝗼𝗳 𝗵𝗲𝗮𝗹𝘁𝗵. There’s a lot of “hot bod” commentary in the book, and while that can be an initial lifestyle shift, it will not create long-term motivation. Your health goals MUST be deeper than surface level to have lasting power. If you go into a diet or fitness routine with the goal of having a six-pack, what happens when you get the six-pack? Do you quit? No. You need to keep asking yourself “why” until you can find the true motivation behind your goals. Physical results are just a few of the numerous benefits of making a healthy change.
𝗙𝗮𝘀𝘁𝗶𝗻𝗴’𝘀 𝗻𝗲𝗴𝗮𝘁𝗶𝘃𝗲 𝗶𝗺𝗽𝗮𝗰𝘁 𝗼𝗻 𝗵𝗼𝗿𝗺𝗼𝗻𝗲𝘀. I absolutely think that fasting works as a weight loss tool. At the same time, it does make me question when it’s used as a blanket recommendation because, for some people, it can have a huge negative impact on hormones.
𝗧𝗵𝗲 𝗕𝗼𝘁𝘁𝗼𝗺 𝗟𝗶𝗻𝗲-
There are things to like about this diet. The Dubrow Diet focuses on eating clean, whole foods and restricts processed foods. That being said, the food recommendations are nothing revolutionary and in fact, it’s really no different than many other diet plans. It reminds me of a less restrictive Keto Diet but with intermittent fasting mixed in.
I think the vagueness of this plan, the limited carbohydrates and the fasting schedule would be challenging for most people to follow as a lifestyle.
Despite the diet’s vague food portions and lack of individual customization, there is a lot I like about this plan. There is nothing wacky or impossible to follow with this plan and intermittent fasting does have some science supporting it but, as with most restrictive diets, you should definitely consult a doctor or registered dietician that’s knowledgeable in this plan’s structure before starting.
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