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Best Life Diet®


Also listed as: Diet, Best Life
Related terms
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Related Terms
  • Best Life Diet®, Bob Greene, book, diet, diet book, hunger scale, Oprah.

  • "The Best Life Diet" is a book published in 2006 by exercise physiologist and certified personal trainer Bob Greene. The book instructs readers on a weight loss method devised by Greene that focuses on eating rituals and the modification of eating behavior over time. The diet does not purport to offer an immediate solution to the eating patterns of readers; rather, Greene encourages readers to examine their motivations for eating and gradually change their lifestyle in three phases. The popular television celebrity Oprah used this diet to lose weight, and wrote the introduction to Greene's book.
  • Rather than focusing on counting calories, the Best Life Diet® uses a "hunger scale" to help individuals decide when they should eat and when they should hold off. Along with the concept of the hunger scale, the author encourages readers to eat three meals a day and to hold off on snacking. Exercise is gradually incorporated into the individual's lifestyle as well.
  • Greene has written several other books on the subject of weight loss, including "Get With the Program!" and "Bob Greene's Total Body Makeover." The most current book is based on the weight loss trend of tailoring a diet to the consumer's needs, rather then presenting a rigid diet plan to which the reader must adhere.
  • As with all products and literature promoted by Oprah, the Best Life Diet® has become incredibly popular in the United States. Although no clinical trials have been conducted on the Best Life Diet®, Greene's official website contains testimonials as proof of the diet's efficacy. The Best Life Diet is not endorsed by any major health organization or government agency for weight loss or wellness.
  • Greene's book proposes that individuals who follow the diet outlined in this publication will achieve lifelong weight loss.

Theory / Evidence
  • Although there are no known high-quality clinical trials to evaluate the efficacy, safety, or health benefits of the Best Life Diet®, Greene's advocacy of exercise and a high fiber diet may offer some health benefits based on evidence of individual components in this diet.
  • There is extensive scientific evidence suggesting that regular exercise offers major health benefits. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the failure to exercise regularly is a significant precursor to heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and cancer. Exercising on a regular basis is one of the most inexpensive and easiest measures a person can take in order to reduce their risk and/or delay the onset of serious illnesses.
  • According to the American Dietetic Association (ADA), the average American eats only about 12-17 grams of fiber per day, far less than the recommend daily intake of 20-35 grams. The emphasis on consuming more high fiber foods in the Best Life Diet® would presumably boost the individual's intake of fiber.
  • Daily intake of 3 grams of soluble fiber from oats or 7 grams of soluble fiber from psyllium has been shown to lower blood cholesterol levels. A diet high in soluble fiber may reduce total serum cholesterol and LDL ("bad cholesterol") by as much as 15%. By forming a gel, water soluble fibers may stay in the stomach longer and help slow food absorption. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently authorized food companies to use a health claim for soluble fiber from both psyllium and oats. For example, the new claim for psyllium states, "Soluble fiber from foods with psyllium husk, as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol, may reduce the risk of heart disease."


Author information
  • This information has been edited and peer-reviewed by contributors to the Natural Standard Research Collaboration (

  1. American Dietetic Association. .
  2. Bob Greene's Best Life. .
  3. Centers for Disease Control (CDC). .
  4. Greene B. The Best Life Diet. New York: Simon and Schuster 2006.

  • The diet contained within Greene's book is divided into three phases. The phases are designed to ease the individual into adopting a healthier lifestyle by eliminating six foods, eating until only slightly full, and exercising regularly.
  • Before actually beginning the diet, individuals analyze their psychological associations with food, eating, and weight loss. This analysis hopes to address the emotional reasons underlying an individual's perceived weight problem, the motivation to lose weight, and the reasons why the individual has not been able to maintain weight loss in the past. The author contends that readers who are not fully aware of their motivations for and associations with eating will most likely not succeed in the diet, because unexamined emotions may alter the effects of the diet.
  • Phase One typically lasts four weeks or more. During this phase, the focus in on increasing the individual's metabolism by gradually increasing the amount of physical activity. Readers are encouraged to eat three meals and one snack a day, plus a multivitamin, an omega-3 supplement, and a calcium supplement at every meal, along with a glass of water. The diet encourages the cessation of drinking alcohol and eating two hours before bed. Individuals weigh themselves at the start of the diet and four weeks into Phase One. If the individual does not lose any weight, they are ready to move on to Phase Two. If individuals lose a pound or more per week, Greene recommends that they stay in Phase One for a few more weeks in order to prepare the body for aggressive weight loss.
  • On the first day of Phase Two, adherents stop consuming soda, trans fats, fried foods, products made of white flour, regular pasta, and high fat dairy foods. Phase Two is dedicated to eliminating calories by avoiding unhealthy foods. In many cases, alternatives are suggested. For instance, low fat ice cream may be substituted for regular ice cream and whole wheat bread may be substituted for white bread. In addition, individuals begin exercising more frequently. This phase also lasts a minimum of four weeks and ends when the individual achieves their target weight.
  • Phase Three begins when the individual reaches their target weight. This last phase, which is intended to last the rest of the individual's life, is a continuation of healthier eating habits and regular physical activity integrated into the lifestyle at Phase Two.

Copyright © 2011 Natural Standard (

The information in this monograph is intended for informational purposes only, and is meant to help users better understand health concerns. Information is based on review of scientific research data, historical practice patterns, and clinical experience. This information should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. Users should consult with a qualified healthcare provider for specific questions regarding therapies, diagnosis and/or health conditions, prior to making therapeutic decisions.

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