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The Harcombe Diet Review

Editor's Review: 3.5 / 5.0

What You Should Know

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The Harcombe Diet was developed by Zoe Harcombe as an alternative to calorie counting diets. The idea is that most current diets are actually causing the obesity problem, because they fight against your body instead of working with it.

Zoe Harcombe began researching for this diet when she was a student at Cambridge University and began wondering why she couldn’t stop eating when she wanted so much to be slim. The diet was developed from 20 years of research, which led her to several conclusions, including the conclusion that the calorie theory is wrong.

The Harcombe Diet appears to focus on what types of food you eat and in what combinations, rather than how much. It advocates eating natural foods as opposed to processed foods.

List of Ingredients

Not applicable; this is a diet plan, not an herbal weight loss supplement.

Product Features

The Harcombe Diet works in three phases. Phase 1 is five days long and is the quickest part of weight loss; according to the website, the record weight loss is 17 pounds, which sounds somewhat unrealistic. Phase 2 teaches three rules to help you reach your natural weight and maintain it. Phase 3 teaches you how to ‘cheat’ so that you can eat your favorite foods and still maintain your natural weight.

The diet also highlights three conditions that affect weight gain: Candida, Food Intolerance, and Hypoglycemia. These conditions are more fully explained in Ms. Harcombe’s book.

To learn all the details of this diet, the dieter must purchase Zoe Harcombe’s book, Stop Counting Calories and Start Losing Weight. There is also a cookbook, Stop Counting Calories and Start Losing Weight Recipe Book, and an additional book titled Why Do You Overeat? When All You Want Is To Be Slim.

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  • Price of the book starts at $8 online new. It is difficult to determine what the cost of cooking differently will be, however. The natural foods recommended may be expensive.
  • Does not require counting calories or eating small portions, except possibly in Phase 1, the detox phase.


  • Has some unrealistic weight loss claims.
  • Has a lack of before/after photos.
  • Has no money-back guarantee.
  • Has no free gift with purchase.
  • Does not highlight the importance of regular exercise.
  • May cause acid buildup in joints.
  • Can cause headaches in Phase 1.


The Harcombe Diet sounds like a fairly original idea, but there is not enough detail on the website to explain the diet before you purchase the book. There appears to be a good amount of research in the development of the diet, but there is not much research in testing it to prove if it really works.

The Harcombe Diet needs to present more evidence before it can be fully recommended. It is a diet plan, not an herbal weight loss supplement.

17 User Reviews About The Harcombe Diet

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  • 1

    Can you use artificial sweeteners like Stevia on this diet?


    Your Name



  • 2

    Amazing diet. Works like a dream. 1st week is hard but food cravings go. Then weight just falls off



    Thus is the only diet I have been able to stay on and ai lost 9 pounds on my first 5 days!


  • 3
    Doris phelps

    I Don’t know who exactly you are didn’t sign up for your club but somehow soone got my bank uinformation and took it upin thier self to remove money. so it would be greatly appreciated if someone would get back with ne.


  • 4

    do i have to stop drinking coffee ? Can i make an exception? (coffee in the morning with unfatty milk )?



    Nina you have to drink decaffeinated coffee and tea. Get the book “stop counting calories and start losing weight”, its well written and is a great reference point.( dont take my word for it check out the Amazon reviews) I have lost just short of 2 and a half stone since Jan this year and I feel amazing. Good luck with it


    Your Name

    I never gave up my regular coffee in the morning and still lost weight.


  • 5

    I’ve been on the diet for 4 months, went from 90kg to 75kg (target weight)by following the very simple rules. It’s definitely not cost me any more than I used to spend on food, in fact it probably saves me money. Highly recommended diet for life.


  • 6
    Mr Hutchings

    I have only done it for a week (5 Days) it couldn’t be simpler; Eat real food, nothing made by man! I have lost 8lds (4kg) in 5 days, no exercise at all! I’m now going onto phase two, which gives me even more variety of food, meats, vegetables, rice, what else is needed? Honestly I was sceptical; an auntie recommended it so i thought i would give it a go! I usually eat all day every day including crisps and chocolate before and after dinner! Not touched them in 8 days! I have tried all sorts of diets, even lost a stone going to the gym three days a week for 3 months, never kept that up so put it all back on again. The main thing about this diet is it really makes you think about what you eat. Quit smoking with Alan Carr, my life is all uphill from here!
    I feel amazing, sleeping better and waking up with a spring in my step. If i can say anything then it would be give it a go and try it, 5 days to make a difference for the rest of your life!


  • 7
    lee willcox

    I am losing a pound every 2 or 3 days.
    It’s simple easy and it really does work


  • 8

    I went on the diet in January, wasn’t a big guy but wanted to trim up for the summer. Lost 6lbs in the first week and 14lbs in 5 weeks (7kg) with hardly any exercise. Phase 1 was tough but Phase 2 is easy, never hungry. I’ve kept the weight off for 3mths now just by being careful about amount of carbs I eat with meat and also alcohol during the week. splurge on burgers, chips and alcohol on weekends and have had no trouble keeping the weight off. If nothing else once you’re done you’ve learned alot about healthy cooking and eating habits. My friend’s mum has lost 4stone (24kg) on this diet in 4 months. Highly recommend it.


  • 9

    this diet is awesome – im a big fella – i like food no doubt about it – an eat less do more diet would never work for me. This diet allows you to still eat plenty and not feel hungry, just eat right. I followed the book and lost 21 kg in just over 2 months


  • 10

    The easiest diet I have ever had to follow. A few simple guidelines to follow and you can pretty much eat what you want. I have lost 13kg in under 5 months.


  • 11
    bubbles ive

    i have bought the recipe book but i would like to get hold of a copy of the article in, I think Cosmopolitan, a year or two ago which listed meals for the first five days and which I found so easy to follow. I am going to start again so it would help a lot if i could get a copy. I have bought the recipe book but the article made it easy and, therefore, more likely I and my husband will follow. We were very pleased by the results last time but drifted away after a few months due to Christmas etc!


  • 12

    Thank you for your honest review, I’ve been asking questions about this diet to see if it met my needs and haven’t received any answers. Probably because I already have a little acid build up in my joints and someone wanted me to buy the book first… Then again, maybe not. Either way, I know now this isn’t for me, I’m disappointed but happy I found out now instead of later


  • 13
    Oscar Schmidt

    Bought the book and it works!! The best diet you can go on and also the healthiest. Highly recommended.


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