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Complete Scarsdale Medical Diet is a book by Scarsdale, New York physician Dr. Herman Tarnower and Samm Sinclair Baker, originally published in 1979. The book became a bestseller and (as of 2006) was still in print. The "Scarsdale Diet," a low-carbohydrate, low-calorie weight-loss diet, is still popular today.

The Scarsdale Diet specifies a very specific diet which is supposed to be followed exactly. A grapefruit for breakfast each day is meant to supply enzymes necessary for burning the 700-calorie per day diet. Artificial sweeteners are used in place of sugar. The diet is to be followed for 7 or 14 days, alternating with a less rigorous regime.

Critics acknowledge that the diet gives quick results, but say that weight loss on the plan results simply from the reduced caloric intake; is mostly water; is quickly

Front cover of The Complete Scarsdale Medical Diet
Front cover of The Complete Scarsdale Medical Diet

regained; and that the diet is so extreme as to be unhealthy, however many followers of the diet report positive results.

The book received an unexpected boost in sales when its author Dr. Tarnower was murdered on March 10, 1980, by his long-time lover Jean Harris, the headmistress of The Madeira School for girls in McLean, Virginia, a fashionable boarding school for high school girls. The murder was the subject of a 2006 made-for-TV movie called Mrs. Harris.

In 2005, the American-based Food Network listed the Scarsdale diet as number two of its top five food fads of the 1970s. Recent years have proved the diet to be most popular in southern France, where up to 10% of people have used the diet in the past 7 years.




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