The Mayo Clinic Diet blog

Questions and answers about the Mayo Clinic Diet

By Donald Hensrud, M.D. November 4, 2010

There have been a number of questions from you and one of our readers had a number of good ones. Below are just a few of the things you've asked about and some answers we hope will be helpful.

I am using a program that tells me the calories, protein, fiber, and other nutrients in what I'm eating and it tells me I'm not getting enough of many of these. Am I getting enough?

I suspect your nutrition tracker is programmed to compare your intake with someone who is eating a regular diet, not a diet that is lower in calories.

The Mayo Clinic Diet has been analyzed for its nutritional adequacy and people who have been on it have had vitamin levels measured, so if you're following it as prescribed, you'll be fine.

It would be extremely unusual to not get enough fiber on this diet because of unlimited amounts of vegetables and fruits along with whole grains. Regarding calories, although you start out at a prescribed level that may seem too low, remember you can eat generous amounts of vegetables and fruits.

This will increase your calorie intake a little, but not too much. We've taken that into consideration in our calorie levels. Also, most people tend to eat a few more calories than what they think they're eating. Ultimately, what counts is if you're losing weight at an appropriate rate (approximately 1-2 pounds per week in the Live It! phase).

How can I convert servings on The Mayo Clinic Diet to calories and protein?

The number of calories per serving from each of the food groups and the amount of food in a serving for most foods is listed on pages 210-223.

Just total up the calories from all your servings in each food group for the day (with the correct amount of food in each serving) and you should get pretty close. Most foods contain a little protein, even those that are not in the protein/dairy group.

So, you'll be getting more protein in your overall diet than just the protein from the foods in the protein/dairy group and for this reason it's difficult (and may not be necessary) to calculate exactly how much. The bottom line is if you follow the pyramid and our guidelines, you'll get enough protein.

I thought monounsaturated fats were the best and I'm trying to focus on them. Why does The Mayo Clinic Diet seems to lump all fats together?

We don't lump all fats together — we emphasize unsaturated fats and especially monounsaturated fat (see page 28-29, Eat Healthy Fats) You're right, there is evidence they have a beneficial effect on health, so if you like olive oil and nuts, include them in your diet (just watch the number of servings!).

The Mayo Clinic Diet does not seem to count the carbs in vegetables and fruits, only whole grains. How do I know how many carbs I'm getting?

In terms of carbs, we realize you'll be getting some in vegetables and fruits — but if you follow the program your total intake will be fine. We wanted to make this simple so you don't have to worry about counting carbs. In general, foods contain a mixture of carbs, protein and fat. The foods in each of our food groups are good sources of the nutrients in that group, but may also contain other nutrients.

We designed The Mayo Clinic Diet and the Mayo Clinic Healthy Weight Pyramid to meet your needs and do it safely. We also designed it to be simple. While you may not have all the same details that other programs may use, realize that if you follow our guidelines you should do fine — don't make it too hard. Good luck!

- Don Hensrud

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Nov. 04, 2010