Developed by a reality TV power couple, the Dubrow Diet pairs intermittent fasting — an eating pattern that restricts food intake to a specific timeframe — with a low-carb diet.
The plan promises to help you lose weight, feel ageless, and transform your body and life from the inside out.
While some praise the plan’s effectiveness, others claim that it’s unoriginal, overly simplified, and too low in calories.
This article takes a closer look at the Dubrow Diet and whether it can help you lose weight.
RATING SCORE BREAKDOWN
- Overall score: 3.75
- Fast weight loss: 3
- Long-term weight loss: 4
- Easy to follow: 3.5
- Nutrition quality: 4.5
BOTTOM LINE: The Dubrow Diet is a low-carb diet that uses intermittent fasting to promote weight loss. It emphasizes eating lean proteins, healthy fats, non-starchy vegetables, and fruits and may offer some benefits.
The Dubrow Diet is a popular diet plan created by reality stars Terry and Heather Dubrow.
Dr. Terry Dubrow is a well-known plastic surgeon and co-host of the TV show Botched, while Heather Dubrow is a former cast member of the Real Housewives of Orange County.
The diet is outlined in a book that was published in 2018.
According to its creators, the plan can improve blood sugar control, increase energy levels, boost fat-burning, and slow signs of aging.
The low-carb diet involves practicing intermittent fasting and restricting your food intake to specific hours of the day.
It also lays out general guidelines for which foods and food groups to include to optimize your results.
Summary The Dubrow Diet is a diet plan based on a book published by Terry and Heather Dubrow. It’s a low-carb diet that involves intermittent fasting and sets guidelines for which foods you should eat.
The Dubrow Diet is divided into three phases that vary by eating schedule.
The first phase is called “Red Carpet Ready” and involves fasting for 16 hours and restricting food intake to 8 hours daily during a refueling period. This is a common type of intermittent fasting known as the 16/8 method.
This phase should be followed for 2–5 days at the beginning of the plan. It’s thought to help reset hunger cues to start the diet off on the right foot.
The first phase is the most restrictive and encourages foods like lean proteins, healthy fats, non-starchy vegetables, fruits, dairy products, and small amounts of nuts, seeds, and complex carbs.
The second phase of the diet, known as “Summer Is Coming,” should be followed until you reach your weight goal.
Like the first phase, it involves periods of fasting, which last 12–16 hours depending on how quickly you would like to reach your goals.
This phase also sets guidelines for which food groups you should consume, as well as how much.
Though there’s no need to count calories or macronutrients, the plan encourages eating specific food groups.
During the second phase, you should eat:
- 2–3 servings of non-starchy vegetables
- 2–3 servings of lean protein
- 2–3 servings of healthy fats
- 1 serving of dairy
- 1–2 servings of fruit
- 1 serving of nuts or seeds
- 1 serving of complex carbs
Once you have reached your desired weight, you start the final phase of the diet for long-term weight maintenance, which is known as “Look Hot While Living Like a Human.”
This phase has the same rules as the second phase but involves fasting for 16 hours per day twice a week and following a 12-hour fast during the remaining 5 days.
During the second and third phases of the diet, occasional cheat days are permitted. On these days, dieters can enjoy their favorite foods in moderation.
Summary The Dubrow Diet is an eating plan that involves intermittent fasting for 12–16 hours per day. It also sets general guidelines regarding the types of foods you can eat, as well as the amounts.
The Dubrow Diet emphasizes eating healthy, whole foods and using minimally processed ingredients, which can aid weight loss.
Many of the foods encouraged on the Dubrow Diet are high in important nutrients like fiber, which moves slowly through your digestive tract to help enhance feelings of fullness (1).
In fact, one review found that intermittent fasting may be as effective as cutting calories at promoting weight loss, noting that 3–12 weeks of intermittent fasting could result in weight loss of up to 8% of your body weight (5).
What’s more, other research shows that intermittent fasting may temporarily boost your metabolism, which can help your body burn more calories throughout the day (7).
Summary The Dubrow Diet may help increase weight loss by emphasizing healthy whole foods. It also restricts carbs and incorporates intermittent fasting, both of which may aid weight loss.
In addition to enhancing weight loss, the Dubrow Diet may provide several other benefits, including:
- Decreased inflammation. Studies show that intermittent fasting can decrease several markers of inflammation, which may protect against chronic disease (8, 9, 10, 11).
- Improved heart health. Intermittent fasting and low-carb diets have been shown to reduce cholesterol and triglyceride levels, which may improve heart health (12, 13).
- Stabilized blood sugar. Some research suggests that cutting carbs can reduce blood sugar levels and increase your body’s ability to use insulin, a hormone involved in blood sugar control, more efficiently (14, 15).
- Improved brain health. Though research is mostly limited to animal studies, it indicates that intermittent fasting may boost brain function and slow signs of brain aging (16, 17).
Summary The Dubrow Diet may reduce inflammation, improve heart health, stabilize blood sugar levels, and protect your brain.
Despite the many possible benefits associated with the Dubrow Diet, there are some downsides to consider as well.
First, many have criticized the plan for simply recycling and rebranding common concepts like intermittent fasting — not bringing forward new ideas.
Additionally, the plan focuses on looking your best by boosting weight loss and slowing signs of aging rather than improving your overall health.
The diet also provides very general recommendations for which foods and how much to eat.
While this may be good for seasoned healthy eaters seeking flexibility, others may find it hard to follow, as it offers minimal guidance.
Additionally, the plan may be very low in calories depending on which foods you choose to include and how much you choose to eat throughout the day.
Finally, while intermittent fasting is generally considered safe, it’s inappropriate for people with certain health conditions, such as type 1 diabetes or low blood pressure.
Fasting is also not suitable for women who are pregnant or nursing.
What’s more, women are more sensitive to calorie restriction, and some evidence suggests that fasting may have negative effects on fertility (19).
Therefore, women may want to use a more modified approach and only practice intermittent fasting a few days a week rather than every day, as encouraged on the Dubrow Diet.
Summary The Dubrow Diet relies on familiar concepts and focuses on looking your best rather than improving your health. It also offers very general recommendations and may not provide enough calories for some people.
The Dubrow Diet sets general guidelines for which foods you should eat.
It emphasizes several healthy food groups, such as lean proteins, healthy fats, and non-starchy vegetables.
Here are some of the foods and beverages to include as part of the Dubrow Diet:
- Non-starchy vegetables: broccoli, leafy greens, asparagus, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, celery, etc.
- Lean proteins: skinless chicken or turkey, lean cuts of beef or pork, seafood, eggs, tofu, tempeh
- Healthy fats: olive oil, coconut oil, avocado oil, avocados, etc.
- Dairy products: milk, yogurt, cheese
- Fruit: apples, bananas, berries, melons, grapes, cherries, pears, peaches, apricots, etc.
- Nuts and seeds: almonds, walnuts, pistachios, chia seeds, flax seeds, hemp seeds, etc.
- Complex carbs: beans, lentils, sweet potatoes, oats, quinoa, buckwheat, barley, chickpeas, etc.
- Beverages: water, unsweetened coffee or tea
Low-sugar alcoholic drinks, such as red or white wine and distilled spirits, are permitted during the second and third phases of the diet.
However, you’re advised to limit your intake to one drink per day and stick to just one serving of fruit on days that you drink alcohol.
Summary The Dubrow Diet encourages consuming non-starchy vegetables, lean proteins, healthy fats, dairy, fruit, nuts, seeds, and calorie-free beverages.
Heavily processed and refined foods should be limited on the Dubrow Diet, including:
- Processed foods: convenience meals, potato chips, French fries, fast food, baked goods, candy, etc.
- Refined grains: white bread, pasta, biscuits, pancakes, flour tortillas, crackers, white rice
- Sugar-sweetened beverages: soda, energy drinks, juices, sweet tea, sports drinks
- High-fat meats: bacon, steak, pork belly, lamb chops, sausage, etc.
- Refined oils: canola oil, corn oil, soybean oil, hydrogenated fats
Keep in mind that these foods can still be enjoyed every once in a while, as the plan allows for occasional cheat days during the diet’s second and third phases.
Summary Processed foods, refined grains, sugar-sweetened beverages, high-fat meats, and refined oils should be restricted when following the Dubrow Diet.
Below is what three days during the second phase of the diet may look like.
Keep in mind that because the Dubrow Diet uses intermittent fasting, breakfast is not consumed unless it’s eaten within the specified 8–12-hour eating window.
- Breakfast: none
- Lunch: grilled chicken with sautéed broccoli and sweet potato wedges
- Dinner: baked salmon with cauliflower rice and asparagus
- Snacks: a cheese stick, apple, and handful of almonds
- Breakfast: none
- Lunch: veggie stir-fry with tempeh, bell peppers, onions, tomatoes, and eggplant
- Dinner: herb-roasted turkey breast with Brussels sprouts and quinoa
- Snacks: Greek yogurt with chia seeds and berries
- Breakfast: none
- Lunch: whole-grain toast with avocado, hard-boiled eggs, and a side salad
- Dinner: zucchini noodles with tuna, garlic, parsley, and olive oil
- Snacks: cottage cheese with apples, cinnamon, and toasted walnuts
Summary The three-day sample meal plan above provides some simple meals and snacks that you can enjoy as part of the Dubrow Diet.
The Dubrow Diet is a low-carb diet that uses intermittent fasting to promote weight loss.
Research on this diet specifically is unavailable, but the eating pattern it incorporates may aid weight loss and improve health overall.
Still, the diet recycles old concepts and focuses primarily on physical appearance.
Therefore, enjoying a variety of healthy whole foods and following an eating schedule that works for you may be a better option for long-term weight loss.