Posted Jan 15, 2010

Many of us are resolving to eat better and slim down in 2011. There’s no shortage of advice, often conflicting, out there in books and websites.

To cut through the confusion, we sought advice from experts who have helped make Durham the “diet capital of the world.”

Durham is home to The Rice Diet Program, the Duke Diet & Fitness Center, Structure House and low-carb researcher Dr. Eric Westman’s Lifestyle Medicine Clinic at Duke University. It may have more dieters and diet professionals per capita than any other city in the country.

Here are tips (and recipes) to start 2011 on a healthier note.

Elisabetta Politi, nutrition director of the Duke Diet & Fitness Center, offers this guidance:

Keep a daily log. Write down what and how much you eat. Many patients tell Politi that they don’t eat that much. But when she asks them to keep a log, they both learn the truth. Writing it down, she says, helps you make better food choices and be more accountable to yourself. “You think twice before having a snack,” she says. It’s not a bad idea to have a registered dietitian look over your log to suggest healthy changes to your diet.

Eat more fruits and vegetables. This old standby is often repeated because it works. To prove the point, Politi shares the calorie counts for two restaurant meals featuring grilled salmon but different sides. If you order salmon with mashed potatoes and asparagus with hollandaise sauce, the meal will have up to 1,100 calories. If you order it with steamed asparagus and grilled zucchini, it has only 490 calories. “Your plate is still full. You don’t feel deprived. You are eating fewer calories,” she says.

Eat breakfast. Research shows eating a full meal in the morning prevents people from overeating later in the day.

Kitty Gurkin Rosati is the nutrition director of The Rice Diet Program and author of the best-selling books, “The Rice Diet Solution,” “Heal Your Heart,” and “The Rice Diet Cookbook.” She offers these tips:

Set goals. Then use your brain to commit to them. Tell your goals to a friend. Have that friend repeat them back to you. Meditate on your goals. Listen to music while you write those goals in a journal. It is part of an effort, Rosati explains, to engage all parts of your brain in committing to your weight loss and fitness goals — a practice that she sees work again and again with her patients.

Eliminate salt. Salt, Rosati says, can be as much of a trigger to overeat as sugar in some people.

Dr. Eric Westman, who advocates a low-carb approach, had these suggestions:

Avoid s ugar in drinks. Stay away from sodas, juices and energy drinks loaded with sugar. Stick to water, teas and coffee — and avoid adding that teaspoon or two of sugar or honey.

Try a new resource. Westman suggests low-carb websites,, , and Linda’s Low Carb Menus & Recipes,

All recipe links are to the right under “Related Content.” or 919-829-4848

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Copyright © 2011, The News & Observer, Raleigh, N.C.

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