Duke Diet

Duke Diet
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The Duke Diet is a self-care plan comprised of four components: diet, fitness, behavioral strategies, and medical expertise.

The Duke Diet is an online weight-loss program based on the established Duke Diet and Fitness Center Residential Program founded in 1969 in Durham, North Carolina. While it can cost in the neighborhood of $7,000 (plus accommodations) for a month’s stay at the Duke residential program, you can buy the book and sign up online and be on your way to an average 3-pound weight loss per week. In addition to losing weight, this program is designed to improve your overall health, utilizing and integrating four components: diet, fitness, behavioral strategies, and medical expertise.

Basic Diet Tenets/Nutritional Philosophy

Touted as more of a self-care plan than a diet plan, much of what comprises the Duke Diet are common sense factors backed by guidance and information from experts in each of the four weight-loss components. The healthy diet is personalized to each participant based on their needs. You will have access to a meal planner and recipes to help you integrate foods into your lifestyle.

The fitness component encourages the use of predetermined fitness routines that can be modified. Exercise is a crucial component to weight loss and overall health and is strongly encouraged as part of the Duke Diet program. Behavioral strategies that have been proven to work and help you mentally break the barriers that led you to weight gain are the third component. In addition to access to experts, there are online forums for support and inspiration and weight loss tools available that can help keep you on track. Medical experts provide additional guidance and advice based on recent weight-loss studies and findings.

Exercise/Fitness Component

The Duke Diet has a strong fitness component and exercise is an integral element to the overall program. Regular exercise is both expected and encouraged. You can choose from pre-determined fitness plans that can be modified based on your needs, ability or lifestyle. Routines typically incorporate cardio exercise and flexibility and strength training, and sample exercise videos, as well as a full exercise library, are available to guide you through the learning stages.


The primary source of your food will be the grocery store and you will be responsible for preparing each meal. The Duke Diet offers two eating plans to choose from; the traditional Duke Diet and a Moderate Carbohydrate Plan (and you can switch between the two for variety). With both diets you will be reducing fat and carb intake, and eliminating items such as white bread, most sweets and fast foods; however, nothing is off-limits completely, but moderation, portion control and lower-calorie versions are employed.

The Duke Diet utilizes six food groups: proteins, healthy fats, healthy carbohydrates, dairy, veggies and fruits. Meal plans include 3 meals per day, as well as 1-2 snacks. The team of experts at Duke does all the meal planning, developing a daily meal plan that is based on your nutritional needs. Additionally you can learn how to customize your own plans to vary meals and utilize available local and seasonal ingredients. The web site offers over 400 healthy recipes to choose from and to keep from getting bored.

Over a period of time on the diet, you (re)learn healthy habits. Your intake of calories will be reduced and you will adjust to the requirements of the diet. This should serve you well long term, making it easier to choose healthy food options.

Ease of Use

There are four components to integrate into your life, and it may take the average person at home some time to utilize all four in a meaningful manner. You are also responsible for cooking your own meals, rather than buying commercially prepared diet foods, but the meal planning and recipe database will assist you. Overall, you should have a pretty easy time if you do your homework, read the book, and use the web site to its full extent.

Cost (per month)

Membership: minimum $20/mo, additional cost for personal coaching
Food: no increase
Other: Available on the Duke Diet site

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