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The 17 Day Diet: What is It?

17 day diet orange with other food
Last Updated on July 2, 2022

The concept of the 17 Day Diet comes from a book written by Dr. Mike Moreno. The idea is that you’ll keep your body’s metabolism working at its highest level by changing what you eat and the number of calories you consume every 17 days.

Dr. Moreno claims that the result will be a skinnier, healthier you. However, celebrities like Ben Affleck and Kylie Jenner might balk at hearing this, given that they eat the same breakfast foods every day.

And to be fair, it does not appear that any celebs have publicized trying the 17-day diet yet.

So, are Dr. Moreno's claims as good as they sound? We will explore the inner workings of this diet and its pros and cons so that you can make that decision yourself.

How the 17 Day Diet Works

The 17 Day Diet targets people wanting to lose weight, as it promises a 10 - 15 pound weight loss in as little as 17 days. That may seem excessive to some dietitians, as the going theory is that a healthy weight loss goal is 1 - 2 pounds per week.

Nevertheless, such fast weight loss is only supposed to be for the first of four cycles, and it makes sense there would be speedier weight loss between loss of initial water weight and such a restrictive diet.

Let’s look at the 17 Day Diet’s four cycles, each of which lasts for 17 days.

Cycle 1 (Accelerate)

Cycle 1 will kickstart your weight loss journey because it keeps you on a relatively low carbohydrate, high protein diet. You will not be able to consume anything with added sugar during this time, nor refined carbs like bread and pasta.

Instead, your meals will consist of lean protein, probiotic foods like kefir and yogurt, low-carb veggies, and olive or flaxseed oil.

Cycle 2 (Activate)

Cycle 2 allows for more liberty with your food selections. You’ll be able to incorporate certain whole grains, more starchy vegetables, and fattier fish and meat into your diet.

However, you will alternate your days between these food selections and the food options in Cycle 1. So, every other day you eat according to Cycle 1 and Cycle 2. The purpose of this is to prevent your body from getting accustomed to your eating habits to avoid the dreaded plateau.  

Cycle 3 (Achieve)

Your tastebuds will thank you for moving into Cycle 3, for you will transition to eating whole-grain bread, cereal, and pasta. You can also eat unlimited vegetables, two servings of fruit per day, and even fattier meat than in Cycle 2.

The purpose of this phase is to help you reestablish a balance of healthy eating habits. Oh, and did we forget to mention you can start drinking alcohol in moderation during this phase?

Cycle 4 (Arrive)

When you get to Cycle 4, you will go through a new diet cycling. During the week, you will need to eat from Cycles 1 - 3. But once the weekend comes, you can give yourself cheat meals, consuming anywhere from one to three unhealthy plates of food or dessert. 

The 17 Day Diet does not dictate how you should approach eating during the week or weekend aside from these loose rules, as they encourage people to experiment with what works best for them.

Foods You Can Eat on the 17 Day Diet

The foods you can eat during the 17 Day Diet vary based on which cycle you are doing. Nevertheless, below are some of the food opportunities you will have:

  • Eggs
  • Legumes
  • Couscous
  • Corn
  • Squash
  • Chicken
  • Turkey
  • Yogurt

Of course, once you enter Cycle 4 and it is the weekend, you can add any food to this list without it technically being cheating.

17 Day Diet Pros

Below are some of the most notable stand-out features of the 17 Day Diet:

  • It promotes healthy foods in Cycles 1 - 3
  • There is a high chance of losing weight, especially in Cycle 1
  • People with different dietary restrictions can partake in it

The 17 Day Diet puts an emphasis on lean protein, fruits, and vegetables. So, since you are putting such healthy food into your body, you might also notice that you start having more energy and sleeping better.

17 Day Diet Cons

Like all diets, not everything is sunshine and rainbows with the 17 Day Diet. So, before you decide to take it on, consider the following:

  • There is a lot of juggling between different foods, which can add to your grocery bill
  • Food prep is challenging with such a large and fast rotation of approved foods
  • The first cycle lacks sufficient fiber

Despite these cons, it is worth turning to scientific studies suggesting that calorie cycling (the act of constantly changing how many calories you consume) can aid with weight loss. So, it stands to reason that food cycling might have a similar effect.

What Are the Risks of the 17 Day Diet

Fiber is hard to come by in Cycle 1 of the 17 Day Diet, meaning that you might have constipation or hemorrhoids. In the long run, a chronic lack of fiber can cause irritable bowel syndrome and diabetes, among other issues.

A person of average health should not worry about this risk in the first 17 days of using this diet. However, if you have any pre-existing conditions, we recommend checking with your doctor before embarking on it.

What Do You Think

The 17 Day Diet has several alluring qualities. Most notably, you will be able to have guilt-free cheat days on the weekend. However, it requires sticking to a rather complex schedule, so it is not among the most passive diets.

Now that we have given you the low-down on the 17 Day Diet, we will leave it up to you to decide if you want to give it a try.


Mayo Clinic Staff, Weight Loss: 6 Strategies for Success, retrieved from

Rudy Mawer, MSc, CISSN, Calorie Cycling 101: A Beginner’s Guide, retrieved from

Dietary Fibre, retrieved from


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