What Is the Digest Diet?

Updated: Feb. 25, 2021

Editor Liz Vaccariello reveals the breakthrough science behind the Digest Diet and its healthy weight-loss plan.

Why I Wrote this Book
Raise your hand if you resolve to lose weight each New Year—or spring, or summer, or fall—but fall back into bad habits soon after. When I became Editor in Chief of Reader’s Digest, I resolved to use this magazine’s legacy of curating and condensing content to simplify weight loss for you, to allow you to focus on the essential weight loss advice that really works.

So I sent the staff on an odyssey to analyze decades’ worth of weight-loss studies, reviewing cutting-edge nutrition advances and filtering out gimmicks and fads. We discovered new reasons fat creeps on—and reliable ways to release it, so you lose weight more easily. That’s how we created the book The Digest Diet.

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At its heart, the Digest Diet is a plan about food—the healthy, natural foods shown to help you shed fat and promote weight loss. To prove the effectiveness of the Digest Diet, we put a dozen men and women with different weight-loss goals on the plan. Their amazing results will inspire you: Together, the 12 panelists lost 151 pounds in three weeks! Watch their excitement at reaching day 21 of the Digest Diet and seeing real results.

Buy the book The Digest Diet: Exclusive offer only at DigestDiet.com »

How the Digest Diet Works
One of the most fascinating lessons I learned while researching the book: Not all calories are created equal when it comes to losing weight and curbing cravings. From calcium to vitamin C, there are 13 fat releasing foods that seem to have a special ability to thwart your body’s desire to hold on to fat, helping you lose weight quickly and without feeling hungry. We’ve named them “fat releasers” and assembled them into a simple, effective 21-day plan that will help you drop pounds quickly and safely.

Learn more about the 13 fat releasing foods »

Our book unveils groundbreaking science on these newly identified fat-burning foods and nutrients, then puts it all together in a way to shift your body into weight-loss mode. The Digest Diet’s daily menus and recipes are loaded with these key fat releasers to help you meet the daily recommended intake. Here’s how the plan works.

Phase 1: Days 1 to 4
Fat Release: Flood your body with nutrition

As week one begins, you’ll fill up on homemade shakes and hearty soups that are rich in vitamins, minerals, and protein to gently coax your body into quick, safe weight loss. And each day you can munch on a crunchy snack loaded with the fat releasers vitamin C, calcium, and fiber.

Phase 2: Days 5 to 14
Fade Away: Go lean and green

That’s the theme of this 10-day phase in which you’ll continue to rack up steady weight loss while enjoying a Mediterranean-style diet rich in lean protein, healthy fats (MUFAs and PUFAs), and a bounty of vegetables. You’ll have two fat releasing snacks to keep hunger at bay. Every night, you get to sip a glass of red wine or savor a handful of grapes for dessert.

Phase 3: Days 15 to 21
Finish Strong: Eat a balanced diet for life

That’s what phase 3 teaches you as you choose from a wider variety of family-friendly meals (such as pizza, pasta, and roast chicken) while eating appropriate portions of carbs, proteins, and healthy fats. And of course, every meal will contain a number of nutritious, fat releasing foods. This phase helps you reach your weight-loss goal as well as maintain what you’ve lost.

Buy the book The Digest Diet: Exclusive offer only at DigestDiet.com »

Meet the Panelists

We tested the Digest Diet and its yummy recipes on a panel of people just like you. Watch their weight-loss success stories, see their transforming before-and-after photos, and hear how the Digest Diet changed their lives. You’ll be personally inspired by:

• Former athlete Adrienne, who lost 18 pounds in 21 days
• Working student Christina, who boosted her energy—and ditched her knee pain
• Family man Joe, who shed 26 pounds in 21 days
• Forty-something Diane, who dropped dress sizes while gaining confidence
• New-dad Wayne, who learned to right-size portions
• Single mom Sabrina, who kicked her junk-food habit
• and more!

Our test team’s success reminded us that excellent nutrition leads to good health, the foundation for a great life. When you feel good, it’s much easier to wring as much joy as possible out of every day. Feeling that joy makes it harder for your body to return to your fat creep habits. That’s when healthy behaviors become automatic, hardwired into your body and soul—my sincere wish for you.

Buy the book The Digest Diet: Exclusive offer only at DigestDiet.com »

Reader's Digest
Originally Published in Reader's Digest