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The McDougall Program for Maximum Weight Loss

4.18  ·  Rating Details ·  338 Ratings  ·  28 Reviews
Lose weight, eat as much as you want, feel healthy, and look great. This may sound like an impossible dream, but with The McDougall Program for Maximum Weight Loss it is a dream come true for thousands of people. In this groundbreaking book, Dr. John A McDougall draws on the latest scientific and medical evidence about nutrition, metabolism, and hunger to provide a simple ...more
Paperback, 336 pages
Published April 1st 1995 by Plume (first published April 1st 1994)
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115th out of 235 books — 330 voters
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Plant-Strong Reading List!
19th out of 31 books — 8 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Rayla SunGazer
Dec 27, 2012 Rayla SunGazer rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Great Book for healthy weight loss. EASY to do and truly INEXPENSIVE !!! I did this on food stamps. I lost 92 pounds so far.
Jan 05, 2009 Jeanette rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: vegans, people interested in losing weight or just eating healthier
Recommended to Jeanette by: Dr. Lunsk
when i told my doctor i was lookng for vegan receipes he suggested i read Dr. McDougall's books since his program is vegan based (and so much more!) I wasn't planning on reading the actual book, but figured I would, and i actually really liked it, though it's a bit outdated. i've decided to try his program (vegan, no oils, avocados, nuts, olives, processed foods, etc.) for two weeks and see how i like it. (so far, love it!!! i fell a ton better- since all i was eating was vegan crap) and i love ...more
Apr 24, 2015 Janet rated it really liked it
I wish I had known about Dr. McDougall's plan many years ago. I would have lost weight and probably not had to have my gallbladder removed. It's a lot of work to prepare continually interesting meals but it is so worth it for the weight loss and general feeling of wellness. If you have not been able to lose weight and don't want to be hungry, this is the answer.
Todd Luallen
May 19, 2015 Todd Luallen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

A great book that answers many questions that I've had for years. If you're dieting and wondering why you can't keep the weight off, or you're on a plant based diet and can't seem to hit your goal weight, this is the book to read.
Allyson Faith
Apr 10, 2009 Allyson Faith rated it liked it
Too complicated! I am doing Weight Watchers but making some of his veggie dishes, which aren't too hard when done once in awhile. Otherwise, I'd be chopping vegetables all day!
Margaret Locke
Jan 28, 2008 Margaret Locke rated it liked it
Another major contributor to the few or no animal products for better health mantra. Also a good program, not as strict as Fuhrman, but really anti-fat. Wonder how sustainable it might be?
Feb 11, 2014 Lydel rated it really liked it
Shelves: on-going
His emphasis is a starch-based diet. The recipes are great!
Jim Engle
Jul 15, 2013 Jim Engle rated it it was amazing
Apr 06, 2016 Lindsey rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone who can't get weight off no matter what they do
Thank God I found this book. I was having a hard time losing just one pound in a month, despite having over 100 pounds to lose. Over the past 2 months, I have lost 16 by eating mostly potatoes, some air-popped popcorn, a bit of brown rice, a bit of fruit, a bit of nonstarchy vegetables, and fat-free condiments (like ketchup, mustards, bbq sauce)! While the Starch Solution is great for health and weight maintenance and weight loss for some, others of us (especially older women and those with ...more
May 12, 2016 Paula rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Dieters, Heart Disease Patients, Diabetics
Dr. McDougall has outlined a healthy diet that is guaranteed to make you slimmer. I have read several books by the various doctors who recommend a whole foods, plant-based diet. Each one has their separate quirks, but are largely recommending the same things. Dr. McDougall insists on calling his diet a Starch based diet, instead of plant based. Though, of course, starchy foods are all plant based, his word is an accurate representation of his diet. Like Dr. Esselstyn, he recommends that we avoid ...more
Jun 01, 2009 Alicia rated it did not like it
Shelves: nonfiction, cookbooks
Don't waste your time.

This book is stupid. I read this book primarily because I heard it had low calorie recipes in a cookbook section in the back. When I read some of the recipes I was dumbfounded. The "Cold Cereal Breakfast" recipe: 1 c cold cereal, nonfat soy or rice milk, 1/4 c fruit optional. That's not a recipe! Furthermore, what kind of idiot doesn't already know that? They wouldn't be reading this book at all if they couldn't even figure out how to make cereal.

Before you think this is a
Oct 07, 2015 Lisa rated it it was amazing
Great general information on why people don't lose weight on the western diet. Although, I didn't read this book for losing weight, it does provide the best lifestyle change for people looking to lose weight. I personally follow the vegan diet he lays out, with a few tweaks so I don't shed weight haha (because this book will literally shed the weight off you! Any vegan diet will ;) ) As long as you don't eat junk food of course, because a lot of junk food is considered vegan, but it's still ...more
When working to come up with McDougall options for a restaurant menu, I had to read a couple of his books. I don't doubt the diet works, but I do doubt whether life is worth living on such a restricted regimen. (Only half-joking.)

The book is pretty easy to comprehend, though. The "recipes" in the back aren't really recipes; they're more like menu suggestions.
Mar 19, 2016 Jonathan rated it it was ok
A solid and simple approach to weight loss that is bogged down by somewhat irrelevant chapters, outdated science and specious reasoning. Then again, this book is more than twenty years old now and I read it out of curiosity. Although the Starch Solution has plenty of issues of its own, that book does a better job of explaining the diet. To be clear: the diet = good, the book = not so much.
Marina Roussou
Mar 07, 2016 Marina Roussou rated it it was amazing
this book is really good.. i am a fan of Dr. Joel Fuhrman, and I also incorporate McDougall advise and nutritional guidelines. I alternate between these 2 books..
plant based foods are the future..
An easy to read novel about nutritional theory from John McDougall, who recommend a starch-centred diet. I found the read interesting and enjoyable, and through applying the principles that he outlines, have lost 8kg.
Aug 04, 2011 Misty added it
Yummy and effective. But watch out for all the criticism you will get from everyone you know if you let it be known that you are following this food plan. Our culture is centered and revolving in a downward spiral around crappy food.
Silvia Lima
May 15, 2016 Silvia Lima rated it really liked it
I follow this lifestyle and doctor McDougall's teachings. The book is kinda old, so I needed this to be updated a bit. And maybe some pictures to go long with the recipes... But nonetheless I still take this as a 'bible' to follow, inspire, love and live! :)
Sep 12, 2011 Aubree rated it really liked it
Hardcore, but totally makes sense. Would have to find other recipes. These are not working for me. But I've found ways to adapt it that work.
Apr 12, 2014 Robin added it
Very clear and helpful information about starting out on a plant-based lifestyle. Easy and practical recipes, too.
Nov 16, 2011 Nina rated it it was ok
Shelves: cookbooks, food, health
I can't commit to an oil-free diet! It's hard to let go of the idea for some reason, but there you have it. Also, I don't want to NEVER eat cheese again, even if it's addictive.
Jan 09, 2016 Deanna rated it really liked it
This is a little dated, and some of the statements have been overturned by more recent research, but the basic principles are still intact. Eat plants, not animals, for the best health.
Sara Gottermeier
Sara Gottermeier rated it really liked it
Oct 27, 2013
Kathy Lonquist
Kathy Lonquist rated it liked it
Sep 12, 2009
Natalie Park
Natalie Park rated it really liked it
Oct 03, 2011
Phyllis Le chat
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May 15, 2014
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Mar 31, 2016
Cecilia Dunbar Hernandez
Cecilia Dunbar Hernandez rated it it was amazing
Jan 26, 2016
Pat Sava
Pat Sava rated it it was amazing
Aug 07, 2016
Jilly rated it it was ok
Oct 28, 2015
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John A. McDougall (Born 1947) is an American Irish physician and author whose philosophy is that degenerative disease can be prevented and treated with a low-fat, whole foods, plant-based/vegan diet – especially one based on starches such as potatoes, rice, and corn – which excludes all animal foods and added vegetable oils.
More about John A. McDougall...

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“Our dependence on smell is revealed every time we have a cold; once the nose becomes stuffed up, we lose the capacity to taste anything, simply because we cannot smell it.” 0 likes
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