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Dr. Phil's 20/20 Diet

Dr. Phil's 20/20 Diet Review (UPDATED 2023): Don't Buy Before You Read This!

Dr. Phil's newest prescription could turn your weight loss vision into reality.

Top Rated Diets of 2023
What is it?

Dr. Phil’s 20/20 Diet is a weight loss diet offering food and dieting tips, as well as claimed results for those who have found it impossible to lose weight. The diet suggests 20 different foods which are said to help increase calorie burning.

The diet also is emphasized to be a scientific way to lose weight. It promises behavioral, cognitive, and behavioral tools. It’s claimed to have been formulated using cutting edge science for weight loss. This review will go over customer reviews, what pros and cons the diet has, and whether or not weight loss is likely. The top rated diet was awarded to 18Shake Diet. It offers a potent metabolism booster and all natural meal replacement that users say helps with weight loss. Learn more about the 18Shake diet by following the link provided here.

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Dr. Phil’s 20/20 Diet Ingredients and Side Effects

There are no supplements or pre-packaged foods on this diet. It emphasizes selecting certain foods and it provides recipes. The diet is broken down into 3 different phases:

• Phase 1 (1-5 days) “Boost”: Four different meals are allowed, within 4 hours apart. This phase is to keep your metabolism going at a steady rate. You’re also only allowed to eat a few food options, known as the 20/20 foods which are:

•        Whey powder, eggs, rye, tofu, cod, mustard, olive oil, almonds, coconut oil, green tea, dried plums, chickpeas, apples, yogurt, prunes, leafy greens, raisins, lentils, peanut butter,  and pistachios.

There’s no information to back up the claim that these specific foods can help with raising metabolism. Though these can be healthy foods, there’s no reasoning as to why these specific foods were chosen.  It’s likely most of the weight loss is due to the lack of sodium and refined carbohydrates.

         • Phase 2: (6-10 days) “Sustain”: New foods as well as the one’s on the 20/20 plan are available. Every meal and snack has to have a minimum of 2 different 20/20 foods.

The new allowed foods are:

Tuna, chicken breast, brown rice, oats, blueberries carrots, tomatoes, and mushrooms.

The eating schedule stays the same, with 4 meals a day 4 hours apart.

One or two cheat meals are allowed per week.  The foods eaten can’t have more than 100 calories per serving. The kinds of foods suggested as a possibility are a 4 ounce glass of wine or 14 potato chips. Less restrictive options for weight loss are available via the top 10 list of diets.

         • Phase 3 (11-30 days) “Attain”: The same eating schedule is maintained, alongside new foods. A sample of the foods available includes:

• Potatoes, spinach, raspberries avocado, black beans, and quinoa.

If you haven’t hit your goal weight, it’s advised to repeat the 3 phases. Once the targeted weight loss is hit, maintenance of phase 3 is followed alongside following the eating and lifestyle tips.

The registered dietician Ashvini Mashru says:

“sticking to such a rigid meal plan-not to mention that whole eating every four hours thing-may be overwhelming for some”

She also adds that:

“There are no phases or end dates to healthy eating”

According to her the diet:

“has a start/stop date… instructs you to eat super-specific foods for a super –specific period of time is a red flag”

The diet focuses a lot on helping people make lifestyle changes, but there’s no proof that it’s truly supported by real science. It also makes general claims that are already known, such as limiting processed sugars, refined grains, full fat dairy, and processed foods.

A list of the top 10 best diet plans is featured in the link provided here.

The diet also contains the myth that eating more frequently will increase metabolism.  Examine.com has debunked this by saying:

“There is no evidence to support the idea that multiple meals increases metabolic rate”

Not only was there no benefit, but by eating more foods there was actually less of an increase:

“One recently published paper actually finds the opposite”

They also add that:

“Weight gain is due to caloric intake rather than frequency”

Therefore, a big part of D.Phil.’s 20/20 Diet is not backed by science. The diet claims they have used cutting edge science to come up with this weight loss plan, but it’s clear there are some mistakes.  The top 10 list of the best diets is featured when you click here.

EDITOR’S TIP: Combine this diet with a proven meal replacement such as 18 Shake for better results.

Dr. Phil’s 20/20 Diet Quality of Ingredients

The diet focuses on whole foods which are good, but there can be difficulty in people who have to cook every single meal. It’s especially hard since there are very limited food options. As you’ll see in the “Customer Opinions of Dr. Phil’s 20/20 Diet” section, it was incredibly difficult for people to follow the diets strict standards.

Especially in the beginning, only 20 foods are allowed. This can make it hard to continue to diet. There’s also no evidence that these allowed foods are any better at raising metabolism than others.  Without any proof, there’s no good reason to believe that the diet will be safe and effective.

The Price and Quality of Dr. Phil’s 20/20 Diet

The book itself sells for $26 on sites like Amazon.com. There’s also an optional app offered. Most of the price depends on the quality of foods chosen, since the recipes have to be cooked from foods found in grocery stores.

Some followers of the diet did mention that it was expensive to have to keep making dishes based off the allowed foods.

The top 10 list of the best diets is featured when you click this link.

Business of Dr. Phil’s 20/20 Diet

The creator of the book and diet is Dr. Phil McGraw. He is not a dietician but a psychologist, and there’s no information on how he discovered the 20 foods which are recommended for raising metabolism.

The Federal Trade Commission investigated him after he began to make weight loss claims about his weight loss products. This caused him to remove some brands form the market. The same brand that he pulled off the market was targeted in a lawsuit.

Dr. Phil paid $10.5 million to settle with customers who failed to lose weight. The brand claimed:

“contain scientifically researched levels of ingredient that can help you change your behavior to take control of your weight”

These exaggerated claims were since pulled. It’s now known that there are claimed weight loss solutions from Dr. Phil which have been shown to be promoted with exaggerated and unproven claims.

See which diets were ranked in the top 10 list featured here.

EDITOR’S TIP: The top 10 list of the best diets is available here.

Customer Opinions of Dr. Phil’s 20/20 Diet

Here are some direct quotes from customer reviews:

“he doesn’t say anything any different than any of the other 100 plus so called diet/eating experts”

“This book is like a recipe for how to set yourself up for a really unhealthy relationship with food”

“Weird food combination and not very effective”

“It’s ridiculously had and requires too much effort to work in the long term”

A total of 898 people have criticized this diet on their Amazon.com page. Many said it was unrealistic; due to the food options being incredibly limited and being difficult to mix into a meal.

There were also concerns of people who felt that the diet didn’t offer any new information. Many of the suggestions and tips were obvious to people, since it excluded known unhealthy foods.

People mentioned the diet would be impossible to keep up with such a limited allowance for cheat foods, and very specific foods allowed.  Functional weight loss is possible; find the top 10 diets by clicking here.

Conclusion - Does Dr. Phil’s 20/20 Diet Work?

When deciding on a diet plan it’s important for it to be practical, customer approved, and backed by evidence. Dr. Phil’s 20/20 Diet claims to offer practical tips for weight loss, but many of these are already known. There are also suggestions which have been debunked, such as the claim that one has to eat every 4 hours to keep the metabolism going. This is not proven, and it makes the other claims seem questionable. It’s also suggested that certain foods will raise metabolism but no proof is offered. Lastly, many customers found it impossible to keep up with this diet.

The 2023 best diet of the year was found to be the 18Shake Diet. There are no dietary restrictions, and it promotes weight loss via a natural metabolism booster and high protein meal replacement. There’s only natural ingredients added, and it contains no stimulants or harsh additives. Learn more about the 18Shake Diet when you click the link here.

Many users have left testimonials and glowing reviews to showcase their weight loss results.

The 18Shake Diet’s natural diet pill and nutritionally balanced meal replacement are backed by a full 30 day money back guarantee. Returns are allowed for any reason within these 30 days. Discover more information by looking at the official website offered here.  

How Does Dr. Phil's 20/20 Diet Compare?
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User Feedback

(Page 3 of 3, 47 total comments)


I love Dr. Phil and have watched him for years! This diet while it makes sense, it sucks. I tried so hard, but cannot eat most of the recipes in the Phase 1. I hate any kind of tea, which leaves me drinking water. I don't like fish without breading or some kind of tarter sauce. The garlic, Dijon mustard combination made me want to barf! Sorry Dr. Phil, I would love to lose 40 pounds but cant on this diet. On the bright side, I have cut out my Pepsi and candy addiction, so not all is lost.

posted Nov 14th, 2015 10:07 pm

Linda C.

I loved the choice of menus and the food was easy for me to eat and enjoy. I counted the calories and carbs in each meal and wrote them beside each meal in the book. Me results in Over 20 days was: lost 5 lbs first week and absolutely 0 throughout the following weeks. I believe I fall into the chapter of weight loss resistant. Very sad and discouraging. I hate being fat while my three sisters eat without thought of food choices and are at ideal weight!

posted Nov 5th, 2015 5:54 pm


I lost 50 pounds on Dr. Phil's 2020 but I do find it boring, restrictive and labor intensive. I am therefore going back on Weight Watchers. I lost 70 pounds on WW before going to Dr. Phil's 2020.

posted Oct 31st, 2015 10:07 pm


Left a review yesterday - note it hasn't been published. I DON'T like this diet (even though I'm sticking with it as is my husband). Perhaps the problem is that I have always cooked fairly healthy - most meals from scratch, always include veggies, seldom eat out, etc. etc. We are both nauseous after the smoothies and we
are both suffering with constipation. Drinking lots of water, eating prunes and raisins, rye crackers - theoretically lots of fibre. For some reason, the "scientific" thermogenic combinations of foods are working for us. We're losing weight but... that could be because we're eating the minimal amount of food possible. Definitely won't be doing this diet again and I definitely wouldn't be able to, in good conscience, recommend it.

posted Oct 30th, 2015 5:49 pm


On Day 4 - Some of these foods actually make me gag, especially unseasoned. fish. And almost all the smoothies make my husband nauseous. The only thing we can eat without quitting the diet is rye crackers, peanut butter, spinach, raisins, nuts and prunes.

posted Oct 29th, 2015 10:32 pm

Rnald Lang

My wife is diabetic, she started this diet, is having trouble with her insulin levels from using this diet, it needs more research study

posted Feb 15th, 2015 9:47 pm



3 days and going good so far.

posted Feb 12th, 2015 1:42 am


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BACKGROUNDBACKGROUND Start the Diet Now Advertisement

Dr. Phil McGraw's newest book -- released January 2015 -- reveals what he sees as the secrets for putting an end to the diet roller coaster. In this no-nonsense, get-real style that he’s known for, he addresses the top seven roadblocks to weight loss by applying the latest research and theories that have developed since his last book, “The Ultimate Weight Solution."

The best selling author and TV personality covers strategies to help readers take control of their eating and exercise, and discusses topics such as foods that increase caloric burn or amplify the feeling of fullness.

Dr. Phil dictates 20 key foods (called the 20/20 foods) which studies have shown to help enhance thermogenesis, or caloric burn, and help satiety, or the feeling of fullness.

In addition to the nutritional focus, Dr. Phil utilizes his skills in well-rounded counseling to reveal his cognitive, behavioral, environmental, and social tools to finally "turn your weight loss vision into reality."

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  • Well-rounded holistic approach to weight loss with nutrition, exercise, and mental emotional support

  • Research-based principles

  • Lots of strategies to foil previous excuses like deprivation, cravings, boredom, etc.

  • Promotes intuition and following your own personal body signals to guide dietary choices

  • Covers portion control, tips for eating out, and how to splurge mindfully

  • Available in hardback, Kindle, and audiobook

  • Rigid structure may be off-putting for some

  • Requires lots of food preparation and meal planning

  • Book reads like a novel, not easy to flip through to find references nor read more on a given topic

  • Phase I recipe choices are extremely limited

  • Language may get a little too clinical and scientific for some


Dr. Phil's 20/20 Diet is built around three phases, which work together to help your body start fresh and learn new habits of eating.

Phase 1: The 5-Day Boost

  • Helps your body reset and find new dietary balance

  • Most important phase to jump-start the rest of the program and build motivation

  • Choose your meals and snacks from a list of simple recipes created by using only the 20/20 foods

  • 4meals/snacks per day, spaced about four hours apart

Primary Goal: Tune into your body's signals and learn how to distinguish between physical hunger, habit hunger, and mind hunger using Hunger and Fullness Scale.

Phase 2: The 5-Day Sustain

  • Build off your new positive pattern of eating certain foods and certain times

  • Expand on your progress by adding new foods into the mix

  • Each meal includes at least two 20/20 foods

  • Splurge Safely: you won’t be set up to rebel

Primary Goal: Recognize flavors better because the meal plans dont rely on salt, sugar and artificial sweeteners

Phase 3: The 20-Day Sustain

  • Continue eating two 20/20 foods per meal

  • Maintain steady weight loss, and trimming inches

  • Dine out without slowing progress using strategies outlined in book for eating at restaurants

  • Discover variety: enjoy more foods and flavors to inspire healthy food preferences


Exercise is an included component of the 20/20 Diet. Chapter 10 covers extensive academic research on the different theories on exercise, the types of exercise, and studies on perceived exertion (workout intensity).

Dr. Phil encourages regular physical activity, but is also very clear in promoting whatever amount of time fits into your schedule. He recommends shorter workouts to blast the system and boost metabolism as opposed to long, drawn-out cardio sessions. This is called his 30-Second Burn Burst Exercise Program.

Choose an activity that you enjoy like brisk walking, slow jogging, dancing, jumping jacks, etc. and after your warm up begin a 30-second blast of high intensity movements. Repeat 8 times and work up to 10-12 times over the program.

During Phase 1, Dr. Phil advises to get clearance from a doctor to exercise, and then if you can begin the 30-Second Burn Burst program. If you're not ready, use phase one to start increasing your steps per day and build up to start the program in phase 2.


Overall, Dr. Phil has created a multi-faceted approach to weight loss in a very no-nonsense, tough-love kind of way that is characteristic of him. There is a lot of good information about other factors to weight loss besides nutrition and exercise, such as tuning in to your own body signals of cravings, fullness, habits, environment, and mental/emotional support. This is what makes his 20/20 Diet approach stand out from many others.

Including more “20/20” foods overall would be beneficial for anyone, whether they are on a weight loss journey or not.

Common MisspellingsCommon Misspellings

Doctor Phil 20/20 Diet, 2020 Diet, Twenty Twenty Diet, Dr. Phil 20 Diet

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