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The Perricone Diet

The Promise

It's a win-win. With this diet, you get to lose weight and have great-looking skin. What's not to love?

In The Perricone Weight-Loss Diet, author Nicholas Perricone, MD, says eating anti-inflammatory foods that are rich in antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids will help you lose pounds and keep your skin looking younger.

Does It Work?

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. As for the scale, that comes down to how many calories you take in and how many you burn off.

Going for the types of foods that Perricone recommends is good for you, but to lose weight, you'll probably also need to be more active and limit your portion sizes and calories.

What You Can Eat and What You Can't

You'll be eating lots of fish and fish oil supplements to get the omega-3 fatty acids.

You also will eat salmon and lots of fruits and vegetables, like apples, pears, spinach, kale, cauliflower, avocados, and chili peppers; flaxseeds, sesame seeds, almonds, and walnuts; beans and lentils; low-fat dairy; and buckwheat and oats.

On this plan, fish is the protein of choice because it's high in omega-3 fatty acids. You can also have chicken and red meat (preferably organic).

Perricone considers any food made with flour, sugar, or other sweetener inflammatory. As a result, the do-not-eat list is long. It includes breads, cereals, crackers, fried foods, fruit juice, jelly, pasta, pizza, potatoes, rice, snack foods (pretzels and chips), soda, tortillas, tacos, ice cream, frozen yogurt, and sorbets.

Each meal or snack should include a protein (always eaten first to suppress appetite), a carb that's not on the don't-eat list, and essential fatty acids. You can have up to 2 ounces of antioxidant-rich dark chocolate a day.

Level of Effort: Medium

You have lots of delicious foods to eat, but you will have to give up many foods you may be used to.

Limitations: This diet may be a big change for you, considering you're giving up so many foods -- basically, anything made with flour or sugar.

Cooking and shopping: Perricone wants you to buy organic as much as possible. This can cost more. Keeping fresh produce and seafood on hand may mean more trips to the grocery store.

Packaged foods or meals: None, except for Perricone’s brand of supplements. Supplements are an important part of Perricone’s plan. You have to take a packet of eight supplements, plus an extra omega-3 supplement, an hour before every meal. That’s 27 supplements a day.

In-person meetings: None.

Exercise: You'll do at least 30 to 45 minutes of physical activity three times a week.

Does It Allow for Dietary Restrictions or Preferences?

Vegetarians and vegans: Vegetarians and vegans can get omega-3 from sources other than fish, such as walnuts, flaxseed, soybeans, canola or soybean oil, or vegetarian omega-3 supplements.

Gluten-free: Wheat and other high-gluten grains are on the do-not-eat list. Instead, Perricone prefers gluten-free buckwheat and oats. Still, you'll need to check food labels to avoid gluten completely.

What Else You Should Know

Costs: If you decide to get Perricone’s supplement packets, a 30-day supply costs $200. A 30-day supply of his omega-3 supplements costs $38. Shipping is free.

Support: None.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Michael Dansinger, MD on December 11, 2013

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