How to Start Eating Healthy Without Fad Diets

How to Start Eating Healthy Without Fad Diets: Nutrition Matters

“Lose weight now, just take a pill!” Have you fallen prey to any of these popular dieting promises?

We all ought to know better, but the desire for quick weight loss often tempts us into unhealthy lifestyles.

Join our discussion with Lauren Niemes, registered dietitian, about the claims, facts, and pros and cons of fad diets and possible long-term effects. We talk about exactly how to start eating healthy without fad diets.

Special Guest: Lauren Niemes M.Ed., RD, LD Executive Director, Nutrition Council

In This Episode

  • 00:39 – Welcome Lauren
  • 01:14 – What is a Fad Diet?
  • 06:47 – Taking Care of Your Body
  • 08:26 – Cultural Trends
  • 11:13 – Exercise as Enjoyable
  • 12:31 – Tips on Dining Out
  • 13:40 – Caller: Dave
  • 14:12 – Parents are Teachers
  • 20:55 – Food Portions
  • 24:16 – Buffets & Ethnic Cuisines
  • 27:30 – Rethink Your Drinks
  • 31:49 – Lifestyle Changes
  • 33:44 – Closing Comments

About Lauren Niemes

Lauren is a registered dietitian and the Executive Director of the Nutrition Council, a nonprofit agency helping to make Greater Cincinnati a healthier community through innovative nutrition education and physical activity programs.

Lauren received her BS degree in Dietetics from the University of Cincinnati. She completed a clinical dietetic internship at New England Medical Center and earned a Masters of Education with an emphasis in nutrition from Tufts University in Boston.

Ms. Niemes has over 20 years of experience in the field of nutrition and dietetics. She has been the Executive Director of the Nutrition Council since 1994. Prior to that she was the Dietetics Program Director at the University of Cincinnati, a research nutritionist at the University Medical Center and worked at the Cincinnati Center for Developmental Disorders.

Lauren is a member of the American Dietetic Association and The Society for Nutrition Education. Her areas of expertise include nutrition and disease prevention and nutrition education. She loves to garden, cook and scuba dive!

She loves to talk about nutrition fact sheets, recipes, tips on dining out and more.

10 Characteristics of Fad Diets

  1. Sounds too good to be true.
  2. Promises weight loss without exercise.
  3. Promises weight loss of more than 1 or 2 pounds a week.
  4. Discourages drinking water.
  5. Food or food groups are excluded or consumed excessively.
  6. Lists good and bad foods.
  7. Uses these terms: fat burner, fat blocker or boost metabolism.
  8. Includes no warnings related to possible medical problems.
  9. Requires purchase of pills, bars, shakes or other foods.
  10. Claims specific food combinations have weight loss powers.

Healthy Eating Statistics

  • 20% of adults said they had tried a low-carb diet since 2002 and 11% of Americans (or 24 million adults) are currently on one.
  • 80% of all American women are on diets and Americans spend $300 million per year on diet products.
  • Most diets fail in the long run, causing dieters to repeatedly lose and regain weight after returning to their pre-diet weight.
  • There is some evidence that this yo-yo pattern of weight loss and gain is more hazardous to health than remaining moderately overweight.
  • The average American woman wears a size 12 to 14 clothing.

Facts About Eating Healthy

  • One out of four Americans is classified as obese. One out of two is overweight.
  • To lose weight, you must burn more calories than you consume. In other words, you eat less and move more.
  • There is nothing magical about certain foods or combinations of foods. A calorie is a calorie no matter how it is consumed.
  • Dietary guidelines recommend a diet of 15 percent to 20 percent protein, less than 25 percent fat and 50 percent to 55 percent carbohydrates.
  • Fad diets don’t work.
  • Dietary guidelines recommend a diet of 15 percent to 20 percent protein, less than 25 percent fat and 50 percent to 55 percent carbohydrates.

10 Easy Ways to Get More Fruits & Veggies in Your Diet

  1. Mix in cooked vegetables like spinach or broccoli into scrambled eggs.
  2. Fill your sandwich with fresh vegetables like tomatoes, cucumbers and bell peppers.
  3. Spread peanut butter and sliced bananas on toast.
  4. Snack on frozen cherries or peach slices right from the bag.
  5. Add mandarin oranges, cranberries, sliced strawberries or pineapple bits to a salad.
  6. Serve applesauce flavored with cinnamon as a simple side dish to pork.
  7. Layer berries, yogurt, and granola for a breakfast parfait.
  8. Add fresh spinach or roasted red peppers to a pizza.
  9. Add pre-sliced veggies to jarred spaghetti sauce.
  10. Add a grated carrot and chopped apple to your tuna or chicken salad.

How to Eat Healthy When You Have High Cholesterol?

A high blood cholesterol level can significantly increase your risk for heart disease or stroke. Fortunately, high blood cholesterol is controllable. Here are some  dietary changes you and your family can make to reduce the risk of heart disease:

  • Eat less saturated fat.
  • Eat less trans fats, found in deep-fried foods and processed foods that contain partially hydrogenated fats.
  • If you are overweight, lose weight. This will help lower your total cholesterol level.
  • Eat more fiber, especially soluble fiber – including fruits, oats, dried beans and legumes in your daily diet.
  • Limit dietary cholesterol intake to less than 200 mg a day. Egg yolks and organ meats contain the highest amounts of cholesterol.
  • Exercise regularly to help increase your HDL (good) cholesterol.
  • Eat more foods made from soybeans (soy milk, tofu, soy nuts, etc.)- 25 grams of soy protein a day added to a low-fat diet can help reduce cholesterol.
  • See a registered dietitian for individualized diet counseling. Ask your physician for a referral.

Eating for a Healthy Heart

We all know what not to eat for a healthy heart. Avoid potato chips, cookies, fatty meats, and butter. But what should we eat to make our diet more heart-healthy? Research is exploring foods that can prevent or even reverse the damage of heart disease. Read on to learn about the latest foods, supplements and eating patterns that may provide health benefits.

Heart Healthy Eating Plan

Following a heart-healthy eating plan can help keep your blood cholesterol low and help you achieve and maintain a healthy body weight, which may help to prevent heart disease. Individuals who are at high risk for heart disease should follow stricter guidelines.

1. Limit saturated fat and trans fat to no more than 8 to 10 percent of total daily calories

Both saturated fat and trans fat increase LDL “bad” cholesterol levels. Foods high in saturated fat include fatty meats and poultry, high-fat dairy products, butter, tropical oils and partially hydrogenated vegetable oils (found in margarine, high-fat baked goods). The best way to limit artery-clogging fat is to choose plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grain foods.

2. Limit total fat to no more than 30% of total daily calories

Selecting “good” fats in place of saturated fats may help lower LDL “bad” cholesterol and slightly raise HDL “good” cholesterol. Heart-healthy fats include vegetable oils, nuts, seeds, avocados, and olives. Keep in mind that high-fat foods also tend to be high in calories which may lead to weight gain, increasing your risk for heart disease.

3. Keep dietary cholesterol intake to no more than 300 milligrams a day

Foods high in cholesterol can also raise blood cholesterol. Dietary cholesterol is found only in foods of animal origin (eggs, meats, and dairy foods) or foods that are made with animal products (baked goods, french fries cooked in lard).

4. Limit sodium intake to 2400 milligrams a day

To limit your sodium intake, choose foods that are minimally processed like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy products, and lean meats. Add flavor to favorite foods and dishes with herbs and spices in place of salt.

5. Choose just enough calories to achieve or maintain a healthy weight

Most women need about 1600 calories, whereas most men, active women, and children should eat about 2200 calories daily. Active men and teenage boys need about 2800 calories daily.

7 Smart Tips on Eating Healthy

Eating for a healthy heart goes beyond watching the amount of fat and cholesterol in your diet. Current research suggests many other factors in our diet may play an important role in heart health. Here are some additional steps you can take which may help prevent heart disease. Keep in mind that no food or supplement is a magic bullet. Research only recently has been focusing on the preventive power of foods. There is still not enough scientific evidence to prove that these foods or compounds can prevent heart disease. Incorporating these foods into a low-fat meal plan, along with adequate exercise will help promote a healthy heart.

1. Fill-up on fiber

Dietary fiber, particularly soluble fiber, is good for the heart. It is recommended that you get between 25-35 grams of total fiber a day from whole grains, fruits, and vegetables a day. At least 10 of those fiber grams should be supplied by soluble fiber. Rich food sources of soluble fiber include oatmeal, barley, beans, apples, pears, and cabbage.

2. Enjoy more soy

Research shows that adding 25 grams of soy protein a day to a diet that is low in saturated fat can help lower cholesterol levels by 7-10%. Soybeans are good sources of protein, fiber, omega-3 fatty acids, and phytoestrogens. All of these compounds have a potentially positive impact on heart health. Drinking soy milk, snacking on soy nuts and using soy meat substitutes are just a few ways to increase the soy in your diet.

3. Eat beans at least 3 times a week

In addition to being an excellent source of soluble fiber, beans are also a good source of folic acid. Studies show that folic acid can decrease homocysteine levels, an amino acid associated with heart disease risk. Studies show that 400 micrograms (mcg) of folate each day can decrease homocysteine to safe levels. Other good sources of folic acid are citrus fruits, orange juice, dark leafy greens, and fortified cereals.

4. Eat fish at least twice a week

Fish is low in saturated fat and some types of fish, like salmon, sardines, and trout, are a good source of omega-3 fatty acids. Three recent studies all showed that omega-3 fatty acids from fish oils protect people from irregular heartbeats and sudden cardiac events (heart attacks). New dietary reference intakes for omega-3 fatty acids are set between 1.1-1.6 grams a day for adults.

5. Eat more plant sources of omega-3 fats

Other sources of omega-3 fats include fats and oils (canola, soybean, and walnut oils), wheat germ, flaxseed, walnuts, and soybeans. Flaxseed must be used in the ground form to get the omega-3 benefits. Other heart health benefits of flaxseed are its high soluble fiber and low saturated fat content.

6. Eat nuts – but in moderation

Studies show that eating 1-2 ounces of nuts high in polyunsaturated fats a day, like almonds and walnuts, can help lower cholesterol levels. But watch out – nuts are high in calories. A one-ounce serving (one small handful) of almonds or walnuts provides about 180 calories.

7. Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables

Five servings of fruits and vegetables a day are the minimum number of servings you should eat, but research has shown higher amounts can help lower blood pressure and protect your heart. Fruits and vegetables are low in fat and high in fiber. They are also good sources of antioxidants, that help protect our cells from damage.

If you have high cholesterol, you may also want to consider adding a margarine that contains stanol or sterol esters, like Benecol and Take Control. Two to three tablespoons a day has been shown to lower cholesterol by 15% in people who have high cholesterol. Be sure to talk to your health care provider to see if this product is a good choice for you.

Episode Transcript

Lauren Niemes: Hi, this is Lauren Niemes. I’m the director of the Nutrition Council of Greater Cincinnati. And you’re listening to Vicky & Jen, What Really Matters.

Jen: This is Vicky and Jen, keeping life simple. So you can enjoy what really matters.

Vicky: Today I have an amazing statistic to share. Americans spend 300 million dollars a year on diet products. It is so easy to be tempted with this easy fix. But do they really work? And are they healthy? We have with us today Lauren Niemes a registered dietitian to discuss simple ways to eat healthy to maybe avoid that urge to use a fad diet.

Jen: Thank you for joining us, Lauren. Please tell us why it is a fad diet?

Lauren Niemes: I would define a fad diet as a short-term quick fix approach to trying to lose weight quickly. They don’t work. And there’s something to be avoided and it could be anything from a popular diet book to the grapefruit diet. There are things passed around from friend or friend all the time but usually, they’re very low calorie and it’s a short-term fix to what really needs to be a lifelong solution.

Jen: So you said that they don’t work. Do they ever work?

Lauren Niemes: They help people lose weight and they help people lose weight quickly but they don’t help people really change the behaviors that caused them to gain the weight in the first place. And what people really need to look at is how can I make changes in my habits every day to help me manage my weight more effectively. So how can I be more active? How can I control portion sizes? How can I make healthier choices in today’s crazy time-obsessed food-obsessed world?

Jen: So they’re basically misleading.

Lauren Niemes: Yes.

Vicky: And there’s a lot of them out there too. And can some of them even be dangerous?

Lauren Niemes: Definitely. The more restrictive these fad diets get the more potential harm they could have to someone’s health. And I also have a concern with some of the supplements that people would use in attempts to lose weight. So for a while, there were some very popular ones being sold in malls. I’m not going to say the name essentially was a kind of speed almost that you know was very effective at controlling people’s appetites but it was a drug and it really wasn’t helping people be healthy. And that’s really what people need to be looking at is the goal is not what body size they are not what the number on the scale is but am I living a healthy lifestyle.

Lauren Niemes: Am I active? Am I eating a nutritious nourishing diet? And do I have a good relationship with food? That’s my other concern.

Vicky: So if I read about a new diet it sounds wonderful. It sounds easy. I mean what’s a red flag? How do I know that it’s not healthy? Our listeners — what can they look for to know whether or not it’s something that they should do?

Lauren Niemes: I would say one the first thing if it sounds too good to be true. If it promises rapid weight loss, that’s really not something that you want your goal. You know people are like “oh I need to lose 10 pounds by this wedding”. But really when you think about how long it took you to put extra weight on when the weight goes off quickly it’s going to come right back on quickly you know with the fat cells that we have on our body we never lose them they just shrink.

Jen: That kind of freaks me out. Because I know I have a lot more than I used.

Lauren Niemes: So the goal really for adults is not to continue to gain weight. And then if you want to lose weight to lose it slowly. So red flags would include promising quick weight loss and that would be anything over two pounds a week. You really don’t want to lose weight much faster than that. And then also if it’s restricting a whole category of foods. So like when people went on these low carb crazy diets. Well, those are still popular right now for some people. They are a kick start. But the challenge becomes they can lose weight without exercise which is what I always have a problem with because our bodies were meant to be active every single day. And they also when people get tired of not eating these carbohydrate-containing foods which play an important role in health than when they get them back in they tend to put the weight back on the rails.

Jen: Isn’t that the largest group of foods that you’re supposed to consume? Like 50% of your diet should be carbohydrates?

Lauren Niemes: It really depends on an individual. What their body weight is. What their goals are. So, someone who may be tending toward diabetes, they may do well with 50% carbohydrates. A marathon runner may do much better with 65%. So it really depends on activity level and then your own biological makeup. So you know what are your blood sugar levels like? What is your cholesterol level like? What is your genetic family history? But about 50%-60% of your calories coming from carbohydrates. That’s the dietary guidelines recommended for general Americans.

Vicky: When you said some people might use these diets as a kickstart. A lot of people think well I’ll just do it just to shed my pounds and then I’ll start eating healthy. Should they ever be used as a kickstart or just avoid them altogether?

Lauren Niemes: There’s actually some research that shows there’s a potential for harm from doing this yo-yo dieting where you go when these fad diets, you lose the weight, and then you put it back on. And then you lose weight again and you put it back on. And so there’s actually some metabolic and health risks to that up and down yo-yoing and you’d be much better off by setting your goal may be a little bit more realistically and losing your weight slower and establishing those lifelong habits that are what we want people to do.

Vicky: But people think that’s a lot of hard work. I mean it takes time. So what do you say about that?

Lauren Niemes: We have to change our perception that you know about taking care of our body every day is not hard work. We need to find ways that we can be active that we actually enjoy and that we can do with our family with our friends that all of our social events don’t have to revolve around foods.

Vicky: Right. But they do.

Jen: Yeah I like what you just said. Taking care of your body should not be considered hard work. I mean it should be the number one concern and I can’t wait to get these glares. But I have done the pill thing before. I did it because after having the two kids and I just didn’t really lose a lot of the weight after having Jade and it was very discouraging because I would look back you know when I used to dive a lot, pre-kid diving with scuba, I would actually fit into my wetsuit. It’s very discouraging. And I tried it and it didn’t work. I did it for a short period of time because the hardest thing for me about it was I never remember to take the darn things anyways so and I was like well this is silliness.

Vicky: I’m not going to glare at you because I too have done the I think it was called Dexatrim and the Slimfast. But mostly when I was in high school. So I’m embarrassed to say that. Now I’m saying I’m announcing it to the world but and I’m not proud of it. But hey it didn’t work. It never did work. So a question. We know this stuff. We know that fruits and vegetables are healthy. We know that fried foods are bad. We know that exercise and eating healthy go hand in hand. So why don’t we do it?

Lauren Niemes: That’s the million dollar question because what we’re living in right now is an obesogenic society. Societal trends in our culture where high-calorie foods, things like fast foods, are so readily available and so inexpensive and everywhere we go. If you think about foods in gas stations, food in hospitals, food in vending machines, and our world revolves around food. Then coupled with the advertising and marketing that’s being done by the food industry which is a huge business and they’re out to make a profit not to help support our health. And then coupled that with the sedentary ways that we have where we’re using remote controls we do drive through use we no longer walk to and from school we get in the car you know that walking really hasn’t become isn’t isn’t part of our life anymore. So that combination really creates this environment and culture that is very challenging for people to to combat and also then we add on top of that our stressful lives and we don’t perceive that we have the time to prepare healthy foods were really doesn’t take a lot of time it may take more resources in terms of planning or purchasing different foods but it doesn’t necessarily have to take more time.

Jen: And that’s something that Vicki and I have talked about a lot is trying to simplify our lives so that you have the time that you think you need to prepare. I guess a fresh meal and sit down with your family and make eating not a hurry up in the car on your way to soccer practice type thing. It’s a family event. You sit around and discuss things while you’re eating and then it’s not a shove it in because it’s supposed to eat right now.

Vicky: And Lauren did say a key is to make it enjoyable make exercise enjoyable make eating enjoyable. It doesn’t have to be unpleasant things to find healthy things that you enjoy and start from there.

Lauren Niemes: That’s the key. I hate the word exercise because it brings up negative connotations and really it’s just being outside in nature. It’s walking down the street. It’s walking around your house.

Jen: We all pay extra money every month to go to the gym and workout and then stop and grab a coke as we leave. But we’re paying all this extra money to go somewhere and try to make ourselves feel better when that’s taking more time away than if we would just walk down the street and money and all sorts of stuff.

Vicky: How many people we’ve heard before in articles that we’ve read there’s a lot of good information out there and we’ve read you know park your car a little further away from your destination and walk it or take the stairs instead of the elevator. And again I know this stuff but sometimes you’re late for an appointment you have to be somewhere at a certain time and you’re like not today park closer. Gotta take the elevator today. So it’s easy to throw up obstacles and excuses to do things that you know just maybe aren’t healthy choices.

Jen: What about dining out? What are the pros and cons of dining out?

Lauren Niemes: More and more Americans are eating more and more meals away from home. We spend about half of our food dollar away and the food’s outside of it’s grown dramatically over the last 20 years and that the downside of that is that you don’t have any control over what goes into that food. And we know that people who eat out more often are eating more calories higher fat higher sugar higher sodium content and not getting a lot of the fruits and vegetables that they need are whole grains those foods are hard sometimes to find in restaurants that I mean it’s getting easier. And there are healthy choices and fast food restaurants and most restaurants they’re limited though right. They’re very limited, especially for kids. I get so angry with the children’s meal with chicken nuggets and french fries.

Vicky: And that leads us to a question that we got from one of our listeners and this is so true. I always see the same thing on the kid’s menus and french fries. Any entree you pick comes with French fries.

Dave: Hi, this is Dave. Husband and father of one. You’re listening to Vicky & Jen, What Really Matters. My question is what do you give to your child who is stuck in that diet of pizza, hot dogs, cheeseburgers? What can we introduce to a kid like that to bring more nutrition into their diet?

Lauren Niemes: I think parents need to change their perspective. Parents are teachers and we teach our children how to walk. We teach our children how to read. We need to teach our children how to eat a variety of foods. And it’s very easy to get into this trap of where we expose our children at a very young age to what I call the Happy Meal the chicken nuggets and french fries and a sweetened beverage and they were training their tastes for fat salt and sugar and then it gets into a vicious cycle where they don’t want to eat anything else and because you know toddlers when they’re learning how to eat young children they go on food jags they won’t eat certain things and parents panic.

Lauren Niemes: They think the kid’s not going to eat so I’m going to give them what they want which is chicken nuggets and then it’s this vicious cycle where kids never learn how to try new foods how to experience or be exposed to different tastes. Because we are catering and planning meals around there limited choices that we’ve exposed them to. So for this parent, I’d say, depending on how well the child, is first of all parents have to be good role models. And I find a lot of parents don’t eat lots of fruits and vegetables.

Vicky: Why does Aiden want this sugary cereal? Well, I’m the one that bought it and is in my pantry and it is a choice available to him. So sometimes I think it is the parent’s fault.

Jen: It is all the parent’s fault.

Lauren Niemes: You know we can look and say oh well society and advertising and marketing power are powerful. And kids have gotten in control and parents have to recognize their responsibility is to offer healthy choices to their children and then it is the child’s responsibility to decide how much of what each of those foods that they’re going to eat so that they could say OK here this is what dinner is tonight and maybe your child is not going to eat the broccoli because they don’t like the broccoli but they will eat the pasta and the milk and the fruit and that’s OK. You’ve offered and exposed your child to a variety of foods and one meal is not going to hurt a child’s personal status.

Jen: And what I’ve kind of found, as a new parent of young kids, to worry about that. Well, what if Jade hasn’t really eaten much today. Maybe I should just give her something so that she eats.

Jen: And I think I have to credit my mom a lot for that because she’s like it’s OK if she’s hungry she’ll eat it. And Jane is always a lot smaller than Jasmine. So that kind of added a little bit to my worry but I think I’ve done pretty well. They get a fruit pretty much every meal and the veggies I still sneak those in a lot. I do. And I know Vicki’s going to freak when I say this but I will give my kids macaroni and cheese but I buy still Chard baby food of orange vegetables you know I can use squash sweet potatoes carrots the mixed vegetables. I pour that whole bad boy into Mac n cheese and they eat it up and they don’t know. Now I want them to be able to eat veggies knowing that it’s a veggie and they are actually doing a lot better. But there was a time when I couldn’t get him to do that. So I’m tricking him.

Vicky: Lauren what you think about tricking them with baby food?

Lauren Niemes: OK. I think there are two things going on here. One, we do what kids do get the nutrients that are in apples and so sometimes sneaking them in is a perfectly fine thing to do. Grading up a carrot into spaghetti sauce or baby pureed beans. But you do want to continue to expose them to the whole real foods.

Lauren Niemes: And there’s research that shows it can take up to 15 exposures to a food before a child even try it. Consistency. That’s why you don’t want parents to plan a meal around their child. Plan a meal for you and the adults in the house. Have some things in the meal that you know a child will eat. But the exposure of seeing it smelling it seeing you eat it. The role models in their life. Just tasting a little bit and then spitting it out. It’s the repeated exposures and sometimes it may not be till they are in high school. But kids are going to get out of their picky phase.

Vicky: And with Jasmine and Jade. They’re getting the nutrients but they’re not getting that exposure.

Jen: They do. I do that too. You know Jasmine has hated carrots until like three months ago. And I would constantly put them out. And I never gave up. And I got Jade to do it first. And then you know just a couple of months ago Jasmine is like oh carrots and I’m like look at her like who are you. And then and she sat there and ate like 4 carrots.

Lauren Niemes: Right. Especially in those early years. You know from 2-5 we’re really just beginning to explore their likes and dislikes and new tastes and textures and things like that. The kids will go on to food jags and then like something one day and then not like it the next and then all of a sudden they’ll try it. But the thing is you don’t want the food to become a point of tension or a battleground between parent and child. You really just want to offer it first. If they choose not to eat it then fine. You may want to have a rule in your house you have to try it. You have to have one little bite.

Vicky: Now what do you do if they don’t eat at all?

Lauren Niemes: If they’re hungry, they’ll eat. I mean that’s the key thing is that kids do and they go through different energy spurts. But young children especially there’s research shows they’re very much in tune to their energy needs.

Lauren Niemes: And it’s not until about 3 or 4 that kids start to lose perception of hunger and fullness because we are forcing them to clean their plate because parents are panicking about oh they need to eat this much. Kids at young ages have an innate sense of knowing what their needs are.

Jen: So that happens between 3 and 4 they start to because of…

Lauren Niemes: It’s a societal thing. They’ve actually done some studies. By the time kids are in kindergarten, they sort of lost that that judgment. There’s research that for adults – the more food in front of us the larger quantities we consume.

Jen: That kind of comes back to dining out again. When you get to eat the portions are huge. And you know what we eat the whole darn thing. And I have a friend who decided he was going to lose weight. And every time they ate out constantly they didn’t have kids they could afford to and that’s what they enjoyed to do. But every time he got the meal he would he would order a doggie bag with his food when it would come he would cut it in half put half in the to-go box and just eat the half. And it worked.

Vicky: And I can totally agree with that because my husband Doug in the past year has lost a lot of weight. And the reason he has is that he stopped eating when he was comfortable and that was really good instead of getting stuff.

Vicky: You stop when you’re comfortable and you know that’s really good. And I’m sure I could eat a second plate and I could eat more but in 10 or 15 minutes he’s comfortable in it. He’s actually very full. The flip side of that is eating that second plate, eating that third helping because it’s so good you can’t stop. And then 15 or 20 minutes later you’re absolutely miserable. Food coma. And how many times have you seen I need to unbutton my pants? And that’s worked for Doug. He’s lost so much weight and it’s rubbed off on me as well. I can’t tell you the last time I ever said I need to unbutton my pants because we just don’t eat to that level where we’re miserable.

Lauren Niemes: I think that’s one of the simplest strategies that people could use today is just monitoring or thinking about the portions that they’re eating. We have a portion late at the Nutrition Council that just shows half of your plate should be fruits and vegetables. Small portions moderate portions of grains and then of meat. And I know somebody who lost 81 pounds just by eating her meals off of this portion plate. And it takes that 20 minutes to register.

Vicky: So smaller portions are key. What about this — I hear all the time “you shouldn’t eat three huge meals”, “you should eat five smaller meals”, or “snack more healthy snacks throughout the day”. What about that? Is that true?

Lauren Niemes: Yes there is research that shows metabolically for our body it’s much healthier to spread your caloric intake over the course of a day into three small meals and two to three small snacks. The challenge is small so you can take me and add two stacks do it. You have to take a little bit of those calories away from your breakfast or your lunch and put them into that small snack. And again you sort of have to monitor what am I use choosing as a snack. Is it a 280 calorie Snickers bar or is it a 60 calorie apple with a tablespoon of peanut butter or something like that.

Send Lauren buffets are out, aren’t they?

Oh, I call. What do you call pig trough? Well, it’s just set you up.

I mean if you can go in and you know what you’re going to choose. But again there’s excellent research that shows the more variety we’re faced with the more calories we consume and more choice in the larger quantities the more meals and you want your money’s worth.

Peep when you have 99 what you got to make sure you eat six bucks and you realize you’re wasting calories. Pass your lips there on your hips and we’re overconsuming.

You know 3000 calories one pound of fat is 3500 calories and at a buffet that doesn’t take a whole many. A lot of trips up to the buffet line to get that many calories. And if you aren’t getting exercise once your body has it doesn’t want to let it go. You know for a Snickers bar it takes something like 52 minutes to walk off that those calories in one Snickers bar.

Well speaking of buffets and finishing up on the dining out what cuisine would be like the worst to choose and maybe what would be the best like. If you talk in Mexican or don’t say Mexicans

You know I think when we look at Americanized versions of all of these are probably not accurate. We somehow contaminated I don’t know how to say it but like if you look at the mix of the traditional Mexican foods it’s very healthy because it’s beans and vegetables and whole grains of corn tortillas. But by the time it gets to a restaurant here we load it with sour cream and cheese and guacamole and all those calories.

Good stuff and we do the same thing with like Chinese.

So by the time we know deep fried the sweet and sour chicken and have these huge portions we sort to have again adulterated a very healthy cuisine that’s traditional cuisine and made it unhealthy. So I think you have to there’s healthy choices in every kind of restaurant that you go to. You just have to learn how to read a menu and how to limit portion size.

Ok. Make better choices. I mean you can still dine now and you can still cause that’s fine. So you don’t have to cook and you’re usually gathering with friends and stuff to make better choices.

I think you have to look at the occasion. If it’s a one time special event go and enjoy what you want to. But if it’s something where you’re eating out like with your family three or four times a week because you’re going to sacrifice or something then you really need to do your homework and look. And most restaurants especially chain restaurants have nutrition information available online. And so you can go and sort of look oh some healthier choices that I can make.

And we’re providing some of those links on our Web site. One article that we found was you know if you’re going to eat Indian food. Here are some choices. If you’re going for pizza tonight here are some choices ways to lower that fat and calorie.

Now I’ve also read that beverages will just eat up all the calories and fat that you’re supposed to have in one day that you beverages are something you need to be selective about up.

Can you elaborate on that? We’re going to get it to the queen needs to hear that. Now let me have it.

Let me galleries calories whether it is coming from a soft drink or a fruit juice or coffee Kongi drink great drinks so many calories so quickly we don’t realize.

And so for example a 20 ounce bottle of a soft drink has on the average I think about 250 calories and that is a large chunk. Like for an adult woman if you only need 16 hundred calories in a day to have an eighth of that coming from empty sugar is a lot. And sometimes people will drink two or three of these in a day. Some of the coffee flavored coffee drinks for 500 calories very easily so that’s in your head.

I don’t drink coffee.

I like the fufu coffee drinks with the whipped cream and all of that says add up very very quickly.

And that’s one thing. We have a whole display in a fact sheet on rethink your drink. I mean even with fruit juice that people think oh this is healthy because it’s from fruit but if you’re drinking a 16 ounce glass of it. And check how big your glasses are at home because everything has gotten bigger. That’s just way too many calories from a very easily absorbed sugar.

I have in front of me these little test tubes that are just full of sugar right next to a pitcher of Mountain Dew.

It’s really Beauman. I think will scan that in or take a photo and share it with our listeners on our Web site because that’s pretty amazing. I had no idea there was that much sugar in drinks.

Well and then the high fructose corn syrup too that just can’t be good for you.

So the problem is Lauren then they’re made of bad stuff right. They’re very high in calories and they’re not doing anything for you. They’re not filling you up. So you’re still eating the same amount of food that packing on extra calories because of these beverages.

So the best thing to drink is water.

I wish we could you know look at how the food was put here in its natural form on this earth. That really is the best thing for our body.

What about all the people out there who think they’re doing OK by drinking diet sodas.

You know I say everything sort of a continuum. On one end we have water which is what our body is made of and is meant to drink. And on the other end, we have soft drinks and diet soft drinks are little in the middle. You’re not getting the calories but it’s still a chemicals.

There’s nothing that’s going it wasn’t a nice way to say that they needed it.

There’s nothing in there that’s going to promote your health. Some fruit juice even though it’s easily digested absorbed sugar it has some vitamins and minerals in it versus that can of chemicals the diet. It’s probably just the caffeine and I sort of consider that end of the spectrum health robbers that they really aren’t doing anything to nourish or take care of your body besides providing you with caffeine that if you got enough to sleep and exercise you may not.