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Dawn Napoli explains the pros and cons of SHRED, a diet designed to help you forgo the plateau

February 14, 2013

As many of us know, to achieve your ideal body weight, you have to maintain a healthy diet and exercise daily. However, sometimes, even after we make that commitment and see results, we see a plateau right around the last 10-20 pounds. The Shred Diet is a 6-week plan designed by Dr. Ian Smith to help dieters achieve their ideal weight and forgo the plateau.

Dr. Smith combines low glycemic index foods with meal replacements and meal spacing. His concept, “diet confusion," is modeled after the muscle confusion idea- when you do the same types of exercises at the same times, you muscles  acclimate to the stress and your progress stagnates, by “confusing” your muscle, you can trigger their sustained growth and continue to move towards your fitness goals. Dr. Smith claims that the same thing happens with your diet- you eat the same foods all the time, your body adjusts to that specific diet, your metabolism stabilizes and fat accumulates. In his diet, the types of foods and quantities are varied each week to “confuse” your body.  He states that in 6 weeks, most people who closely follow the program lose 4 inches and 2 sizes.

The Shred Diet is based on a 6 week cycle:

  • Week 1: Prime - This week is an introduction to the Shred Diet and serves to ease your body into the lifestyle change, teaches about meal spacing, snacking, and suppressing hunger without consuming too many calories.
  • Week 2: Challenge - During the second week, you'll get serious about your commitment to the diet by reducing your calorie intake, releasing bad habits, and adopting new behaviors.
  • Week 3: Transformation  This is the toughest week, but also the week when most people start noticing a difference in clothing size & energy levels.
  • Week 4: Ascend - This week will come as a relief after the difficulty of Week 3- designed to rebuild your strength and gain confidence.
  • Week 5: Cleanse – A food detox, which Dr. Smith claims will cleanse your blood and eliminate toxins from your body.
  • Week 6: Explode - The final week of the cycle starts a lifetime of maintenance by creating a new, sustainable lifestyle based on what you've learned.
If you have not lost the amount of weight you would like by the end of the six-week cycle, you may restart the diet with any week you feel is appropriate. Dr. Smith encourages the reader follow one week of the diet each month in order to maintain the weight loss.


  • Allows 6-7 meals/day
  • Food is inexpensive, easy to find in grocery stores
  • Cardiovascular exercise and strength training are emphasized and included.
  • Reduces risk for HTN & diabetes, improved energy levels
  • For people who like structure, this diet spells out in detail each meal, but allows room for substitutions.
  • Emphasizes limiting added sugars and salt.
  • Provides an extensive list of 150- & 100-calorie snacks, and smoothie & soup recipes
  • Teaches portion sizes/serving sizes
  • Includes a variety of foods- whole grains, fruits/vegetables, low fat dairy, hydration, lean proteins


  • Takes a lot of planning
  • Timing is critical, which may make it somewhat difficult to follow, difficult to get all foods in with a busy schedule
  • Calorie & protein levels, which should be based on your sex, age, height, weight, goal weight and physical activity level, may not meet your needs. You should consult with a healthcare professional for a more tailored meal plan.
  • Diet books put a lot a stress on the user to learn how to change their lifestyle, eating habits, and portion sizes on their own. By meeting with a registered dietitian, one-on-one feedback can be given and diet education is more interactive.

Example Meal Plan:

Meal 1: 8 fl oz water with half a lemon, 1 whole apple, 1 cup cooked oatmeal, 1 cup orange juice

100 cal Snack: ½ cup nonfat Greek yogurt with a dash of cinnamon and 1 teaspoon of honey

Meal 2: 1 fruit smoothie (no added sugars), 1 cup any vegetable, 1 cup unsweetened iced tea

150 cal Snack: 21 raw almonds

Meal 3: 1 bowl of soup (no potatoes, no cream, low sodium), 1 cup flavored water

100 cal Snack: 2 graham cracker squares with 1 teaspoon peanut butter and sprinkle of cinnamon

Meal 4: 5-ounce piece of baked skinless chicken, ½ cup cooked brown rice, 1 cup any vegetable, one 12-ounce can of diet soda.

What are your thoughts about the Shred Diet? Would you try it? Tell us here!