'The Biggest Loser' Diet
What the Experts Say About The Biggest Loser Diet
Susan Bowerman, MS, RD, assistant director of UCLA's Center for Human Nutrition, gives the plan a thumbs-up.
"It is very similar to the plan we use at our clinics, using very low-fat and lean protein, lots of fruits and vegetables (with an emphasis on vegetables), and avoiding refined grains -- which has proven to be successful because the diet is very satiating," she says. She also recommends that dieters get plenty of omega-3 fatty acids, either in a supplement or by eating low-mercury types of fish twice weekly.
American Dietetic Association spokeswoman Amy Jamieson-Petonic, MEd, RD, also endorses the plan -- as long as you consume at least 1,200 calories daily. "It is not recommended to consume fewer than 1,200 calories a day because it is difficult to obtain the necessary vitamins, minerals, and nutrients needed for daily activities," she says.
Bowerman says the carbohydrate level in The Biggest Loser diet may not be enough for someone who is very active. "If you are functioning well and feel like you have enough energy for your workouts, then the level is fine," she says. "Otherwise, you might want to increase the carbs to meet your activity needs."
Multivitamins are not suggested in the book, but Bowerman recommends that anyone on a lower-calorie diet take a multivitamin for nutritional "insurance."
"Theoretically, you should be able to get everything you need from the plan," she says. "However, there is no reason not to include a multivitamin for your age and sex, because oftentimes both men and women lack certain nutrients, like calcium, because of dietary preferences or intolerances."
Food for Thought
If you're motivated by the television program, you can be your own "biggest loser" at home with this sensible and straightforward approach.
"It is doable, easy to adopt, and offers a wide variety of choices of exercises and food, so people really can stick with it and let it become a lifestyle plan instead of a short-fix diet," says Forberg.
Everyone in the family -- even vegetarians -- can follow this plan as long as you modify portion sizes to meet individual nutritional needs.
"We don't use the word diet," Forsberg says. "It is a plan that can work for everybody because there is so much variety, it is based on science, and everyone can benefit from a nutrient-rich eating plan that will foster weight loss and promote optimal health."
Kathleen Zelman, MPH, RD, LD, is director of nutrition for WebMD. Her opinions and conclusions are her own.