Debunking the "reset diet"

Promising immediate results and weight loss through a low-calorie, this 15-day diet focuses on eliminating and reintroducing foods. But does it really work?

You may be familiar with the reset diet from its celebrity fans. This year, Jessica Simpson took to Instagram to show her dramatic weight loss results with the help of Harley Pasternak and the Body Reset Diet. But with all things celebrity, we’re inclined to at least question its validity.


In this article, we break down the fundamentals of the Body Reset Diet, what you can and can’t eat, whether it delivers long-lasting results, and why we don’t recommend it. 


Before we go any further, we’d like to just say that we aren’t big fans of the notion of a restrictive diet – and this one’s mighty restrictive.


Let’s do this. 


What is the Body Reset Diet?


The Body Reset Diet plan consists of three phases: 


  1. 0-5 days - in the first phase, you have three smoothies and two snacks daily. Walk at least 10,000 steps every day. 

  2. 6-10 days - the second phase involves drinking two smoothies and one solid non-blended meal daily. Walk at least 10,000 steps each day and complete a five-minute home fitness workout three times per week. 

  3. 11-15 days - in the third and final phase, you drink one smoothie and eat two solid non-blended meals per day. Walk a minimum of 10,000 daily steps and complete a strengthening routine five times weekly. 


Celebrity fitness trainer Harley Pasternak’s book “The Body Reset Diet: Power Your Metabolism, Blast Fat, and Shed Pounds in Just 15 Days” lays out the full plan. The idea is that you're supposed to follow specific recipes from the book. The low-calorie diet aims to deliver rapid weight loss in a short time to kickstart a weight loss journey. The diet relies heavily on smoothies and simple meals. 


Smoothies make up a big part of the diet, so you might think we’d be on board. However, we view kencko smoothies as something to be added to your routine, not something to replace a full meal.


There are lots of smoothie recipes in Pasternak’s book, but in general, they include the following: 


  • Liquid base - dairy or non-dairy milk, or water 

  • Protein - powder or plain non-fat Greek yogurt 

  • Healthy fats - nuts, seeds, or avocado 

  • High fiber carbs - fruits and vegetables 


The snacks that you can eat are also specific. They include foods like low-fat popcorn, celery sticks and almond butter, and pear with sliced turkey. All snacks have guidelines around nutritional content and calories. A snack should be roughly 150 calories with at least 5 grams of fiber and protein and less than 10 grams sugar. 


Phase two begins to introduce meals. Again, you can find the meal recipes in the book. Meals include a range of dishes like sandwiches, soup, salads, stir-fries, and other quick yet simple meals. 


The other key part of the reset diet is exercise. A minimum of 10,000 daily steps are a must throughout the whole diet plan. As you head into phases two and three, it introduces light workouts alongside the daily steps. The workouts then increase as the days continue. 


Once you hit day 15, Pasternak offers “rest of your life” advice. He encourages eating five times a day: one smoothie, two snacks, and two solid meals with two splurge meals per week. Continue with 10,000 daily steps and short resistance training sessions five days per week. 


Foods that are restricted on the reset diet


The Body Reset Diet includes a set plan. There isn’t much room for flexibility. The eating plan has a specific list of foods to avoid during the first 15 days of the diet, including: 


  • Alcohol 

  • Full-fat dairy (milk, cheese, and yogurt) 

  • Overly processed or fried foods 

  • White bread, pasta, and refined grains

  • Soda and sugary drinks 

  • Sweetened coffee beverages 

  • Egg yolks 


The restricted foods include those that are high in calories. 


The Body Reset Diet is black and white. There’s no eating some not-as-healthy foods in moderation. You simply don’t eat the foods on this list for the 15-day eating plan. Once you finish the plan, you can have a couple of splurge days, including these foods and alcohol. 


What are the downsides?

While we are all about healthy eating and exercise, there are downsides to the Body Reset Diet. We don’t believe that there is such a thing as a one-size-fits-all diet for every person. The problem with rapid results is that they can be difficult to sustain long-term. You tend to gain back what you lost, and often more. And it’s not good for your overall health for your weight to fluctuate a ton. There’s not enough time to adopt those healthy habits that will result in long-term change. 


Let’s start by saying the book was first published in 2013. So, some of the advice can seem a little dated compared to what we know now. The plan encourages fat-free and low-fat foods, and even eggs without yolks. Now, prevailing wisdom would look at high-quality fat rather than lumping all fats into total fat content, whether it’s good or bad. 



While there are vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free, and dairy-free recipes, finding them is not straightforward. You have to wade through all of the recipes to find them or adjust the recipe to your dietary requirements. For instance, if you swap the chicken broth for vegetable broth, you can make some of the soups plant-based. 


Another element of the plan that’s not ideal is that you have to count calories or track. Many people find that counting calories is stressful or takes up a lot of time. And this sort of method can lead to an unhealthy relationship to food. 


Overall, is it a healthy choice?


At the surface, the reset diet focuses on moving your body and focusing on healthier foods. That’s tough to disagree with. But its approach isn’t something we condone. More exercise and fewer calories will likely shed pounds. But no supporting data says rapid weight loss in a short space of time prepares your body for sustained weight loss in the long term. It’s also important to understand that rapid weight loss is not a long-term solution. Plus, it’s difficult to believe that changing your diet – even in an extreme way – for 15 days will have a huge lasting effect. 


The Body Reset Diet is similar to other smoothie-only diets and will likely result in weight loss. The problem is that it doesn’t hit most guidelines for a nutritious and balanced diet. 


The USDA states that we should be eating a variety of nutrient-dense whole foods like: 


  • Whole fruits and veggies 

  • Lean protein 

  • Low-fat dairy 

  • Legumes 

  • Healthy fats 


If we consume a liquid diet, we lose out on nutrients from whole foods in those larger quantities that our bodies need. If possible, we should eat nutrients from foods, including lean protein sources, not just protein powder. 


When we take a look at the calorie guidelines for the reset diet, it sets a limit of 1,200 calories for the first phase. When you think that we should eat roughly 2,000 calories to maintain weight and 1,500 calories for weight loss, it’s low on calories and nutrition. That’s not great. How many calories your body needs depends on factors like age, sex, weight, and physical activity level, and there’s no wiggle room in the Body Reset Diet.  


An alternative? 


While the Body Reset Diet includes fundamentals that support a healthy lifestyle, it does fall short in some areas. Although a restrictive diet may not be ideal, there’s always an alternative way to get on a healthy flow, be more consistent, and still see results. 


It’s not surprising to hear that we love smoothies, fruit, and vegetables. While these can be great for our health, they shouldn’t be the sole focus. Nutrient-rich smoothies, fresh fruit, and veggies are an excellent addition to a healthy diet, but our bodies also need carbs, protein, and healthy fats. 


Research shows that regular exercise and a balanced diet are crucial for overall health. Regular exercise and a healthy diet support heart health, build muscle and boost mental health. 


Ultimately, there’s no need to follow a super restrictive diet that leaves you feeling nothing but hangry. Instead, think about small changes you can make to your diet and lifestyle that you can actually maintain. 


You don’t need to make all these changes at once. It could be as simple as taking the stairs instead of the elevator. Find something you love to do that makes you move more like gardening, hiking, or tennis. Try adding our smoothies to your morning routine or kencko bowls so you can still eat healthy foods when you’re short on time. 


Sometimes making massive changes and cutting out loads of food groups feels overwhelming. That’s because it is. Food should be enjoyable and exciting. Good nutrition and regular exercise set the foundation for overall health, which can look different for everyone. Remember that small steps add up to big change.


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