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New diet plan emphasizes power foods that will have lasting effects on your waistline.

Imagine basking in the sun while relishing a plate full of fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and lean meats. Between bites, you sip a glass of wine, keenly aware that not too far away are hikers, bikers, and small slopes sprinkled with olive trees and apple groves.

Believe it or not, this is a scenario offered by one of the latest diet books on the market. The Sonoma Diet: Trimmer Waist, Better Health in Just 10 Days! by Connie Guttersen, PhD, RD, is a weight lossplan that promotes the healthy and flavorful eating style of the Mediterranean and Sonoma Valley.

"Flavor is an important part of health and weight loss," says Guttersen. She says many diets fail because they don't pay attention to taste, an important part of eating and sticking to a weight loss plan. "With most diets, you're counting the days until it's over. They don't stick with you as a lifestyle."

Reinforcing Healthy Lifestyles

Further encouraging the Sonoma diet lifestyle is a book cover graced with rolling green hills and sunlit vines. The inner cover has illustrations of the plan's top 10 power foods: almonds, bell peppers, blueberries, broccoli, grapes, olive oil, spinach, strawberries, tomatoes, and whole grains.

These power foods are considered the core of the Sonoma diet. They are incorporated in many meals and recipes in the book. The power foods are touted not only as delicious but also essential to good health and weight loss, in the right proportions. According to Guttersen, they "offer the most nutritional bang for the calorie buck."

Guttersen's cover profile appears to reinforce all the knowledge and advice she imparts in The Sonoma Diet. She is a registered dietitian who has helped develop standards of care for a medical obesity treatment center in Bellevue, Wash. She is a culinary expert, and she is a nutrition consultant to the renowned Culinary Institute of America at Greystone.

"I was very excited that it was written by a registered dietitian. That's always a good thing," says Elisa Zied, MSRD, a spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association. Yet when Zied first picked up the book, she worried and hoped the Sonoma diet would not be another unhealthy gimmick for quick weight loss.

WebMD asked Zied and another nutrition expert, Roger Clemens, DrPH, food science communicator for the Institute of Food Technologists, to review The Sonoma Diet. Zied and Clemens not only shared their thoughts about the plan but also offered suggestions on how dieters can shed pounds and live a truly healthy lifestyle.

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