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5 Reason to Forego Fad Diets

18 Nov

5 Reason to Forego Fad Diets


People start getting crazy about food this time of year. The holidays can be stressful and lead to unwanted weight gain. If you’re going to battle the bulge – fad diets are NOT the way to go.

Here’s a  quick rundown of 5 Reasons to Forego Fad Diets that I put together for TOPS: Taking Pounds Off Sensibly:

  • Water Weight is Not Fat Loss – most fad diets promote water weight that is easily gained back
  • Carbs are Still King – the majority of your calories should come from carbohydrate, but the good kind of carbs
  • Slow and Steady Wins the Race – a weight loss rate of 1-2 pounds per week is ideal
  • Your Diet Shouldn’t Deprive You – a sustainable meal plan is one that leaves you feeling satiated
  • The Scale Isn’t All That Matters – other metrics like waist circumference and your mood make sense to calculate too!

To download the full pdf, click here.


TOPS (Take Off Pounds Sensibly) is the short name for TOPS Club, Inc., the original nonprofit, noncommercial network of weight-loss support groups and wellness education organization. TOPS offers tools and programs for healthy living and weight management, with exceptional group fellowship and recognition. Established in 1948 to champion weight-loss support and success, we’ve helped millions of people live healthier lives. To learn more visit

Disclosure: I am a paid nutrition consultant for TOPS Club, Inc. I was paid to create the content in this blog post, although I was not paid for this particular blog post.

2 Ingredients: Is That It?!

1 Jun

2 Ingredients: Is That It?!

When it comes to ingredient lists: less is more. And turns out, you can find short, real food ingredient lists in packaged foods.

Wait, packaged foods?!

Yep, that’s right, it’s ok to occasionally break out of your real food cocoon and eat a bar or two. (And while you’re at it – check out “Why We Need to Stop Calling All Unhealthy Foods ‘Processed‘” with great input from Registered Dietitian Dawn Jackson Blatner).

But back to the bars.

I recently sampled That’s It fruit bars. That’s right: a bar called That’s It. Why? Because all it contains is fruit. And that’s it.

I happened upon That’s It at Starbucks, not a place known for simple, wholesome snacks. Regardless, I was fiending for some fiber and the flavor I found was Apple Blueberry.

The ingredient list says it all: Apples & Blueberries (or, if you want to get specific: it’s 1 apple and 20 blueberries. But really, that’s it).

To be fair, the bar is small – but it packs 4 grams of fiber in 100 calories, a significant fiber find that more than easily fits Harvard’s 10:1 ratio recommendation for 10 grams of carbohydrate for at least every 1 gram of fiber (which works for whole grains but also fruit foods).

Now, don’t go freaking out about 19 grams of sugar per bar, because if you’re eating real fruit, guess what? It’s pure, good old fashioned carbohydrate, aka fructose, the naturally occurring sugar in fruit that also brings with it valuable vitamins and phytochemicals.

I think it’s a fiber faux pas that some other mainstream bars are foregoing fruit because consumers don’t understand natural vs. added sugars. But I also think a 2 ingredient snack is a great addition to the overly saturated barrage of bars on market shelves these days.

Although it’s pretty perfect and a dietitian’s dream snack, if I had to pick a bone with That’s It, it would be because of some of the bunk nutrition information on their blog.

Alkalizing fruits and flat belly foods? Come on! A product with a pure ingredient list should be touting its benefits rather than hiding behind sham science.

At the end of the day, you get a nutrition expert to clean up that feed and this high fiber snack is good as gold! You can procure this product at Starbucks, the That’s It online store, or in your local area by using their store finder.



But First…Fix Your Fiber Problem

19 Feb

But First…Fix Your Fiber Problem

There’s no doubt that nutrition advice can be confusing, and sometimes downright contradictory.

One week egg yolks are good for you, the next they’re super bad. Does diet soda make you fat? Does diet soda help fight fat? As a Registered Dietitian, this nutrition nonsense is essentially my job security :)

But even I would agree: nutrition guidelines can get ugly. Case in point: the American Heart Association’s completely over-complex “Guidelines on Lifestyle Management to Reduce Cardiovascular Risk“.

Among other things, this 46 page publications advises adherents to:

  • Eat at least 30 grams of high-fiber foods each day
  • Eat fish twice a week
  • Get protein from vegetables and lean meats
  • Get 50% to 55% of calories from carbohydrates, 15% to 20% of calories from protein, and 30% to 35% of calories from fat (including just 7% of calories from saturated fat and less than 1% from trans fats)
  • Eat less than 300 milligrams of cholesterol per day
  • Minimize sugar, sodium and sugar-sweetened beverages
  • Drink no more than a moderate amount of alcohol

If you stopped reading after bullet point number 1 – you might just be ok.

And that is because earlier this week a study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine with a very unique study design. The study showed that complex diet recommendations might not matter, and maybe all you need is fiber.

The study authors divided 240 obese subjects into 2 groups: one who got all of those above AHA dietary recommendations, and another group told to just eat 30 grams of fiber per day.

The results weren’t earth shattering, and both groups lost weight at the end of the year period: the AHA group lost 6 pounds on average and the fiber group lost 4.6.

What was interesting was that the fiber group actually did increase their fiber intake by 4.7 grams per day whereas the AHA group – with all of that additional info that didn’t really work to help lose weight – only ate an additional 1.3 grams.

Since the typical American eats only 10-12 grams of fiber per day – but needs more like 30 grams, a 4.7 gram per day increase from healthy foods like fruits and vegetables and whole grains is pretty promising.

What’s the take away message? Sometimes it pays to cut out the clutter and ignore the nutrition noise. Sticking to 1 recommendation, like working to increase fiber, can have a secondary effect of improving your overall diet.

Fiber Food Additive to Fight Appetite

20 Jan

Fiber Food Additive to Fight Appetite

Every fiber fan knows that fiber makes you feel full. But there comes a point when you can only rationalize so much roughage!

Well – lucky for you, scientists in the United Kingdom have isolated a food additive that promotes satiety, and its name is proponiate.

A small study published in the online journal Gut showed that people given the additive proponiate gained less weight over a 24-week period compared to those who were given inulin. The proponiate people also had less abdominal and liver fat than the inulin group.

Proponiate is produced when dietary fiber is fermented in the gut. By delivering proponiate to the colon, researchers theorized that they could increase peptide YY (PYY) and glucagon like peptide-1 (GLP-1) secretion, which in turn would reduce calorie intake and blunt weight gain in overweight adults.

Now you can’t run to the store to pick up proponiate just yet – or probably anytime soon. But maybe down the road? The scientists did comment that these findings may represent, “a novel route to improve weight management at the population level.”


The Skinny on Potato Skins

15 Jan

The Skinny on Potato Skins

Carb smart consumers know, when you’re sizing up starchy foods, “If it’s white…walk away!”

We’re talking white bread, white rice, white pasta, white crackers…and then someone inevitably asks, “But what about white potatoes?”

For this fiber fan, white potatoes are the exception to the walk away from white foods rule.

A common misconception is that most of the potato’s nutrients are found only in the skin. According to the US Potato Board,  “The majority (>50 percent) of the nutrients are found within the potato itself.”

A medium-sized potato with its skin on has about 4 grams of fiber; and half of the potato’s fiber is found in the skin. So if you ditch the flesh, you’re depriving yourself of half of your potato’s fiber goodness.

And it’s not just fiber that one finds in potatoes. That same potato has more potassium than a banana and almost half (45%) of your daily value for vitamin C.

Now granted, it’s sometimes what you put ON the potato that can set you back. The Loaded Potato Skins appetizer at TGI Fridays has 1,430 calories and a day-and-a-half worth of saturated fat. And you can bet it’s not the potato that’s the problem there!

If you want a skinny skin, try scooping some of the flesh and piling on steamed broccoli, reduced-fat shredded cheese, and some low fat sour cream for good measure.

For some great potato recipe ideas, check out the US Potato Board’s recipes at

Sponsored Post Disclosure: I have previously been compensated by the US Potato Board; I was not paid for this post and the thoughts & opinions are my own.