Review of Diets

Review of Diets

funoatmealreakfastg_600x450The blue print for Live It Nutrition comes from the research in the following books: South Beach Diet, Flat Belly Diet, Mediterranean Diet, Dash Diet and Good Carbs, Bad Carbs. They offer guidelines that easily develop into a lifestyle. You will not find stringent, restrictive plans, rather scientific principles that support weight loss, give you more energy, and contribute to lifelong health. Utilizing these strategies you will shift from a vague hopefulness about weight loss to a confidence. There is an overlap of key concepts: targeting belly fat with mufa’s, regulating your insulin response with the glycemic index, and creating a healthful meal plan with fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fish, lean proteins, nuts, seeds and beans, low fat dairy, and heart healthy fats. This review will help you understand OUR approach in designing your Live It (mealplan). What we work on together, the meals and snacks in your Live It come from the theory in the following books.


South Beach Diet

This book, written by Cardiologist, Dr. Arthur Agatston explains the complex picture of metabolic syndrome, and how to reverse it. This diet was created as an answer to a frustrated physician who could not help his patients lose weight. “Back in the mid-90’s I was but one of many Cardiologists who had grown disillusioned with the low-fat, high-carbohydrate diet that the American Heart Association recommended…None of the low-fat regimens of that era seemed to work reliably, especially over the long haul. My concern was not with my patient’s appearance: I wanted to find a diet that would help prevent or reverse the myriad of heart and vascular problems that stem from obesity. I never found such a diet. Instead, I developed one myself.”

Dr. Agatston created a diet in response to a frustrating time in nutriton history.   I was a Registered Dietitian at a NYC Hospital during the 90’s and he is absolutely right. The low-fat, high CHO diet not only didn’t work, it made people fatter!  Also, the glycemic index was emerging and regrettably we were told as dietetic interns NOT to use this in our nutrition instruction, “it would confuse them”. We learned the science behind it but did not put it into practice. Today, the GLYCEMIC INDEX forms the basis for why these diets work. It is the science of food and its effect in your body; and one of several strategies you will use in your Live It.

The South Beach Diet teaches you about carbohydrates and limits the high glycemic ones that cause insulin to surge. It is a delicious plan that encourages heart healthy fats and “good” CHO’s.  It is a healthy, enjoyable way of eating that can help you reach and maintain your ideal weight for life.

Next, take a look at “The South Beach Diet Wake-Up Call”. Right on the cover it reads: “Why America is STILL getting Fatter and Sicker. Plus 7 simple strategies for reversing our toxic lifestyle”  Dr. Agatston is not letting this go, and he once again in a crystal clear approach explains why America is still getting fatter, and how to FIX IT. His 7 simple strategies for reversing our toxic lifestyle are relevant to all of us. They will benefit the whole family.


Flat Belly Diet


The Flat Belly Diet was created by the Editors of Prevention and like South Beach targets central obesity, and stubborn belly fat. Again, it is science! “The Flat Belly diet does not offer you magic.   I generally recommend a reread of the Harry Potter books for that. But it offers something better: science. Science beats magic every time because science is real and can live up to its promises.”  The Flat Belly Diet emphasizes MUFA’s, monounsaturated fatty acids, pronounced MOO-fahs. In 2007 Spanish researchers published a study in the journal Diabetes Care showing that a diet high in MUFA’s prevents weight gain in your belly. Specifically, a high MUFA diet was found to reduce the accumulation of belly fat and, more specifically, visceral belly fat. Excess belly fat is associated with insulin resistance, among other harmful effects. So, here is the science of 2 diets targeting central obesity and insulin resistance. Your LIVE-IT will contain MUFA’s. Here are the benefits of MUFA’s:

MUFA’s Cut Metabolic Syndrome Risk

MUFA’s Reduce Inflammation

MUFA’s Lower Your Risk of Breast Cancer

MUFA’s Keep Your Brain Healthy

MUFA’s extend Your Life

MUFA’s Target Belly Fat


Just to be certain you keep reading…as you may be thinking, I am not going to eat MUFA’s they sound strange, here are your MUFA choices: olives, oils (safflower, olive, canola…), nuts and seeds, avocados, dark chocolate.

Mediterranean Diet

This way of eating has been around for hundreds of years. The groundbreaking Rockefeller foundation study of the Cretan diet stated that, ”olives, cereal grains, pulses, wild greens and herbs, and fruits, together with limited quantities of goat meat and milk, game, and fish have remained the basic Cretan foods for 40 centuries…no meal was complete without bread…(and) olives, and olive oil contributed heavily to the energy intake.”

Stress is addressed at length in the Mediterranean Diet. This way of life is one of happiness, hard work, close relationships with family and friends, oneness with the earth. The authors sum it up, ”Beyond the ingredients themselves, eating the traditional Mediterranean way is a philosophy in itself: Life is for savoring, and food is a glorious and beautiful expression of life.”  

The Mediterranean diet emphasizes lowering saturated fat intake, encouraging heart healthy fats, fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, olives; and whole grains.

Do you see the pattern and overlap of these diets: heart healthy fats, nuts and seeds, high fiber via whole grains, fruits and vegetables; all working together to minimize rise in blood sugar and resultant insulin release, as well as targeting harmful belly fat.

The Dash Diet

saladOne of my favorite diets! It has been around since the 90’s. I can remember how excited we were as dietetic interns to hear about DASH and its effect on blood pressure. DASH has an interesting origin. The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (a division of the National Institute of Health) brought together fifty researchers to design the DASH Study. Their research was published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 1997, showing a drop in systolic blood pressure of 11 points – about as much as could be expected with a blood pressure medication. Since then other DASH studies have shown additional benefits: reduces the development of hypertension, heart failure, heart attacks, kidney stones and even reduces the risk of developing colon cancer.

DASH which stands for: Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension has been voted the Number 1 diet by US News and World Reports for 5 years in a row. The plan emphasizes: fruits, vegetables, low fat dairy, whole grains, nuts, seeds, beans, lean meats, fish and poultry, and heart healthy fats. The most recent DASH books are: 2014: The Dash Diet: Younger You, and 2012: The Dash Diet: Weight Loss Solution.   With Weigh Loss Solution you will see it is a lower starch version of the earlier books. This is important- DASH has continued to update its books with the latest research and now it is more focused on good CHO’s and avoidance of empty calories from refined grains and added sugars.

I’m sure you are noticing how all of these diets are emphasizing the same principles, emphasis on a plant based diet high in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, beans, seeds, low fat dairy, heart healthy fats, lean protein.


Good Carbs, Bad Carbs

This book is written by Registered Dietitian, Johanna Burani, a leading researcher in the United States on the glycemic index. She uses it successfully in her Nutrition Counseling Practice in Wayne, New Jersey. It explains how choosing the right carbs (good carbs) will help you control hunger, lose weight, control blood sugar, improve heart health, and feel great/improve energy by maintaining a stable blood sugar.

Johanna emphasizes the importance of carbohydrates as the body’s fuel of choice, and illustrates the difference between good carbs (trickers) and bad carbs (gushers). This book shows the direct impact your choice of carb has on your body. I cannot think of a more perfect way to describe carbs than as tricklers or gushers. It’s very clear: a trickler (good carb, low to moderate glycemic index) is a slowly digested carb that provides a steady supply of glucose into the blood that helps you to feel satisfied by maintaining a stable blood sugar.  A gusher (bad carb, high glycemic index) is a rapidly digested carb that causes a rapid rise, then drop in blood sugar which can make you feel hungry, tired, irritable. Gushers encourage your body to store fat because gushers force more insulin to circulate in the blood.

Tricklers include: fruits, vegetables, whole grains and dairy. Gushers are highly processed foods where fiber has been stripped away, like junk food, white flour and white sugar based products, soda, sweetened drinks, candy, cookies, doughnuts ,processed cereals, instant or quick products, convenience foods…

Johanna writes in a conversational style as if you were her patient. Her patient success stories are inspiring especially when you consider the tremendous results for relatively minor changes in diet.


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