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Dr. Nowzaradan’s 1200 Calorie Diet Plan
Everything You Need to Know

Isaac Robertson
Published by Isaac Robertson
Fact checked by Donald Christman, BHSc FACT CHECKED
Last updated: August 16, 2021

Dr. Nowzaradan rose to fame on the show My 600 lb life, but the no-nonsense doctor is far from a miracle worker.

Dr. Now's diet plan is a strict 1200 calorie diet plan that patients must follow before performing any weight loss surgery.

But can anyone follow this highly effective meal plan on their weight loss journey? Read on to find out.

Who Is The Dr. Nowzaradan Diet For?

man with huge stomach using a measuring tape on it

If you've seen the TLC show My 600 lb Life, then you'll know that typically the Dr. Nozaradan diet plan is only really for those who are looking to pursue bariatric surgery.

It's a diet plan meant to lose weight and start to establish healthy eating habits that will continue after the surgery.

Many think that the 1200 calorie diet plan is in part a test that Dr. Now uses to test the commitment of some of his morbidly obese patients.

It is not the ideal diet plan for anyone who isn't morbidly obese to lose weight quickly.

Can The Dr. Nowzaradan Diet Help You Lose Weight?

doctor nowzaradan in a hospital shrugging

Yes, but specifically for those needing surgery.

The Dr. Nowzaradan Diet is a strict and specialized diet explicitly built for each of his patients.

Dr. Nowzaradan's 12000 calorie diet plan focuses on teaching healthy habits and building a better food relationship.

It can help patients lose weight as a requirement for the surgery and teach them how to keep it off going forward.

What Foods Are Banned On The Dr. Nowzaradan Diet?

bowl filled with candies, close up image of a woman grabbing popcorn from a bowl

There is a relatively long list of strict no’s on Dr. Nowzaradan's 1200 calorie diet plan.

Some are pretty obvious, while others may surprise you. Many of the banned foods are what he refers to as trigger foods, so they're avoided to avoid spirals or binging.

Take a look at Dr. Now's list of banned foods and see how some of these might be hurting your progress.

  • Sugar
  • Artificial Sweeteners
  • Candy
  • Dessert (Pie, Cake, Brownies, Cookies, Donuts, Etc...)
  • Frozen Yogurt
  • Ice Cream
  • Chocolate
  • Fruit With High Sugar Content (Watermelon, Cantaloupe, Mangoes, Grapes, Cherries, Pears, Figs, Bananas)
  • Jellies
  • Jams
  • Dried Fruit
  • Candied Fruit
  • Crackers
  • Chips
  • Potatoes
  • Popcorn
  • Nuts
  • Rice (Both White and Brown)
  • Pasta (Both White And Brown)
  • Bread
  • Cereal
  • Honey
  • Syrup
  • Molasses
  • Meal Supplements/Shakes
  • Soda
  • Juice
  • Sports Drinks
  • Energy Drinks
  • Alcohol

What Foods Are Allowed On The Dr. Nowzaradan Diet?

bowl of greek yogurt

While the list of foods you can't eat is pretty extensive and strict, the yes list is a little more open. The diet is low carb, low fat, no sugar.

Recommended breakfast items include portion-controlled low-fat cottage cheese, plain greek yogurt, oatmeal, egg whites, turkey sausage, beans, or whole wheat bread.

Dinner and lunch will include a healthy mix of foods like starchy vegetables, salads without dressing, deli meats, baked, broiled, grilled lean protein, or canned tuna.

The Importance Of Pre Surgery Weight Loss

close up image of a person getting injected

Surgery always comes with an inherent risk. This risk is much higher when the patient is morbidly obese.

Dr. Now's 1200 calorie diet is designed as both proofs of the patient's commitment to turning their life around and every pound shed on the diet lessening their risk on the operating table.

The 1200 calories diet is a high protein focusing on portion control and eating whole and natural foods.

This is owing to Dr. Now's belief that a lot of obesity is due to the pre-packaged processed foods prevalent in the modern supermarket.

Weight Loss Tips

Dr. Now's diet recommends losing weight by trying to eliminate snacking from your daily routine.

Research has shown that eating frequently can lead to high blood sugar content and weight retained around the waist. [1]

By focusing on three square meals with appropriate portion control, the 1200 calories diet builds habits to keep the weight off.

1200 calories are significantly less than what most people are used to eating in a day.

This deficit proves dedication to weight loss and a strong base for losing weight before the surgery. The diet plan is made possible by the recommended meals' high protein content helping patients feel fuller for longer. [2]

Other diets:

Sample Menu

close up image of an opened poached egg, woman touching her cup of coffee

Now we know what the Dr. Nowzaradan eating plan is and who it's for. Let's look at what we know about what the patients on this diet might be eating.

As we mentioned above, Dr. Now recommends against snacking, and so if possible, most users should eliminate that section.


  • An egg white boiled or poached (not fried): 105 calories
  • A couple of ounces of Turkey sausage boiled or microwaved (not fried): 130 calories
  • A single slice of whole-wheat toast: 90 calories
  • Low-fat cottage cheese: 90 calories
  • Black coffee (unsweetened)

Total breakfast calorie count: 405


close up image of spinach leaves
  • A couple of cups of spinach: 40 calories
  • A can of tuna in water: 200 calories
  • A couple of carrots: 60 calories
  • A teaspoon of light mayo: 50 calories
  • Tea (unsweetened)

Total lunch calorie count: 350


close up image of broccoli in a basket
  • A couple of cups of steamed broccoli: 100 calories
  • 3 ounces of grilled chicken: 130 calories
  • An ounce or less of low-fat cheddar cheese: 50 calories
  • Tea (unsweetened)

Total dinner calorie count: 280


  • A slice of low-fat Swiss cheese: 60 calories
  • A couple of pieces of turkey breast: 75 calories

Total snack calorie count: 135

Total daily calorie count: 1170

Is The Dr. Nowzaradan 1,200 Calorie Diet For You?

Unless you are morbidly obese and considering lap band system surgery or similar drastic measures, I don't think the Dr. Nowzardan eating plan would be right for you.

That said, you can pick up some valuable tips to apply to your healthy lifestyle plan.

Prime examples of easy and noticeable changes to make would be using greek yogurt instead of sweetened because eliminating sugar can help wean you off junk food cravings.

He also has a flat ban on potatoes because it acts almost like a trigger for the more problematic foods or behaviors.

This is a strict diet, but it's also important to note that it is highly individualized and tailored to each dieter.

This is why you can't find hard guidelines for the eating plan online.

Because it isn't a one glove fits all type deal, the only way you could get a similar program is through a nutritionist of your own.

Are there any tips from the Dr. Now diet that have worked for you?

Let us know in the comments below.



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2 thoughts on “Dr. Nowzaradan’s 1200 Calorie Diet Plan
Everything You Need to Know

  1. I like his method. Dr. Nowzaradan’s pre-op diet is awesome and is an inspiration to many!

  2. I do a 1200 calorie per day diet that I made for myself. I’m down 60+ pounds so far from 303lbs to 240lbs and still going. But Dr. Nowzaradan’s diet plan menu is definitely helpful.

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