What Is the Body Reset Diet?

Body reset diet

Verywell / Debbie Burkhoff

At Verywell, we believe there is no one-size-fits-all approach to a healthy lifestyle. Successful eating plans need to be individualized and take the whole person into consideration. Prior to starting a new diet plan, consult with your healthcare provider or a registered dietitian, especially if you have an underlying health condition.

The Body Reset diet claims it will allow you to "eat more, exercise less" and still lose weight. The diet is targeted specifically at people who have already tried multiple ways to lose weight without success. The Body Reset diet might prompt some quick weight loss, thanks to its low initial calorie allotment. It also emphasizes a realistic exercise regimen. However, the short-term diet is unlikely to lead to lasting weight loss.

The Body Reset diet was developed in 2013 by Harley Pasternak, an expert in nutritional sciences and exercise physiology and the author of the 5-Factor Diet. The basis of the diet is simple: Kick-start your weight loss by eating mainly smoothies, and then settle into a healthier eating routine that still includes smoothies (just fewer of them). Along with the eating plan, the Body Reset program includes an exercise plan.

What Experts Say

"By drinking mostly smoothies for 15 days, the Body Reset diet promises to jump-start your metabolism and help shed pounds. While you’ll probably lose a little weight, experts agree you’ll likely gain it back when the diet ends. The plan is unsustainable and lacks long-term guidance."

Chrissy Carroll, RD, MPH

What Can You Eat?

The Body Reset program includes three five-day phases: Phase I, in which you consume nothing but smoothies and snacks; Phase II, in which you eat smoothies plus one meal and two snacks per day; and Phase III, in which you dial back your smoothies to one per day, plus two meals and two snacks.

The diet also advocates making good nutritional decisions. That means creating structure so that you're not tempted to grab unhealthy snacks when you're hungry, and becoming a more efficient eater by making your calories count.

After the third five-day phase, you'll be in a maintenance phase, which allows two weekly "free" meals in which you can eat and drink whatever you want.

The diet emphasizes low-fat foods, although it does include some healthy fat in the form of nuts, seeds, and avocado. It also stresses lean protein—leaning heavily on milk protein for its smoothies—and calories from high-fiber carbohydrates, which it says are "pretty much any fruit or vegetable you can name."

In Phases II and III of the diet, Pasternak recommends what he calls "S-meals." The S stands for "salads, sandwiches, soups, stir-fries, and scrambles."

The diet also includes a fairly simple exercise program. In the first phase, you'll walk a minimum of 10,000 steps per day. The second phase adds three days per week of resistance training to the walking. The third phase calls for five days per week of resistance training, plus at least 10,000 daily steps.

What You Need to Know

Pasternak makes a point to say that grazing throughout the day—instead of having two or three large meals—can help keep your blood sugar constant, possibly leading to less hunger. However, you should expect to feel hungry, especially in the first two phases of the diet.

A good blender is critical to success on the Body Reset diet. The diet calls for blending over juicing for several reasons: blenders are easier to operate and clean, juicing requires more produce to achieve the same volume of food, and blenders utilize all the fibrous parts of the fruits and vegetables, which contain most of the nutrients.

Although the smoothie recipes can be modified for any blender, the Body Reset diet recommends a blender that:

  • Operates at a minimum of 500 watts, so that there's enough power to blend harder produce and nuts (a blender that can grind seeds or cacao beans is a bonus)
  • Includes a large pitcher and a heavy base
  • Has a design that's easy to clean

If you have a less powerful blender, you may need to modify some recipes. For example, start with slivered almonds instead of whole nuts, and use pre-ground flaxseed instead of whole flaxseed.

What to Eat
  • Smoothies made with Body Reset recipes

  • High-fiber fruits, especially apples, pears, peaches, berries, kiwis, and oranges

  • Nonfat milk (dairy or non-dairy) and plain nonfat Greek yogurt

  • Nuts and seeds

  • Lean meat, poultry, and fish

  • Egg whites

  • Whole grains

What Not to Eat
  • Lower-fiber fruit

  • Candy

  • Fried foods

  • Chips and most crackers

  • Fatty meats

  • Restaurant meals

  • Soda, juice, and other sugary beverages

  • Highly refined grains

Body Reset Smoothies

Smoothies are the most important feature of the Body Reset system. They fall into three categories: white (breakfast), red (lunch), and green (dinner).

The basic white smoothies include an apple, pear, or peach, a banana, a few almonds, milk, yogurt, and spices to taste. Red smoothies include berries, half an orange, one scoop of protein powder, and one tablespoon of ground flaxseed. Green smoothies include two cups of greens (spinach, kale, baby arugula, or romaine lettuce), a pear, grapes, Greek yogurt, avocado, and lime juice.

Six recipes are provided for each type of smoothie. However, instructions also are included for substitutions (almonds instead of avocado, for instance, or tofu instead of Greek yogurt) if you want to make your own.

Fruits and Vegetables

It's important to choose higher-fiber fruits and vegetables in the Body Reset diet, especially for snacks. It's also important to eat the skin of fruits such as apples and pears instead of peeling them. For snacks, the diet encourages eating apples, pears or peaches, instead of melon or bananas, which are lower in fiber.

In the later stages of the diet, which emphasizes healthy, lower-calorie entrees, recipes include vegetarian options, such as lemon quinoa with spring vegetables and Dijon lentil salad with baby spinach.

Milk and Yogurt

Pasternak believes that dairy products have gotten a bad reputation in recent years and that their poor reputation is undeserved. He notes that humans have been drinking milk for thousands of years and that it's rich in protein, calcium, vitamin D, and other nutrients.

The Body Reset diet calls for nonfat milk every day in smoothies, often in combination with plain nonfat Greek yogurt. However, if you can't have milk or prefer to avoid it, you can substitute non-dairy milk and yogurt.

Nuts and Seeds

Almonds play a starring role in the Body Reset diet. They're used in small quantities to add healthy fat to smoothies, and the diet also recommends them as a snack food. Other nuts and seeds, such as walnuts and flaxseeds, are encouraged in small amounts.

Eggs

The Body Reset diet doesn't recommend whole eggs, but many of its recipes feature egg whites. For example, the potato-pepper omelet includes five egg whites (or 10 tablespoons liquid egg substitute), and the herbed cream cheese scramble features four egg whites/8 tablespoons liquid egg substitute, plus reduced-fat cream cheese.

Whole Grains

Popcorn is a great compliant snack in the Body Reset diet, and Pasternak recommends you always keep some low-fat popcorn on hand. Low-fat whole-grain crackers also are recommended. Any grain products should be whole grain; for example, tortillas used for breakfast burritos should be whole wheat, and sandwich bread should be whole grain.

Lean Meat, Protein, and Fish

The later phases of the Body Reset diet call for solid meals, many of which can feature moderate amounts of lean protein sources, such as steak, chicken, fish, and shrimp. For example, chicken and summer squash salad with buttermilk dressing includes around three ounces of chicken, and ginger shrimp with Swiss chard and bell peppers includes around three ounces of shrimp.

Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Emphasizes fresh fruits and vegetables

  • Fairly simple to follow

  • Focuses on low-fat, high-fiber foods

  • Includes exercise

Cons
  • Restrictive, especially at first

  • Time-consuming

  • Not palatable to everyone

  • Not sustainable

Pros

Provides Nutritious Fruit, Vegetables, and Fiber

Smoothies are suited for easily adding plenty of highly nutritious fruits and vegetables that are full of fiber. For people who otherwise might struggle to consume enough produce and fiber in their regular diet, smoothies can help you meet those requirements with ease.

Simple to Follow

There's a little bit of calorie-counting in the Body Reset diet, but not much: you just need to make sure your snacks come in around 150 calories each (and the diet blueprint gives you helpful suggestions to get you there). Beyond that, stick with the relatively simple program of smoothies, snacks, and (when allowed) meals.

Includes Exercise

The Body Reset diet may claim it allows you to "eat more, exercise less," but in truth, it calls for a fair amount of exercise—10,000 steps a day. That's five miles of walking. In addition, it also calls for resistance training, which will help you build muscle. Most experts agree that combining dietary changes with physical activity is a good recipe for weight loss.

Cons

Restrictive

Don't be surprised if you're seriously hungry, especially during the first five days of the diet. Since you'll only be consuming three smoothies plus two 150-calorie snacks, in total you'll be getting fewer than 1,200 calories a day, which isn't very much.

Time-Consuming

Smoothies aren't difficult to make. But you may find that blending up two or three of them takes quite a bit of time, especially since you'll need to clean your blender after each one. You may also find the diet is inconvenient since the smoothies will need to be kept refrigerated if you don't consume them right away.

Possibly Unpalatable

Pasternak makes an effort to make the smoothies tasty and offers variations of ingredients and spices. However, not everyone will enjoy a smoothie made with Swiss chard and protein powder. To succeed on the Body Reset diet, you'll need to like (or at least tolerate) all the different types of smoothies.

Unsustainable

It's likely you'll lose weight during the 15-day cycle of the Body Reset diet. However, once you go back to eating normally, you may regain some or all of the weight back, or even more. Pasternak recommends various lifestyle changes at the end of that 15-day "reset" that could help you maintain your weight loss. He also recommends returning to Phase I or Phase II for additional "resets."

Is the Body Reset Diet a Healthy Choice for You?

The Body Reset diet is similar in concept to other liquid protein or smoothie diets, and likely will lead to similar results. However, it falls short of U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) MyPlate guidelines for nutritious, balanced diets and healthy weight loss.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's 2020–2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends consuming a variety of nutrient-dense whole foods, including whole vegetables and fruits, whole grains, lean protein, low-fat dairy products, legumes, and healthy fats. Consuming a liquid diet means you are not eating whole foods in sufficient quantities, especially whole food protein.

The USDA recommends a daily calorie intake of 2,000 calories for weight management and approximately 1,500 a day for weight loss, depending on factors like age, sex, weight, and level of physical activity. The Body Reset diet provides only about 1,200 calories, at least in phase I.

The Body Reset diet may not provide enough nutrition and is unlikely to help you lose weight for the long term. Although you may lose weight, it will likely be temporary as returning to your previous eating patterns will result in weight regain.

Health Benefits

Low-Fat, High-Fiber

When you're trying to lose weight, you'll consume fewer calories by focusing on lower-fat foods. It's easy to switch to skim milk and fat-free Greek yogurt, as the Body Reset diet calls for. In addition, the diet emphasizes getting enough fiber. Fiber is critical for keeping your digestive system running smoothly. It may also help lower your risk of certain cancers.

Lots of Fruits and Vegetables

The Body Reset diet emphasizes fresh fruits and vegetables, which are prized for their nutrients and fiber. Fruits and vegetables are an essential part of a healthy diet—the MyPlate nutritional guidelines urge consumption of nearly half your daily calories from vegetables and fruits.

The Body Reset diet should get you that allotment since fruits and vegetables are primary components of its smoothies and of its solid meal recipes.

Health Risks

Lacking Certain Food Groups

The Body Reset diet does emphasize fruits and vegetables, as does the USDA. However, the diet—particularly in its first five days—does not offer enough whole grains and likely will lack protein compared to USDA recommendations.

The Body Reset diet is one of many diets that require you to drink only milkshakes, protein shakes, or smoothies for a given period of days. These diets generally skimp on protein and healthy fat.

Low in Calories

For safe, slow weight loss, experts typically recommend consuming 1,500 calories per day; however, that amount can vary based on height, weight, and age. The first five days of the Body Reset diet will be well below that—in the range of 1,000 to 1,200. The second five days of the diet likely will provide you with close to 1,500 calories. this is probably not enough for most people and can lead to feelings of hunger. To find your individual calorie needs, use this weight-loss calculator.

Likelihood of Weight Regain

Since the Body Reset diet is short-term, any weight loss effects are likely also to be short-term. A portion of the weight loss is likely to be from water loss due to decreased carbohydrate consumption. Once you return to your normal eating patterns, you may regain weight since your calorie intake will go back up. Weight loss and regain cycles may make permanent weight loss more difficult.

A Word from Verywell

You're likely to lose weight with the Body Reset diet. However, you won't be getting all the nutrients you need—particularly protein and healthy fats—especially in the first phase of the diet. In addition, you're unlikely to feel that you're "eating more, exercising less," which is what the diet claims. In fact, you'll probably feel as if you're not eating much at all, while putting in a lot of walking time.

If you decide to try the diet, make sure to follow Pasternak's recommendations for getting enough fiber. In addition, his recommendations and recipes "smoothies, stir-fries, scrambles, salads, and soups" could form the basis of a healthy eating plan going forward, even without the three-phased reset program.

Remember, following a long-term or short-term diet may not be necessary for you and many diets out there simply don’t work, especially long-term. While we do not endorse fad diet trends or unsustainable weight loss methods, we present the facts so you can make an informed decision that works best for your nutritional needs, genetic blueprint, budget, and goals.

If your goal is weight loss, remember that losing weight isn’t necessarily the same as being your healthiest self, and there are many other ways to pursue health. Exercise, sleep, and other lifestyle factors also play a major role in your overall health. The best diet is always the one that is balanced and fits your lifestyle.

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Article Sources
Verywell Fit uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and U.S. Department of Agriculture. 2020–2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Ninth Edition. December 2020.

  2. Kirkpatrick CF, Bolick JP, Kris-Etherton PM, et al. Review of current evidence and clinical recommendations on the effects of low-carbohydrate and very-low-carbohydrate (including ketogenic) diets for the management of body weight and other cardiometabolic risk factors: A scientific statement from the National Lipid Association Nutrition and Lifestyle Task Force. J Clin Lipidol. 2019;13(5). doi:10.1016/j.jacl.2019.08.003

  3. Higginson AD, McNamara JM. An adaptive response to uncertainty can lead to weight gain during dieting attempts. Evol Med Public Health. 2016;2016(1):369-380. doi:10.1093/emph/eow031

Additional Reading
  • Pasternak H, Moser L. The Body Reset Diet: Power Your Metabolism, Blast Fat and Shed Pounds in Just 15 Days. Rodale, 2014.