McDougall Review

Editor's Review: 3.0 / 5.0

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Many people who are trying to lose weight, have been trying for years. This leads to yo-yo dieting and results in trying numerous programs. Most programs and products claim to offer quick or easy results. The McDougall program is different in that the results are seen over the long term and the program is up front in saying lifestyle changes must be made in order for the weight loss to continue past the initial program timetable and for those results to be permanent.


The McDougall program was created by Dr. John A. McDougall. While he now offers several products, including diet and health books, the primary weight loss program is actually a ten-day residential retreat in California. Dr. McDougall has been helping patients with weight loss for thirty years and through his residential program for the past twenty years.


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While there are now a variety of retreat options, all of which are less than ten days, we shall discuss the original ten day plan. The rates for a resident range from $4,160 for those who wish to share a room to $4,760 for guests who wish to stay in a room by themselves. The first day, residents have lab work done to create a health baseline. The nutritional focus is on vegetarian cuisine that is low in fat and high in fiber. This results in a nonrestrictive eating environment. The primary goal is education during the program and classes on nutrition, exercise, and cooking abound. Before leaving participants receive a follow up visit with Dr. McDougal.


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  • The program does not require medication or supplements.
  • The program gives participants nutrition and exercise information
  • There are numerous testimonials on the website.




  • Very costly.
  • The program itself is short term.
  • Travel required for those who do not live in the immediate area of the clinic.
  • Little help with long term follow through, other than advice offered in various books that must be purchased separately.
  • The program is vegetarian, which may be difficult for some dieters.




The science and principles behind the McDougall program are solid. However, there are several serious drawbacks for the average person trying to lose weight. To begin, the program is one of the most expensive diet programs we have reviewed. Especially considering the price of almost $5,000 only covers a ten-day retreat and does not include travel. The retreat is offered only in one area of California, which means the total cost could increase substantially when travel costs are included. After the retreat ends, dieters do have access to support, but again at a great distance. Finally, it will be a complete and total lifestyle change for most participants, as the program is vegetarian. This make it difficult for participants to continue in an unsupervised environment.

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4 User Reviews about McDougall

  • 1

    At first glance, the program does seem very expensive. However, look more closely. All the information you need is offered in a free version at the website.


  • 2
    Tama Alexander

    would like Dr. Mcdouagall news letter


  • 3
    Mary Jo Anderson

    I went to this program (10 day)in St.Helena,Ca. several years back and it was very successful.Though the years I have gotten off track is there any get back on track program that is offed for the mcdougall program..


  • 4

    I am planing on joining you at the end/first part of the year, is their anything I can be doing now to improve my succuss in your program. I am a Insurance adjuster, this is my first year, an I’m 63 yrs old. I have felt great most of my life, until I was laid off 2.5 yrs ago. Since than I’ve put on about 55#’s. I was a vegitairen for almost 16 yrs, an stopped about 10 yrs ago. I want to get back to full of energy, an nothing can stop me attetude. I still look in my late 40′s early 50′s, an, I know life can be great. Most of my money will be made in the hurrican season, helping others get their live back on track after a disaster. I want to get started TODAY, for when I make it there I’ll have a good start. Sorry, I’m long winded.

    Be Blessed
    Reg Carson
    5060 Everett St.
    Cocoa, Fl. 32927