Years ago, Virginia-based natural health expert Eric Berg, DC, had a few patients who weren’t getting results on the Keto Diet — a popular, very-low-carb plan — that was effective for almost everyone else. “Those three people kept me awake at night,” he recalls. “They drove me to look at new research, new theories and try many things that failed. But, eventually, I found a strategy that helped them — one I still use today.”
Dr. Berg says it’s the fastest way to lose weight without exercise. He’s got nearly a million YouTube followers and an army of success stories — many of them pre- and post-menopausal women — backing him up.
"I can help an average woman lose five to 10 pounds within nine days," he promises. He's even seen losses of up to 22 pounds in nine days. His secret: Dr. Berg amps up the low-carb Keto Diet with a meal-timing trick that's proven to boost levels of human growth hormone (HGH) — your body's number-one weight loss hormone — "by 1,300 percent," he says, citing research from Intermountain Medical Center in Utah. "Maximizing your HGH is like flipping a switch that helps your body burn fat 24/7."
How much can his HGH-powered approach shrink your waist? Keep reading to find out!
What to Eat on Dr. Berg's Keto Diet
To shift the body into a special fat-burning mode called ketosis, Dr. Berg's Keto Diet keeps carbs to about 5 percent of your total calories. To then boost HGH, he also has you eliminate snacks and vary the number of meals you eat. For the first three days, enjoy an unlimited low-carb breakfast, lunch, and dinner. For the following three days, enjoy an unlimited low-carb brunch and dinner. For the final three days, dig in to an unlimited low-carb brunch and have a green smoothie for dinner. Repeat this nine-day cycle as often as you like. “The meals are delicious, and you eat as much as you need to feel content,” he says. “This is about meal timing and keeping carbs down. As far as portions go, there's no need to hold back!"
Quick Tip: Aim for several cups of leafy greens a day, "and you'll avoid nutrient shortfalls that are a big reason some low-carb dieters feel fatigued," says Dr. Berg. "It's the reason I include a green smoothie in my plan."
Why Dr. Berg's Keto Diet Works
LIke most low-carb diets, a keto diet drastically lowers levels of the body's preferred fuel — blood sugar — forcing it to burn fat for fuel instead. Dr. Berg's diet also triggers the body to produce maximum HGH by limiting how often you eat. "One of the main functions of HGH is helping the body tap into fat reserves during times when there is no food. And science shows that simply eating less often causes HGH to surge," he explains. While any technique that lengthens the time between meals will boost HGH, Dr. Berg's staggered cycle has an advantage. "An irregular eating pattern keeps your system off kilter, revving metabolism and preventing plateaus."
Bonus: HGH — which tends to decline as we age — helps build firm muscle. So while some dieters look saggy after they slim down, that doesn't happen on Dr. Berg's diet!
Another great way to lose weight fast? Eating a daily bowl of this prebiotic soup, which helps your gut bacteria burn fat more efficiently. Watch the video below to get the recipe!
Dr. Berg's Keto Diet Weight-Loss Success Stories
"I had never gone low-carb before because I couldn't even consider giving up bread, pasta, and pizza. But at 230 pounds, I felt so lousy, I was ready to try anything," recalls Jennifer Rogers, 44, a Florida mom and caregiver. Eventually, she stumbled on Dr. Berg's YouTube channel. "I steadily went from always hungry to never hungry. Now my body only wants to eat once or twice a day!" Her health has improved dramatically, with conditions from migraines and psoriasis to prediabetes disappearing. All told, she shed 80 pounds — and her husband dropped 90! Jennifer's best tip? Track your progress! "Take measurements; try on outfits and take photos to show how far you've come. It will keep you inspired!"
"Ten years ago, I starved off 35 pounds and destroyed my metabolism. Even on extreme diets, I couldn't get below 185 pounds," recalls Texas chef LeeAnne Masserang, 32. Then she tried Dr. Berg's plan. "It's like I've been poked with a pin and am slowly deflating. I've lost 30 pounds. After so much struggle, it's a dream come true!"
For Michelle Spiva, 49 — whose sugar cravings led her to regain the 45 pounds she shed on Weight Watchers — Dr. Berg's diet has also been a dream. "I lost 81 pounds and 14 inches off my waist," marvels the Georgia romance novelist. "Somehow it even helped my emotional cravings for food!"
Then there's North Carolina mom Vicki Bales-Humble. She hit a plateau using a keto diet alone and turned to Dr. Berg for help. "Going back and forth between three meals, two meals, one meal — I was amazed at how wonderful I felt. I was not at all hungry, no cravings, loads of energy, even my joint swelling went away in a week," she recalls. "I feel better at 49 than I did in my 20s!" Vicki lost 92 pounds.
Dr. Berg's Keto Diet Meal Schedule
There’s no snacking on any day, so be sure to eat enough at each sitting to hold you over.
Days 1-3: Eat three meals a day, about four hours between sittings — such as 10 a.m., 2 p.m., and 6 p.m.
Days 4-6: Eat brunch around 1 p.m. and have an early dinner around 6 p.m.
Days 7-9: Eat brunch around 2 p.m. and have a green smoothie (recipe below) for dinner no later than 6 p.m.
Dr. Berg's Keto Diet Recipes
(Photo Credit: Getty Images)
Use the meal schedule above to determine how many picks to make each day.
Option 1: Creamy Coconut Shake
In a blender, blitz:
- 3/4 cup full-fat coconut milk
- 1/4 cup whole milk
- 2 Tbsp. frozen berries
- 1/4 cup zero-carb protein powder
- 2 Tbsp. MCT oil ($16.23, Amazon) or 1/4 avocado
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- ice cubes
- a few drops of liquid stevia
Option 2: Keto Diet Breakfast
- 3 eggs, 2 Tbsp. cheese, unlimited amount of chopped veggies fried in butter
- 3 slices bacon
Option 3: Dr. Berg’s Famous Taco Salad
In a small bowl, mix:
- 1/3 mashed avocado
- 2 Tbsp. chopped tomato
- 2 Tbsp. red onion
- 1 tsp. lime juice
- 1/2 tsp. salt.
Serve with 4 oz. browned ground beef, 1/4 cup cheese, and 1/4 cup sour cream over 2 cups of lettuce.
Option 4: Cheesy Tuna Casserole
- Sauté 1 cup shredded cabbage and 1 cup chopped cauliflower in 2 Tbsp. olive oil for 5-7 minutes.
- Stir in 4 oz. drained tuna and 3 Tbsp. cream.
- Pour into small baking dish and top with 2 oz. shredded mozzarella.
- Bake at 350° F for 15-20 minutes.
- Top with 3 Tbsp. Parmesan cheese.
Option 5: Salmon Salad
- Sear 4 oz. salmon or steak in a pan.
- Serve protein on top of:
- 2 cups baby spinach
- 1/4 cup sliced peppers
- 1/4 cup red onion
- 3 oz. feta cheese
- 8 large olives
- 2 Tbsp. zero-carb dressing
Option 6: Shortcut Pizza
Top store-bought cauliflower pizza crust (such as Trader Joe’s brand) with:
- 1/2 cup no-sugar-added tomato sauce
- 3/4 cup mozzarella cheese
- 3 oz. pepperoni
- 1/2 cup sliced mushrooms
Bake according to package directions. Serves 2-3.
Option 7: Fried Chicken Tenders
- Dredge 4 oz. chicken breast tenders first in beaten egg, then in coconut flour, and last in crushed pork rinds.
- Fry in 2-3 Tbsp. safflower oil until internal temperature reaches 165° F, about 5-6 minutes.
- Enjoy with 1 serving of Parmesan Green Bean Fries (recipe below) and dipping sauce. To make the dipping sauce, mix:
- 1/4 cup mayo
- 1/4 mashed avocado
- 1/4 tsp. chili flakes
- 1 tsp. lime juice
- 1/8 tsp. garlic powder
Craveable Parmesan Green Bean Fries
Move over, zucchini and sweet potato fries! Dieters and non-dieters alike go crazy for this green-bean version (makes about four servings):
- 1 cup green beans, stems and ends removed
- 1 egg
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan
- 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
- pinch of chili powder (optional)
- salt and pepper to taste
- Pre-heat oven to 425° F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- In a shallow dish, whisk egg.
- In another dish, mix Parmesan cheese, garlic powder, chili powder, and salt and pepper.
- Dip green beans in egg, then roll in cheese mixture to coat.
- Transfer to baking sheet in a single layer.
- Bake until golden brown, about 10 minutes.
Dr. Berg's Kale Shake
- Fill a blender with frozen kale almost to the top.
- Add 1 cup of berries.
- Fill with filtered water.
- Blend for 4 minutes. Makes 1 large serving.
This story originally appeared in the March 5, 2017 issue of Woman's World magazine.