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The Promise

The newest edition of the best-selling 17 Day Diet by Mike Moreno, MD, promises to help you rev up your fat-burning metabolism, shed pounds, and build healthy new habits.

The key, according to the San Diego family medicine doctor, lies in changing your calorie count and food combinations every 17 days for four cycles. This, he says, keeps your metabolism in a fat-burning state because it is constantly guessing how much food it will have to process.

What You Can Eat and What You Can't

The plan relies on lean protein, antioxidant-rich produce, probiotics, and good fats. It bans sugar, processed foods, salty foods, and fried foods.

Early on, you minimize starchy vegetables and high-sugar fruits, and cheats like alcohol are off the table entirely.

As the diet progresses, though, it gradually eases up. By the end, you can have the occasional drink, 100-calorie snack, or cheat meal.

Because of how our metabolism changes throughout the day, you should only eat fruit before 2 p.m., Moreno says.

Level of Effort: Medium

Even at its strictest, the plan gives you plenty of variety and personal choice.

Limitations: The diet starts off at its most restrictive -- 1,200 calories, with a high-protein, low-fat, no-carb emphasis (including minimizing starchy vegetables and fruits). But as users move through the cycles, more and more foods are added.

Cooking and shopping: Dieters can pick and tailor their own recipes to fit the plan, or choose among a wide selection of recipes included in the book.

Package foods or meals: Optional. Diet delivery service BistroMD offers customizable menus for under $185 per week at

In-person meetings: No.

Exercise: Required. The book includes a 17-minute weightlifting and cardioworkout to do 6 days a week.

Does It Allow for Dietary Restrictions or Preferences?

Vegetarians and vegans: Though the core diet is anchored in plenty of animal products -- lean meat, fish, eggs, and probiotic-rich dairy products are emphasized -- there are plenty of substitutions that can be made, among them tofu, rice protein powder, and soy milk.

Low-salt diet: The diet recommends low-salt foods.

Low-fat diet: Moreno’s meal plans rest heavily on moderate amounts of healthy fats like olive and flaxseed oils.

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