October 13, 2007

Diets, Deconstructed: The Sonoma Diet

Time to check in with New York University professor and Nickelodeon nutrition consultant Lisa Sasson!

By the way, some of you have asked me what a nutrition consultant for a children's television channel does.

Ms. Sasson is the person Nickelodeon turns to when they need help deciding what food products to put their characters on.

The Viacom-owned station recently decided to be more careful with the foods their "celebrities" like Dora the Explorer and Spongebob Squarepants endorse. A certain "healthy" cereal might seem okay to ad executives, but it is Ms. Sasson who has the final word!

Today, she reviews The Sonoma Diet: Trimmer Waist, Better Health in Just 10 Days! by Connie Guttersen and Stephanie Karpinske.

What I Like:

"This isn't a low-fat or low-carb diet. Olive oil and nuts play a big part, and whole grains like brown rice and oatmeal are included."

What I'm Not So Sure Of:

"This idea of phases. It's very cookie cutter. I guess it's what sells. I don't know how necessary it is to have distinct phases with strict rules."

What I Don't Like:

"I have many problems with this book. First of all, it talks about how it wants to emulate The Mediterranean Diet, but then it tells you NEVER to eat things that people in that part of the world eat: potatoes, regular pasta, white bread, jam. We have this notion that these foods are "bad", but that's if they are eaten in very large quantities or prepared in ways that aren't healthy, like drowning pasta in a tub of Alfredo sauce.

This woman is a registered dietitian, so I'm really surprised with some of the things she says. She starts by telling you to go through your kitchen cabinets and throw out anything with white flour or sugar. This includes something like maple syrup. No one ever got fat from drizzling a little maple syrup on their pancakes!

I also don't like the idea of eliminating fruits during the first ten days. Fruit is a great source of nutrients, and there is absolutely no evidence supporting the removal of fruit from one's diet in order to lose weight. If anything, this can be problematic because you can not turn to fruit as a way to satisfy a sweet craving.

This diet is just too restrictive, and unnecessarily so. And, it annoys me that the author keeps mentioning how "easy" it will be to lose the weight. I don't think it's necessarily an easy thing. It's OK if you initially struggle. Telling readers how easy and fun this is going to be isn't truthful.

The recipes also seem complicated and expensive.

This is definitely one of my least favorite recent diet books."

I have not read this book, but based on the above review, I have a feeling I wouldn't be very supportive of it.

I love whole grains and recommend them often (I certainly believe the large majority of your grain consumption should come from whole sources), but I would never tell someone to shun white flour and other refined grains for good.

What for? So they can feel like they "cheated" when they went to a birthday party and had a slice of cake, or went to their favorite pizza joint with a friend and had a slice?

I also don't understand the reasoning behind eliminating fruit for a period of time -- I can't imagine not being able to bite into a single piece of fruit for a week and a half!

I also know that, later on, artificial sweeteners are allowed in small amounts, yet regular sugar is not. Huh? Adding a teaspoon or two of sugar into your coffee provides, at most, 32 extra calories.

The United States definitely needs to reduce its sugar consumption, but this idea of it as an absolute evil -- even in small amounts -- is hysteria.


pudenda shenanigans said...

You're right about the white sugar/flour-is-evil hysteria. If anything, people should feel that way about high-fructose corn syrup, not the occasional teaspoon of sugar. And that includes corn-syrup pancake syrups. Maple is actually good and natural!

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This is really rich information.its true...one must keep a check on sugar control...it can lead to diabetes and also rove fatal...one must look for alternative food..

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