The 17 Day Diet

by George Pierce
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Dr Mike Moreno on the Dr. Phil Show talks about his 17 Day Diet

The 17 Day Diet is a combination of 4 cycles.  Each of the first three cycle is 17 days.  The last cycle is a maintenance cycle. The diet was created by Dr. Mike Moreno.  The diet promises that you should lose 10 to 12 pounds in your first 17 days.  

The diet claims to reduce the risk of cancer, carbohydrate sensitivity, depression, type 2 diabetes, digestive problems, gallstones, gout, heart disease, high blood pressure, high LDL cholesterol, infertility, joint disease, overweight/obesity, sleep apnea, and stroke.

How does it work?

The diet is meant to maximize your metabolism, help you to lose pounds, and to create new habits. Eat 17 day cycle introduces a new set of foods and a new caloric intake.  The reasoning is that your body will not have time to adjust, so your metabolism will stay revved up.  

The diet begins as a low 1200 calorie, high protein, low fat, low carb plan that adds more and more foods as you progress through the cycles.  

Phase I:  Accelerate

You should expect rapid weight loss in this 17 day cycle.  Your body will be removing sugar and improving digestion.  You are allowed to eat all you want regarding low fat proteins and low starch veggies.  This cycle can be used again if you need to quickly lose weight that has returned.  If you reach your goal weight in this cycle or any other cycle, you can go to Phase IV.  

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Phase II:  Activate

This 17 day cycle involves increasing and decreasing your caloric intake in order to stimulate and maximize your metabolic rate.   It is meant to prevent plateauing.

Phase III:  Achieve

You will be introducing more foods and developing better eating habits during this 17 day stage.  At the end of the 17 days, move to Phase IV if you have reached your goal weight, otherwise you can continue in Phase III or go back to I then II then III or II the III.  

Phase IV:  Arrive

Phase IV is your maintenance cycle.  Once your achieve your goal weight, you begin this phase.  This phase allows you to enjoy your favorite foods on the weekends (in moderation), while maintaining a healthy eating regimen during the week.  

In the 'Breakthrough Edition' of this diet, an optional Fast Day can be added between cycles.

What you can eat:

Bistro MD offer a 17 Day Diet Meal Delivery plan.  You have control over your menu and your meals will be prepared and delivered to your door.  The cost is about $185 per week.  You can order toll free or online.  

Each cycle has a food list that you  can follow. as well as additional foods to avoid.

Food List for Phase I:

Cycle 1: Accelerate – What to eat

*Contour foods  (in the Breakthrough Edition) are foods that have been scientifically proven to take fat off your abs, thighs, and all over your body, which everybody should be eating, every day. These are marked here with a *star. Cycle 1 contour foods are fish, apples and pears, olive oil, and yogurt.

Lean proteins – no limits
*Fish: salmon, canned or fresh; sole; flounder; catfish; tilapia; canned light tuna in water. Opt           for wild-caught rather than farm-raised fish.
Poultry: skinless chicken breasts, skinless turkey breasts, lean ground turkey
These lean proteins are also listed as acceptable in cycle 1 in the ethnic diets section of the           book: ceviche; red snapper (huachinango)

The 3 Week Diet
Eggs – up to 2 a day  Eggs (2 eggs = 1 serving). Stick to no more than 4 yolks per week if your physician has diagnosed you with high cholesterol. Egg whites can be eaten without restriction in the original diet; the Breakthrough Edition says that 4 egg whites = 1 serving

Eggs – up to 2 a day  Eggs (2 eggs = 1 serving). Stick to no more than 4 yolks per week if your physician has diagnosed you with high cholesterol. Egg whites can be eaten without restriction in the original diet; the Breakthrough Edition says that 4 egg whites = 1 serving
Vegetables – no limits.  Artichoke, artichoke hearts, asparagus, bell peppers (all colors), broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, celery, cucumbers, eggplant, garlic, green beans, green leafy vegetables (including beet greens, turnip greens, collard greens), kale, leeks, lettuce (all varieties), mushrooms, okra, onions, parsley, scallions, spinach, tomatoes, watercress
These vegetables are also listed as cleansing vegetables in the ethnic diets section of the book: arame, Asian eggplant, bamboo shoots, bean sprouts, bok choy, broccoli rabe, chiles, Chinese broccoli, cilantro, dulse/sea lettuce, fennel, grape leaves, lily pods, long beans, sugar-free marinara sauce (½ cup = 1 serving), nori, parsley, pea pods, seaweed/sea vegetables, snow peas, summer squash, tomatillos, zucchini/courgettes
Low-sugar fruit – 2 servings daily – 1 serving = 1 piece fresh or 1 cup chopped fresh fruit. Do not eat fruit after 2pm
*Apples, berries (all types), grapefruit, oranges, peaches, *pears, plums, prickly pear cactus, prunes, red grapes

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If you take statins and want to eat grapefruit – have ½ grapefruit in the morning and always take your statins in the evening, to minimize any grapefruit-drug interaction. Consult with your physician before doing this
Fruits and vegetables should be eaten raw whenever possible, except carrots and tomatoes. Ensure they’re fresh, not wilted; buy locally grown where possible
Probiotic foods – 2 servings daily
*Yogurt (e.g. Greek-style, sugar-free fruit flavored, plain, low-fat – 6 oz. = 1 serving), kefir (1 cup), low-fat acidophilus milk (1 cup), yakult (small 50-calorie bottle), Breakstone LifeActive cottage cheese (½ cup), reduced salt miso dissolved in low-fat, low-sodium broth (1 tablespoon), tempeh (4 oz.), sauerkraut (½ cup), kimchi (½ cup)

Friendly fats – 1-2 tablespoons daily *Olive oil, flaxseed oil
Condiments and pantry
Low-fat low-sodium broth, vegetable cooking spray, low-carb ketchup, low-carb marinara sauce, mustard, fat-free salad dressings, salsa, lite soy sauce,  salt, Tabasco sauce, vinegar
Fat-free sour cream, fat-free cheeses (i.e. Parmesan)
Sugar-free jams and jellies, vanilla extract
Herbs – e.g. basil, bay leaves, chives, dill, garlic, horseradish, Italian seasonings, mint, oregano, parsley, rosemary, sage, tarragon, thyme
Spices – e.g. cayenne pepper, chili powder, cinnamon, cumin, curry powder, garlic powder, nutmeg, onion powder, pepper



Nectresse (Not mentioned in original 17-Day Diet but included in Breakthrough Edition)
 Go easy on sugar substitutes and learn to enjoy the natural sweetness of fresh fruits

Water, mineral water, or seltzer water – eight 8 oz. glasses a day
Green tea – suggests you have 3 cups a day, but it appears that this doesn’t count towards your water goal
Herbal tea
Coffee or tea (unsweetened, no milk) – max 3-4 8 ounce cups a day, drunk at least 1 hour before meals – this doesn’t count towards your water goal
Eat slowly and only until full; do not overload your stomach

Cycle 1: Accelerate – Foods to avoid

Avoid the “avoid always” foods (below) above plus:

Starchy foods, including All grains, including wheat, rice, corn, oatmeal, etc.; processed grains such as bread, pasta, cereals, etc.)
        Starchy vegetables such as potatoes, corn, sweet potato, etc.
        Legumes (beans, lentils, chickpeas, etc.)
        All processed starchy foods
Fatty and red meat proteins (note that chicken and turkey breast are allowed)
        All red meat
        Dark poultry and poultry skin
        Processed meats
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High-sugar fruits Fruit juice (or vegetable juice) No fruit after 2pm
Implied in the book – milk and milk products which are not listed in the probiotic foods section above in “Accelerate – what to eat” – uncultured milk and milk products aren’t listed as acceptable foods until Cycle 3

Click here for the food list for cycle 2,  for the food list for cycle 3. and cycle 4.  

What you cannot eat:  (“avoid always” foods list)
You should avoid the following foods (in Phase IV, they are allowed on the weekends):
        Any and all sugar including high fructose corn syrup, fructose, sucrose, glucose, corn syrup
        It is preferred that you give up soda 
        Even honey and other natural sweeteners should be avoided.

    Bad fats:  Saturated and trans fats

    Salty foods

    High-sugar and high-fat condiments  for example, you want to avoid regular ketchup because it     contains sugar; and avoid sour cream because it contains fat

In addition, cycle 1,2, and 3 each have additional foods to avoid.  

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Sample Menu for week one:

You have some flexibility and options.

Day 1
Breakfast:     Omelette
Lunch:     Shrimp & Chicken Gumbo
Dinner:     Beef Bourguignon

Day 2
Breakfast:     Mixed Berry Crepe
Lunch:     Chicken Cheese Steak
Dinner:     Port Tenderloin with Olive Tapanade

Day 3
Breakfast:     Omelette
Lunch:     Broccoli & Beef Dinner
Dinner:     Sausage Dinner

Day 4
Breakfast:     Spinach & Ricotta Cheese Crepe
Lunch:     Shrimp Bowl
Dinner:     Chicken Roasted Apples

Day 5
Breakfast:     Omelette
Lunch:     Blackened Tilapia
Dinner:     Fish Paella


Day 6
Breakfast:     Breakfast Crepe
Lunch:     Salmon Fillet with Roasted Pepper Puree
Dinner:     Arroz Con Lentejas

Day 7
Breakfast:     Chicken & Mushroom Crepe
Lunch:     Chicken Bowl
Dinner:     Pineapple Teriyaki Meatloaf

Green Tea is recommended with each meal.  Water consumption should range from 64 to 96 oz. daily.  Coffee is allowed up to four cups daily.

Sample Menu for one day:

Hot Water with Lemon when you awake.


Egg White Omelet with Spinach, sun dried tomato and low-fat cheese
1/2 Medium Grapefruit
1/2 Cup of Plain Yogurt or 6oz Low-Sugar Fruit Flavored Yogurt
Green Tea


Grilled Chicken Breast
Cool Cucumber Strawberry Salad With Vinaigrette
Green Tea

Mid-Day Snacks

Baby Carrots, 1 Cup
1/2 Cup of Plain Yogurt or 6oz Low-Sugar Fruit Flavored Yogurt


Cool Chicken Lettuce Wraps
Steamed Broccoli
Green Tea

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Exercise is required.  The first two cycles include light exercise such as walking for17 minutes daily.   In the third cycle, you will ramp up your exercise to 40 to 60 minutes of aerobic exercise for most days of the week. During the final cycle, you' will go to exercising for an hour on weekends, while keeping up your regular regimen during the week.


There are no in person meetings;


There is no support. You can find plenty of online support, for this diet or any diet, click here for our list of 22 free online weight loss forums and communities.


The diet allows you to create your own meals from the food lists, so you can use creativity and imagination to keep your meals delicious.

The initial stage of this diet seems to be the part that gives most people trouble.  Phase I is low in calories and carbs which may be difficult for most people.  In addition, a number of foods are to be avoided such as whole grains and pasta (see foods to avoid in cycle 1), which can be hard for many dieters.  

The diet is recommended for people with 'normal health'.  People with kidney problems, heart problems, medical conditions, diabetes type 1, or physical problems or are pregnant  should not do this diet.  It is always wise to see your doctor first.

1200 calories may be too low for some people.  

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Lose weight
Eat healthy
Look and feel better
Remove harmfully foods from your diet
Reduce or reverse risks of obese related diseases
Improved digestion
Reduce risk of gallstones and gout
Improve sleep apnea
Learn to make better food choices
Create better eating habits
Created with long term success in mind
Includes exercise
Maximizes your metabolism
Set clear goals
Quick results


Low calories and low carbs in Phase I
Difficult to get past stage one
No sugar
Many sweeteners are banned.
Certain foods and food groups are to be avoided.
Food Planning
Food Preparation



Although there are no studies to prove that this diet will help you to lose weight, the low caloric intake and the exercise should help you to lose weight.  The diet is healthy and gets easier as you move through the cycles and it is designed for long term weight loss.  I give the diet a thumbs up. but due to its restrictiveness and difficulty in Phase I, I do not believe that this diet will be a good fit for most people.  

Once you make it to Phase IV, the diet gives you enough flexibility to maintain a healthy weight and still enjoy yourself, a great combination for long term success.  If you do over indulge, you can always go back to an earlier cycle to regain your goal weight.

Some people complain that they are hungry in Phase I.  Remember that you have no limit on low-fat proteins and non-starchy vegetables.

Credits:  17  Day Diet,  My 17 day diet blog, Web MD, Chewfo, US News and World Report, Youtube.

Thank you for reading, my friends. I wish you success on your weight loss journey.

Kind regards,
George Pierce
WALW Founder

do not believe everything you think


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17 Day Diet Essentials – Diet Tips from Dr. Mike Moreno

Dr. Mike Moreno 
Creator of the 17 Day Diet

Better known as Dr. Mike, Dr. Micheal Rafael Moreno is a family practice doctor in San Diego, California.  

Dr. Mike launched “Walk with Your Doc”, a program that he engages in on every Tuesday and Thursday morning before work.  Dr. Mike walks with a patient to motivate him/her to exercise.  'Walk with Your Doc' began in 2008 and is now a thriving community.

Dr. Mike claims that he has incorporated healthy habits into his lifestyle and his work and says that you can too.


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