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The Promise

Take up to 2 inches off your waist within 2 weeks. So says Dr. Oz's Ultimate Diet.

The plan is based on you knowing things like how your body stores fat and burns calories, why you get hungry, and what makes you full. It also gives tips like using smaller plates to keep your portions smaller.

Does It Work?

There have been no studies of the diet itself, but Mehmet Oz, MD, does back up some of his claims with research.

What You Can Eat

Oz provides a long grocery list of recommended foods. Load up on fresh fruits and vegetables, lean proteins such as skinless chicken breasts and salmon, and whole grains.

Follow the "Rule of 5s" to figure out what not to eat. If foods have any of these listed as one of the first five ingredients on the label, stay away: sugars, white flours, saturated fats, and trans fats.

Alcohol is OK, but only one drink a day, taken toward the end of dinner. Remember: Alcohol has calories, and if you let loose, you may end up eating more than you planned to.

Level of Effort: Medium

Apart from eliminating simple sugars, white flour, and certain kinds of fat, the Ultimate Diet gives you a lot of flexibility in what you can eat.

Limitations: Oz's "grocery list" is a long one and includes plenty of different foods to fit all taste buds.

Cooking and shopping: Your cooking and shopping routines shouldn't change much. You should be able to find most of the items at your regular grocery store.

Packaged foods or meals: None required.

In-person meetings: No, but Oz does recommend finding a "weight-loss buddy" such as a spouse, friend, or co-worker and checking in with that person -- either by phone or email -- every day.

Exercise : Yes. Your exercise routine should include half an hour a day of cardiovascular activity such as walking, plus strength training to build muscles once a week. Ultimately, you can work up to 10,000 steps, or about 5 miles a day.

Does It Allow for Dietary Restrictions or Preferences?

Vegetarians, vegans, as well as people on low-fat or low-salt diets should have no trouble following the diet.

What Else You Should Know

Cost: Oz recommends a total overhaul of your kitchen cupboards, which could be expensive. Once that's done, you'll just be keeping your kitchen stocked.

Support: You have to do this diet on your own, unless you find a weight-loss buddy.

What Dr. Melinda Ratini Says:

Does It Work?

Like any good physician, Oz has obviously read through the nutritional guidelines of the American Heart Association and the American Diabetes Association. The main concepts of his diet plan are spot-on with many of their recommendations. You will likely lose weight and be on the road to better health if you follow his plan.

Oz includes the fundamental elements of a sound diet: enjoyable eating and healthy food choices. His "Rule of 5s" is sure to knock most processed foods out of your cabinets, and with it much of the added salt, fat, and empty calories.

Is It Good for Certain Conditions?

Diets that are low in salt and fat are good for your heart health and blood pressure, and so is any needed weight loss. Your cholesterol levels will likely fall with this type of mindful eating as well.

Weight loss and exercise are also proven to help prevent and treat diabetes. If you have diabetes, any drastic change in your diet or in your activity level means that you may need to adjust your diabetes treatment plan to avoid hypoglycemia (low blood sugar). Talk with your doctor or dietitian for guidance.

The diet allows for low-fat dairy, low-fat animal protein, and fish. It also packs in plenty of fiber from fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Fiber will help keep your cholesterol level down, and it's good for your digestive system.

Dr. Oz’s Ultimate Diet includes about 30 minutes of aerobic activity on most days. This is also what the American Heart Association recommends. But the plan does fall a little short with strength training. Both the American Heart Association and the CDC say you should fit this in at least twice a week.

Oz recommends that everyone see their doctor before starting his diet-exercise plan.

The Final Word

The most painful part of Dr. Oz’s Ultimate Diet may well be the purging of your cabinets.

Stocking your kitchen with the diet’s shopping list is sure to be pricey at first, but after that, it shouldn’t be more than you would normally spend on your groceries. Any expensive items may be balanced out by your savings from having cut out fatty cuts of meats and prepared foods.

Be prepared to do your own cooking, as it will be much easier to follow the diet if you do. Eating out may present a challenge, since you have little control over the ingredients.

Dr. Oz’s Ultimate Diet has helpful tips on how to stick with the diet and how to maintain your weight loss afterward. The healthy eating tips that you learn will serve you well for a lifetime.

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