Everything You Need to Know About the Keto Diet
YOU: On a Diet
The authors of YOU: On a Diet recommend lifestyle changes that they say will take the mystery out of losing weight and shrinking waist fat.
By Madeline R. Vann, MPH
Medically Reviewed by Pat F. Bass III, MD, MPH
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YOU: On a Dietis the healthy lifestyle book written by Mehmet Oz, MD, and Michael Roizen, MD. More than a simple diet plan, the book explains the science behind fat storage and fat loss (focusing on waist fat specifically) and advises a regular program of walking, stretching, and strength-training exercises in addition to following a healthier diet.
“This book does a good job of describing the biology of weight, appetite, and diet in easy-to -understand terms,” says Dariella Gaete, RD, owner of Eat Freely Nutrition Counseling and Consulting in Long Beach, Calif. “However, the book is less comprehensive in describing the behavioral and emotional components of eating and dieting.”
The authors focus more on overall health than on losing weight in particular, and they measure based on whether your waist fat is shrinking.
“It’s about waist management, not weight management,” observes Andrea Giancoli, RD, MPH, nutrition coordinator for the Los Angeles Unified School District in California and spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association. “The [authors] come from the perspective that the more abdominal fat you have, the more at risk you are for chronic diseases.”
The authors’ stated concept is to help people diet smartly, withour extreme effort. This diet is not about developing willpower because the authors feel most people will fail if they approach weight loss that way.YOU: On a Dietattempts to teach people how to change their environment to get to the waistline they’re looking for.
YOU: On a Diet: How Does It Work?
Here are the basics of the diet:
- Two-week introduction.During this period, you will eat a fairly strict, repetitive diet intended to break you of your bad eating habits and start instilling newer, healthier habits. You will begin targeting waist fat by eliminating the refined sugars and unhealthy fats that the authors believe age the body and promote inflammation; the diet emphasizes food choices that aim to reduce your risk of serious illnesses, like heart disease.
- Waist measurement.Throughout the program you will keep track of your waistline — you’ll need to buy a tape measure if you don’t already have one.
- Exercise.YOU: On a Dietrecommends walking at least 30 minutes a day with an additional stretching program. The book also provides a guide to a 20-minute strengthening program to be done three times a week.
- Food exchange.You will clear out unhealthy foods in your home to make room for more whole foods. The diet emphasizes fiber and lean protein.
- Repetitive meals.YOU: On a Dietrecommends eating the same healthy foods for breakfast and lunch most days. Cutting down on food choices is thought to help weight loss. Dinner provides more variety.
These changes attack waist fat by burning calories more effectively and readjusting the balance of insulin and blood sugar in your body to better manage body fat.
YOU: On a Diet: Sample Diet
You’ll have a small snack of a healthy fat, such as a handful of almonds, before a meal — the idea being this will prolong your feeling of fullness. Typical meals include a combination of steamed vegetables, whole grains, and baked fish or chicken, certain types of frozen meal entrees, or a whole-wheat pizza loaded with vegetables.
YOU: On a Diet: Pros
There are several benefits to following the plan outlined inYOU: On a Diet:
- Healthier eating.The diet’s emphasis on whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and healthy fats falls in line with general recommendations for healthier eating, says Giancoli.
- Exercise.YOU: On a Dietstresses the importance of exercise, which is beneficial for health as well as weight control.
- Waist management.Many people may find that tracking progress in inches or centimeters is more effective and rewarding than watching the scale.
- Author credibility.The authors are medical doctors with sufficient training to make reliable diet recommendations, says Giancoli.
- Smart approach.“Their whole thing is knowledge is power,” says Giancoli, adding that the book is both informative and fun, which can make it more palatable for many dieters.
- Lifetime plan.“It’s a lifestyle book, not a quick fix,” says Giancoli. Ultimately, she says, the principles for healthy eating and exercise explained in the book could be the foundation for a long term way of living.
YOU: On a Diet: Cons
The drawbacks to the diet are:
- It doesn't address emotional eating.“As a registered dietitian who has worked extensively with clients that are emotional eaters, I don’t think this book would help them solve their problems,” says Gaete.
- Research claims are unsubstantiated.“The authors refer to research, but they don't describe the studies or list the source of the findings,” Gaete says.
- Challenging introductory period.Giancoli says that many people may be challenged by the “mono-diet” recommended in the first 10 days of the diet. “I’m still not 100 percent confident that having less variety is going to cause you to eat less,” she says. The limited list of acceptable foods could frustrate some people, even though after that period, the diet’s variety increases. Giancoli notes that some people do better making gradual changes rather than leaping into a new lifestyle.
YOU: On a Diet: Short- and Long-Term Effects
This is a diet that can result in lost inches and pounds, agree Gaete and Giancoli. It has not been studied in the long term to know whether following this specific diet plan will result in a permanent weight reduction. However, says Giancoli, the basic concepts in the book have been shown to have long-term health benefits.
“It’s really based on the same principles that we are all pushing. Diets that are higher in plant foods and whole grains means less type 2 diabetes, less heart disease, and less chronic disease,” Giancoli says.
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