Ketogenic and intermittent fasting (IF) diets are two of the biggest trends in weight loss, so it’s not surprising that someone would come along to combine elements from both of them. That’s what Heather and Terry Dubrow, reality stars from The Real Housewives of Orange County and Botched, respectively, have done with their new book The Dubrow Diet: Interval Eating to Lose Weight and Feel Ageless ($17.95, Amazon). As it turns out, the book is full of advice for lowering your carb intake and eating in precise intervals. We took a closer look inside their book to see what exactly made their advice different from other IF plans.
First, the Dubrows readily admit that they understand readers might be skeptical considering Terry is a well-known plastic surgeon. Heather writes: “Why would we use diet and exercise if we don’t have to? Is there a little ‘do as I say, not as I do’ going on here?” She then assures that she and Terry are “all about” everything they explain in the book. Heather does confess that they both occasionally rely on Botox because “TV close-ups are cruel to anyone over the age of 29.” Other than that, she says that they rely on exercise, supplements, and the nutritional advice they detail in the book to maintain their weight and slow down the effects of aging. Keep reading to see a breakdown of the couple’s diet plan.
What Is the Dubrow Diet?
In the book, Terry claims to have accidentally stumbled upon the idea of fasting back while doing his surgical residency after medical school. He would often spend up to 48 hours working at hospitals and was simply too busy to think about eating three full meals a day at certain times. More recently, Terry began practicing fasting on purpose in an attempt to shed stubborn belly fat. Heather, however, was skeptical hearing the word “fasting” — but she was quickly won over not just by weight loss, but also by the way it made her skin firmer.
The diet is broken down into three phases:
- Phase One - Red-Carpet Ready: The couple refer to this as “metabolic boot camp.” They state that this shocks your body's system and resets your brain to better assess whether you’re actually hungry or not. This involves sticking to a strict 16-hour fast and 8-hour eating schedule, which they call resetting and refueling.
- Phase Two - Summer Is Coming: This phase is broken down into three separate options for fasting: slow, medium, and fast. The stages vary in how long you fast versus how long you eat, but each one involves at least 12 hours of fasting. The Dubrows detail that the difference in how long you fast can result in shedding from half a pound to four pounds a week. The stages also include a cheat moment (snack, side, or sweet), or a full cheat day.
- Phase Three - Look Hot While Living Like a Human: The book stresses that this isn’t a “quick fix” or fad diet — it’s a lifestyle change. With that in mind, Terry and Heather recommend maintaining weight loss by fasting five days a week for 12 hours, then switching to fasting for 16 hours the other two days of the week. This is how the couple eats on a regular basis now, though they return to the stricter Phase One regimen for a few days before big events.
The Dubrows include several low-carb recipes in the book as well, including cauliflower crust pizza and endive leaf tacos. The recipes do seem to allow for more complex carbs (fresh vegetables, quinoa, couscous, beans) than most traditional ketogenic diets. Apart from helping you lose weight, Heather and Terry say that their form of fasting can help “put the plastic surgeon within to work” by stimulating autophagy, a physiological process which increases the repair of damaged DNA in your body. They also include recommendations like not starting a new fast on a Monday (they’re hard enough), not letting your friends know about your diet change (they might not mean to, but they can derail the process), and adding supplements to your daily routine.
In an interview with The Feast, Heather explained how she and Terry conducted their own study before publishing the book. They asked 100 people to follow their diet for six months and tracked their progress. “The average weight loss was 48 pounds… 98 percent said this is the best lifestyle change they’ve ever made.” Heather also said that one participant was able to sit comfortably in a restaurant booth for the first time in 15 years after just a few weeks on the diet.
Of course, the Dubrows’ study wasn’t conducted by an impartial group of scientists, so it might need to be taken with a grain of salt. That’s not to say it won’t help those looking to drop pounds — there is promising research, like a July 2018 study published in Cureus Journal of Medical Science that claimed “intermittent fasting was effective for short-term weight loss among normal weight, overweight and obese people.” More studies are still being conducted to know whether this type of fasting is a healthy choice. If you decide to try this or other IF diets, just make sure to talk with your personal doctor before making any drastic changes to the way you eat.