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Dubrow Diet: Benefits and Risks

the dubrows
Last Updated on July 27, 2022

The Dubrow Diet is a form of eating designed by husband-and-wife duo Heather and Terry Debrow. But before they created the Dubrow diet, they first gained fame through their role on “The Real Housewives of Orange County” and “Botched,” respectively.

Nowadays, they’re known for the Dubrow diet, which is how they say they keep their slim figures and stay looking young.

But is this strict diet all that they make it out to be? And what are its pros and cons? We’ll help you sort out all that and more here.

An Overview of the Dubrow Diet

vegetables cucumber onion

The Dubrow Diet combines two dieting principles: Intermittent fasting and low carb eating.

By following their three-phase plan, Heather and Terry insist that you’ll lose weight by teaching your body to burn fat. The three phases are as follows:

  • Phase 1: Red Carpet Ready
  • Phase 2: Summer Is Coming
  • Phase 3: Look Hot While Living Like a Human

No, we’re not making up these names. The goal of each phase varies, with the first being to kickstart fast weight loss, the second to lose weight at a steady pace, and the third is maintenance mode once you reach your weight loss goal.

As described in their book, you don’t have to count calories to follow this diet. Still, nutritionists caution that the calories you’ll consume are below the recommended daily amount for healthy adults.

Foods You Can Eat on the Dubrow Diet

healthy food vegetables

The types of food you can eat on the Dubrow diet vary according to the phase. So, let’s explore these phases and their permitted foods in more detail.

Phase 1: Red Carpet Ready

Red Carpet Ready is a short-term phase intended to last 2 - 5 days. It involves fasting for 16 hours and eating all your calories for the day within the remaining eight hours. 

The foods and their portion sizes that the Dubrow diet recommends during this time include:

  • 6 - 12 ounces of lean protein
  • 1 - 2 servings of healthy fat
  • ½ ounce of nuts or seeds
  • 1 serving of dairy or dairy alternative
  • 1 ½ - 3 cups of non-starchy vegetables
  • 1 small serving of fruit
  • ½ cup of a complex carbohydrate

In addition to these foods, you’re allowed to eat one savory treat. Heather and Terry give you a choice for this treat, including popcorn, pickles, seaweed salad, or beef jerky.

You can’t drink alcohol during this time, but you’re allowed to drink unlimited coffee, tea, water, and zero-calorie drinks.

Phase 2: Summer Is Coming

The amount of time you remain in the Summer Is Coming phase depends on how much weight you want to lose. You can choose between a 12 - 16-hour fasting window during this time. Heather and Terry say that the longer you go with your fast, the quicker weight will come off.

You can eat all the same foods as phase one while adding extra fats and complex carbs. You can also consume a moderate amount of alcohol during this phase.

Phase 3: Look Hot While Living Like a Human

Once you reach your weight loss goal, you’ll move into this phase three maintenance mode. Heather and Terry insist on incorporating phase three into a lifestyle change because they say it’ll ensure the weight stays off, and you’ll gain anti-aging and disease-fighting benefits.

You’re free to eat all the same foods as in phase one and two, but the difference is the fasting periods. You’ll fast for 12-hour periods five days per week. Then, you’ll have two 16-hour fast days.

As a bonus for anyone craving food that isn’t on the Dubrow diet’s list, you can grant yourself one cheat meal.

Pros and Cons

Pros

Below are some of the advantages of following the Dubrow diet:

  • High chance of weight loss
  • You don’t have to count calories
  • You’ll consume mostly unprocessed food

Cons

Before embarking on the Dubrow diet, consider the following cons:

  • Not enough calorie consumption
  • Lack of nutrients (mainly from not eating enough food)
  • Focuses more on weight loss than health
  • Not a sustainable way to eat in the long term

Benefits of the Dubrow Diet

From a scientific point of view, intermittent fasting has shown numerous health benefits, including improving verbal memory, a lower resting heart rate, and improved blood pressure. There’s also science backing up the Dubrow diet’s weight-loss claims around intermittent fasting.

Furthermore, the Dubrow diet doesn’t encourage eating processed foods and those with added sugar. Researchers believe that such food can increase the likelihood of cardiovascular disease and death.

Losing weight is the cornerstone of the Dubrow diet, and you’ll likely experience this. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, even a 5 - 10% body weight loss can improve your blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar levels.

Risks of the Dubrow Diet

You’ll be hard-pressed to find a doctor or nutritionist promoting the Dubrow diet, given that it’s a restrictive diet that doesn’t offer most adults enough calories. 

The Dubrow diet also promotes low-carb eating. While it’s true that consuming fewer carbohydrates can lead to weight loss, such an extreme reduction can cause numerous health issues, including heart arrhythmias, osteoporosis, kidney damage, and increased cancer risk.

Furthermore, you likely won’t get enough nutrients because of how restrictive the Dubrow diet is. Some of the many nutrients you might become deficient in include calcium, beta carotene, iron, and potassium.

Weighing Your Options

You’ll likely see weight loss results by following the Dubrow diet, but it may be at risk to your health. So, before embarking on this diet, we strongly recommend speaking with your doctor, and they can assess the diet’s premises and nutritional values to see if it’s a good fit for your situation.

References

Carolyn Williams, Ph.D., RD, What Is the Dubrow Diet—And Can It Actually Help Me Lose Weight?, retrieved from https://www.cookinglight.com/eating-smart/nutrition-101/what-is-the-dubrow-diet

Jessica Migala, Dubrow Diet: How the Fasting Diet Works, What to Eat, Weight Loss Benefits, and More, retrieved from https://www.everydayhealth.com/diet-nutrition/dubrow-diet/

Susie Burrell, The Dubrow Diet: What You Should Know About the Cult Weight Loss Program Invented by Reality TV Stars, retrieved from https://coach.nine.com.au/diet/dubrow-diet-explained-by-a-dietitian/37023168-5361-40b8-9f8a-c545bf795d86 

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