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Which Diet Is Right for You?

Here's the skinny on six top diets to help you achieve weight loss success.

Is the Sonoma Diet really a diet?

Fernstrom likes the Sonoma Diet’s "cool name," but says there’s really nothing special about it. "It’s just a twist on a moderate diet." The food is delicious, but it might be too much of a good thing, she adds.

"It shouldn’t taste too good because people are going to have trouble having a small amount," she says. "You do want to enjoy food, but you still have to moderate the portions."

To help you, the diet offers a portion guide that limits your servings to a 7-inch plate or 2-cup bowl for breakfast, and a 9-inch plate for dinner. It also tells you how to fill those plates.

Bottom line? The Sonoma Diet is tasty and good for your heart, but watch the fat (olive oil and nuts are "good fats," but they’re still fats) and portion sizes. 

Diet warning signs

No matter which diet you're considering, watch for these warning signs that what seems like a perfect program won't work.

Quick weight loss. "Anything that promises more than three pounds in a week should be avoided," according to nutrition professor Donald K. Layman, PhD.

Diet gurus. "People think just because a doctor wrote a book, it's expert advice," says Layman. "Check to see if the author has studied nutrition at a very high level."

Where did the carbs go? "Anything that excludes whole food groups -- anything that says 'five magic weight-loss foods' -- simply isn’t true," explains nutrition expert Madelyn Fernstrom, PhD, CNS. No carbs, ever? No dice.

No long-term plan. "If you can’t see yourself on this diet six months or a year from now, you shouldn’t start it," Layman says.

Reviewed on May 21, 2009

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