Diet, Weight Loss,

What is the 17 Day Diet

The 17 Day Diet promotes the eating of healthy foods while incorporating exercise and limiting sugar and starch. The diet is broken up into three cycles and one long term maintenance cycle that are supposed to keep the body’s metabolism revved up and thus make the body a weight loss machine. The 17 Day Diet was created by a family practice doctor, Dr. Michael Moreno.

How the 17 Day Diet Works

Dieters will eat foods in three cycles that last for 17 days each to kick start the weight loss, and work toward a goal of maintaining a desired weight and eating healthfully for the rest of their lives. The diet’s creator calls Cycle One the “Accelerate” stage in which the body will be cleansed, healthy eating habits will be formed, and 10 – 15 lbs. of weight should be lost.

Cycle Two is called “Activate”, and this cycle lasts for 17 days as well.  During this cycle the dieter will eat from the Cycle One menu one day and alternate to the Cycle Two menu for the duration of the 17 days, and after this cycle the dieter should lose 5 – 6 lbs. Cycle Three, called “Achieve”, slows weight loss to 2 – 3 lbs., but incorporates many more food choices.  Cycle Four, called “Arrive”, is used to promote steady control over your weight for the long term and adds many more new foods (including low calorie desserts).

In addition to the eating plan, the 17 Day Diet encourages you to exercise for 17 minutes each day during the first two cycles, while slowly increasing the total exercise time to 150 – 300 minutes per week in the later cycles. That works out to be about 21 – 42 minutes per day. By alternating the amount of calories eaten each day, the body is supposed to be put into, according to the diet’s creator, a “state of confusion” in which the metabolism will stay on high alert because it doesn’t have the chance to settle down to an even keel.

What Experts Say about the 17 Day Diet

The 17 Day Diet uses calorie cycling (changing the amount of calories you eat each day), and this has been shown to assist the body in using calories more efficiently by ensuring that the metabolic rate doesn’t have a chance to level out. The diet starts off as a mishmash of low carb and low fat, but focuses on restricted calories. Experts all agree that calorie restriction is how humans lose weight.  Where the diet and nutrition experts begin to disagree is in the suggestion that restricting fruit and starch consumption after 2 p.m. will help keep the body from storing its calories as fat. Most experts in this field, with supporting studies, have concluded that it doesn’t matter what time of day food is consumed nor what type of food it is, the body will use or store the calories accordingly.

Sample 17 Day Diet Meal Plan

Cycle One – Eat three meals a day, that equal approximately 1,200 calories, made from the following food choices and eat no fruit after 2 p.m. Keep any servings of protein to the size of a regular kitchen sponge.

  • Sampling of Allowed Foods
    • Flax Seed Oil
    • Olive Oil
    • Artichoke Hearts
    • Asparagus
    • Bell Peppers (green, orange, red, and yellow)
    • Berries (fresh or frozen, unsweetened)
    • Broccoli
    • Canned Light Tuna (in water)
    • Chicken Breasts
    • Egg Whites (4 egg whites = 1 serving)
    • Eggs (2 eggs = 1 serving)
    • Fat Free Cheese, Sour Cream, and Salad Dressing
    • Flounder
    • Ground Turkey (lean)
    • Herbs
    • Hot Green Tea
    • Low Carb Ketchup or Marinara
    • Mustard
    • Pro-Biotic Foods (Yogurt, Milk with added Acidophilus, Sauerkraut)
    • Salmon (canned or fresh)
    • Salsa
    • Sole
    • Spices
    • Sugar Free Jelly/Jam
    • Tilapia
    • Turkey breasts
    • Vinegar

Sample Cycle One Daily Menu

Upon Waking

  • Hot water infused with lemon juice


  • 1/2 Cup of Non-Fat Plain Yogurt with 2 – 3 Fresh Strawberries mixed in
  • 2 Eggs
  • Hot Green Tea (sweeten with natural, artificial sweetener if desired)

Mid-morning Snack

  • 1/2 Cup Non-Fat Plain Yogurt with 2 – 3 Fresh Strawberries mixed in


  • Grilled Chicken Breast
  • Salad made with lettuce, tomato, cucumber, celery, and tossed with a dressing made with olive oil and white vinegar or apple cider vinegar.
  • (Serve the chicken breast atop the salad for an alternative presentation.)
  • 1 Sliced Medium Apple
  • Hot Green Tea

Afternoon Snack

  • 1 Cup Baby Carrots


  • 1 Ground Turkey Patty with steamed carrots and broccoli
  • Hot Green Tea

Cycle Two – This cycle is the same as cycle one, but with more food choices and with a slightly higher limit of about 1,500 calories per day. Remember to limit both fruits and starches after 2 p.m. In addition to this, alternate Cycles each day. This means that on the first day of Cycle Two, food choices will be chosen from the Cycle Two foods and on day two the foods will be chosen from the Cycle One foods and so on until the end of the cycle.

  • Added Foods
    • Beef – Sirloin Steak, Tenderloin Steak, Lean Ground
    • Lamb – Shanks, Sirloin Roast
    • Pork – Sirloin Chops, Tenderloin Roast, Top/Center Loin Chops
    • Shellfish – Crab, Scallops, Mussels, Shrimp, Clams
    • Veal – Cutlets
    • 1 Serving (equivalent to 1/2 cup) Grains – Brown Rice, Couscous, Cream of Wheat, Long Grain Rice (Basmati), Millet, Old Fashioned Oatmeal, Pearled Barley
    • 1 Serving (equivalent to 1/2 cup) Legumes – Black Beans, Butter Beans, Black-eyed Peas, Split Peas, Peas, Lentils, Lima Beans
    • 1 Servings Starchy Vegetables – 1 Medium Potato, 1/2 Cup Corn, 1 Cup Butternut Squash, 1 Medium Yam

Sample Cycle Two Daily Menu

The Cycle Two menu is the same as the Cycle One menu except that lunch can be expanded with 2 servings from the allowable grains, legumes, and/or starchy vegetables. The protein portion of the lunch and dinner meals can incorporate the new, allowable meats and shellfish.

Cycle Three – This stage of the diet incorporates a large number of new allowable foods, but the menus stay pretty much the same as the Cycle Two menu and a new rotation of days as well. As with the previous two stages, do not eat starches or fruits after 2 p.m.

  • New Food Choices
    • Protein – Quail, Pheasant, Cornish Hens, Canadian Bacon, Low-fat Turkey Bacon
    • 1 Serving Grain Product – 1 slice Rye, Pumpernickel, Whole Wheat, Gluten Free, 1/2 Whole Grain Bagel, 1 Pita Pocket, 1 Cup High Fiber Cereal, 1 Cup Gluten Free Cold Cereal, 1/2 Cup Pasta
    • Unlimited Servings Vegetables – Zucchini, Rhubarb, Summer Squash, Fennel, Cilantro, Radishes, Pea Pods
    • 2 Servings Fruit (2 pieces of fresh fruit or 2 cups chopped fruit) – Apricots, Bananas, Guava, Mango, Pineapple, Papaya
    • 100 Calorie or Less Desserts – Fudgesicle, 4 Cups Microwave Popcorn, Skinny Cow Ice Cream Sandwich

Cycle Four – Once this stage is reached, the dieter will continue to rotate meals from the Cycle One, Two, and Three menus Monday to Thursday. For Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, the dieter may eat favorite meals (such as a cheeseburger from a restaurant, lasagna, or pizza), but keep the portions to a proper size. This means that restaurant portions should be cut in half.  This cycle will last indefinitely and is a life-long eating plan. At any point in time the dieter begins to gain weight again, then the first Three Cycles should be gone through again until the excess weight is lost.