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Diets Decoded: The Mayr Method


Is the Mayr Method healthy?

When actress Rebel Wilson declared 2020 the year of health on Instagram, she credited the Mayr Method for kickstarting her impressive weight loss journey. She loved it so much that she even went back for Round 2 in 2021. Wondering what all the fuss is about? We have the Mayr Method decoded.

What is the Mayr Method?

You may be hearing of this eating plan for the first time, but it’s actually based on the 100-year-old Mayr Cure created by Austrian physician Dr. Franz Xaver Mayr, who believed that people are poisoning their guts with the foods they eat. Today, this diet is typically practiced by staying at the luxury wellness clinic VivaMayr resort in Austria or by taking the less expensive route and following the principles and plan provided in The Viva Mayr Diet book.

The main premise of the Mayr Method is that good health starts with a healthy gut, so the diet seeks to improve digestion through alkaline foods, mindful eating and other behavior changes.

What’s So Special About VivaMayr?

But back to that fancy resort in Austria. VivaMayr is a private health clinic tucked away amid the rolling Austrian mountains. It has achieved cult-like status among the health-obsessed and has played host to the rich and famous for decades.

Who has stayed at VivaMayr? Models, actors and actresses, rock stars and Russian oligarchs have all reportedly paid a visit to the exclusive resort.

Famous guests include Kate Moss, Elizabeth Hurley and Kristin Scott Thomas. Model, actress and singer Suki Waterhouse has documented her stays there on social media, and The Rolling Stones are allegedly repeat visitors.

What You Eat on the Mayr Method

That’s great, but why are so many rich and famous people fans of VivaMayr?

For Rebel Wilson, the visit to the clinic and following the Mayr Method (also known as The Cure) helped to drastically improve her digestion, according to this Instagram post where she shares some of the things that went down at the resort. They include: hypoxic training, nasal reflexology, functional training, medical tests, vitamin drips, lake walks, sports, aerial yoga, massages, algae wraps, facials, and osteopath sessions—all of which the actress and performer claims have improved her life.


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A post shared by Rebel Wilson (@rebelwilson)

Visitors to the VivaMayr clinic receive a personalized eating plan after an initial consultation with their doctors, but everyone’s diet emphasizes alkaline foods (aka less acidic foods) such as fresh vegetables, nuts and seeds, and fish.

A writer for Marie Claire magazine wrote that “many talk in glowing terms about the weight loss that happens as a result of embarking on The Cure … (but) VIVAMAYR is not a diet clinic, and The Cure is not designed to simply shed pounds, but instead to bring the body back into balance through an all-encompassing approach.”

A key component of the Mayr Method includes chewing every bite of food between 40 to 60 times. So food such as spelt bread (or other hard, gluten-free varieties) is a daily staple intended to help you practice more chewing.

What You Don’t Eat on the Mayr Method

The Mayr Method discourages consuming: coffee, alcohol, sugar, gluten, and dairy (specifically cow’s milk). However, how you eat is equally as important as what you eat in this diet.

These behaviors are off-limits with the Mayr Method:

  • Snacking
  • Eating predominantly later in the day
  • Consuming raw foods after 4 p.m.
  • Drinking with meals
  • Eating too much
  • Scrolling on your phone during mealtime

Also, if you’re trying this diet at home, authors of The Viva Mayr Diet Book, Dr. Harald Stossier and Helena Frith Powell, recommend you start with mild fasting.

Other Key Principles of the Mayr Method

As we’ve covered, the Mayr Method is about much more than food intake. Some other lifestyle modifications of the diet include:

  • Decreasing screen time throughout the day
  • Early bedtime in a quiet and dark space
  • Warming the liver at night to speed up detox
  • Acupuncture
  • Nasal reflexology

Other modalities of the diet include: abdominal massages, Espom salt drinks and infrared saunas to aid digestion, speed up elimination and boost circulation.

Pros of the Mayr Method

Nurturing the gut is good

We know that gut health is important and science is just scratching the surface on how it may influence everything from our mood to our weight. Nurturing the gut with lots of whole foods and more mindful eating practices is definitely a smart move.

Slowing down aids digestion

The Mayr Method’s emphasis on slowing down and savoring our meals, eating when relaxed, and tuning into your fullness cues can be effective strategies to help with digestion and making healthier food choices.

Cons of the Mayr Method

An alkaline diet is unnecessary

While alkaline foods certainly have health benefits, your body already does a great job of regulating pH on its own, so you don’t necessarily need to follow an alkaline diet to reap those benefits.

It’s guidance on drinking water during a meal is flawed

The Mayr Method also discourages drinking during meals because it claims to dilute enzymes your digestive tract uses to break down food. But that theory is not supported by research, and even if we did find out there was some truth to it, the benefits of drinking water during meals would far outweigh that effect.

The benefits of drinking water with a meal include:

Curbing weight gain: Water during meals can prevent overeating. By stopping for sips, you’re slowing down the speed at which you eat, causing you to eat less overall.

Aiding digestion: Not only does drinking water with a meal not hinder digestion, it actually helps it. Water (and other liquids) help break down food so your body can better absorb the nutrients you’re eating.

Preventing constipation: Drinking water with your meal helps to move food through your digestive tract smoothly and softens your stool.

It’s unnecessarily restrictive

Other practices of the Mayr method, such as restricting raw foods after 4 p.m. or snacking between meals, may be unnecessarily restrictive.

It’s expensive

The last con of the Mayr Method is a financial one. To follow this diet as it was intended, you’ll need to spend a pretty penny at the VivaMayr resort to experience the true Mayr Method. (Not gonna lie, it does sound pretty cool … but, yeah, pricey too.)

The Bottom Line

The Mayr Method has some merits—appreciating the importance of gut health, consuming mostly whole foods, and eating more mindfully. We are on board with all of that! But, while these are worthwhile practices to incorporate into your daily life, we aren’t sold on the plan as a whole.
For one, we are big proponents of snacking—for most people. In fact, numerous studies have shown that eating every few hours stabilizes your blood sugar and keeps you from making less healthy choices later on because you’re starving.

Plus, the food restrictions within this plan may not be sustainable for long-term success. Your better bet is to add whole foods into your diet, practice mindfulness, and make time for self-care.

Nutritious Life’s Diets Decoded Series

We’re going to let you in on a little secret. Most popular healthy diets that are touted for weight loss—from Paleo to Mediterranean and vegetarian—share many of the same basic principles. All involve eating whole foods (as opposed to packaged and processed) and filling your plate with quality sources of protein, healthy fats, complex carbohydrates, and vitamin-, mineral-, and fiber-rich vegetables. However, each proposes a slightly different path that leads to fulfilling those principles. In our Diets Decoded series, we break them down for you, one by one, so you can figure out which (if any) is right for you. We explain the facts and then provide quick, actionable tips on how to follow the diet as part of a Nutritious Life.

More Reading

From Paleo to Whole30: What a Celebrity RD Thinks of Today’s Most Popular Diets
From Candida to Hashimoto’s: 5 Diets Decoded for Modern Maladies and Pesky Symptoms
From the Mayr Method to the Ayurvedic Diet: 5 Biohacking Diets to Optimize Your Health
From Carb Cycling to Macro Counting: Do These 4 Diets Live Up to Their Weight Loss Claims?

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