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The Promise

A fast-approaching high school reunion could have you doing a gut check -- literally. This diet promises to help you look great and lose weight so you can wow your former classmates.

The man behind the plan is dermatologist David Colbert, MD. He says you'll eat fruits, vegetables, nuts, and fish to not only lose weight but feel satisfied as you work toward your weight loss goal.

What You Can Eat and What You Can't

Your plate on the High School Reunion Diet will most often have a mix of the following:

  • Vegetables: The more on your plate (or for snacking), the better. Veggies are rich in nutrients and low in calories, so they’re a go-to hunger satisfier.
  • Beans, legumes, nuts, and seeds: They're high in protein and filling fiber.
  • Fruit: Choose whole fruits, not fruit juice, so you benefit from the fiber.
  • Fish, poultry, and lean meat: Limit portion sizes of these healthy proteins by making meat the side dish to your vegetables.
  • Dairy products: Choose plain yogurt over flavored to avoid extra sugar. Low-fat cheeses and yogurts are OK.
  • Whole grains: These include 100% whole wheat, barley, brown rice, and steel-cut oatmeal.

You'll need to avoid processed foods like prepackaged snacks and white bread. Soda (even diet soda), energy drinks, lemonade, and iced tea are also out. Your everyday drink staple is water.

Red wine is fine in moderation, but avoid beer and hard liquor.

Level of Effort: Medium

You don't have to count calories, but you do need to make an effort to revamp your diet for results that last long after your reunion.

Cooking and shopping: You'll load up your cart with fruits, vegetables, fish, and whole grains, and fewer bakery items and snacks. Supermarket trips may take longer at first, since you’ll now read labels on all packaged foods to check for sugar.

The High School Reunion Diet includes a week's worth of sample menus, but they're only for inspiration -- you can eat whatever you like. There are enticing recipes, but you can follow the diet without cooking. Many restaurants and supermarkets sell prepared foods that fit the plan.

Packaged foods or meals: No.

In-person meetings: No.

Exercise: You should exercise daily and walk as much as possible.

Does It Allow for Dietary Restrictions or Preferences?

Vegetarians and vegans: This plan works for you. The book recommends protein from plant-based foods, such as legumes, soy, and nuts. Vegans may skip dairy products and eggs and still have many options.

Gluten-free diet: Beans, fish, poultry, fruits, vegetables, and dairy products are naturally gluten-free. Read labels on packaged foods to ensure that they're gluten-free.

Low-fat diet: You may not eat processed low-fat foods on this diet, because sugar or trans fats are often added to improve taste. The book shows you which fats are healthy and which to avoid.

Low-salt diet: You can use this diet if you're on a low-salt diet. Leave salt out of the recipes.

What Else You Should Know

Cost: None beyond your shopping and any supplements you take.

Support: You can visit the book's web site for inspiration, recipes, food recommendations, and a blog with success stories and news related to the diet.

What Maryann Jacobsen, MS, RD, Says:

Does It Work? Colbert's recommendations -- eating more whole foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy, fish, and lean meats -- are in line with most major health organizations.

Although there are no studies on his specific plan, research shows making these dietary changes can help you reach a healthy weight.

There are no food groups to avoid, but he does nix any processed, sugary foods and diet drinks, which may make the diet a challenge for some.

Is It Good for Certain Conditions?

This plan is low in saturated fat and high in fiber, making it a good choice for people with heart disease or high cholesterol. It also works well if you have diabetes as long as you watch your total carbohydrates.

If you have high blood pressure or are on a low-salt diet, you would still need to be pay attention to the salt in your food, but most of the diet’s recommended foods are naturally low in sodium.

The Final Word

This is an overall healthy plan that doesn’t require any drastic changes or eliminate entire food groups. But if you crave more structure in your diet, or enjoy the occasional splurge, this program might not be good for you.

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