The Harcombe Diet – Everything You Need To Know

‘Stop Counting Calories & Start Losing Weight’ is the ethos for nutritionist Zoe Harcombe’s diet plan – The Harcombe Diet. With the claim of no counting of calories, points, or carbs and no starving every other day or two days a week, not to mention ‘you won’t be eating less – full stop’, we were more than a little intrigued. So how does this miracle-sounding diet work? Here’s everything you need to know…

Nutritionist Zoe Harcombe developed the popular diet after twenty years worth of research into diets, food cravings and what causes them as well as struggling with her own weight loss. She discovered the less she ate the more she ended up binging (sound familiar?) because low calorie/low fat/eat less kind of diets are likely to lead to the development of three medical conditions that will give you addict-like cravings. The 3 conditions are Candida, Food Intolerance and Hypoglycaemia, which are all extremely common and could turn you into a food addict!

So with that in mind the Harcombe diet is perfect for anyone who experiences cravings and wants to stop feeling addicted to certain foods, such as bread, chocolate and biscuits. (so that’s most of us then…)

The main premise of the program focuses on ditching fake food in favour of real food. Sounds simple, right? It’s all about making the calories you eat count, rather than counting how many of them you have.

The diet consists of 3 phases…

Phase 1 lasts just 5 days. You can have unlimited meat, fish, eggs, veggies (except potatoes/mushrooms), Natural Live (bio) Yoghurt, herbs, spices and one portion of ‘safe’ grains daily (brown rice, quinoa, oats).

Phase 2 lasts for as long as you need to lose weight. Fruit, dairy products, baked potatoes and whole grains are re-introduced (The Stop Counting Calories and Start Losing Weight book explains everything you need to know, think of it as your diet BFF, holding your hand the whole way through)

Phase 3 teaches you the rules of ‘cheating’ (we like the sound of that) while keeping the weight off.  

fish and veg Unlimited amounts of fish and veggies are allowed in phase 1


While on Phase 1 you can expect recipes such as Harissa Spiced Koftas or the Breakfast Omelette, phase 2 offers dishes such as Butternut Squash Curry, Classic Chocolate Mousse and homemade Hummus.

Zoe claims that followers of the diet can expect to lose 5-7 pounds in the first five days alone. Which is why many are using it as a quick fix, kick start option. But if you want sustainable weightloss it’s probs best to see the plan through to the end. 

You can find more deets on the plan here