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From Fat to Fit in the New Year

Wednesday, December 29, 2004 at 11:45 AM

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Web Exclusive - An interview with Cindy Moore, director of Nutrition Therapy at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation, conducted by ideastream's Marie Andrusewicz.

If someone were to make only one change in their diet for the new year, what would you recommend?

Cindy Moore: I don’t think there’s one change that’s appropriate for everybody, but I think what you just said is right on target - they should limit themselves to one change. Think of one change that will have an impact on your life. What that change should be varies with each person. For example, for the person who frequently eats out in fast food restaurants, one thing they could do is eat two to three servings of fruit a day - or even eat one - especially when you’re eating at fast food restaurants, you aren’t getting enough fruit. For someone who eats at home, maybe their one change is to include fish in their meals at least twice a week. For a woman at any age, they could include more sources of calcium in their diet - drinking two glasses of milk a day, or maybe consuming more yogurt and cheese.

Do you have any advice for anyone trying to lose weight in the new year?

Cindy Moore: One of the things that people think about when they want to lose weight is what they need to cut back on. What I encourage people to think about is what they’re going to include. Someone could choose to start eating more foods with high water content, like fruits and vegetables. These foods fill people up and they also have lots of nutrients.

What is the biggest obstacle to progress?

Cindy Moore: The biggest one is when people overdo it and try to eliminate all of the foods that they’ve decided are the “bad things” and by day two or three, they’re so hungry they’re ready to eat their desk. They key is to eat foods that have a lot of nutrients but not a lot of calories. That may mean eating low fat dip with your baby carrots.

How should people handle those cravings for forbidden foods?

Cindy Moore: I think most people understand that cookies, cakes and candies have a lot of calories and I’m not advocating that people continue to eat those. But if someone is a big consumer of those items, I don’t ever recommend that they entirely omit a food group forever. You can obsess over those foods if you give them up completely. You can decide to have a small amount. The key is moderation. If someone loves chocolate, for example, maybe the thing to do is buy a really special chocolate truffle. You’re going to enjoy that chocolate truffle and have something to look forward to, and it’s much better than tearing into a giant Hershey’s chocolate bar.

If you could name five foods that everyone should incorporate into their diets, what would they be?

Cindy Moore: The benefits of eating a variety of foods can’t be overstated. No matter how the food pyramid changes in the future, it will still be recommended that we have a variety of foods including grains, fruits, vegetables, and sources of calcium and protein. You can only get all of those nutrients by eating a variety of foods. This doesn’t mean eating broccoli every day or carrots every day - it’s going to mean eating a variety of fruits and vegetables from broccoli to mangoes every day.

Do you see any upcoming diet trends? Is Atkins on the way out for example?

Cindy Moore: Yes, and I’m very happy about it. I think that a lot of people have become disillusioned with it and that’s partly because of the preponderance of low carb items that were not on the market when Atkins first became popular. People didn’t have a lot of choices originally - they were going to be eating meats, burgers, fish, poultry and a little bit of greens and all that butter and bacon - they just couldn’t have the starches. A lot of people lost weight because they eliminated those items and there’s only so much protein people want to eat. But in the zeal to capture the low carb market manufacturers came out with thousands of products that they touted as low carb. You can go to a low carb store and buy low carb candy and cookies and bread. People thought they could eat all those things and still lose weight. They aren’t losing weight, and not only that, the products don’t taste very good.

Of the diet plans that are out there right now, are any of them healthy and worthwhile?

Cindy Moore: South Beach is probably one of the safer ones, particularly the second and third stages of the diet. There are also some books that I would recommend particularly as we are getting into the new year - 365 Days of Healthy Eating from the American Dietetic Association by Roberta Larson Duyuff. The reason I think it’s so good is because it gives a lot of health tips - 365 days worth - and also gives people ideas for developing positive habits and a few recipes as well.

Additional Information

* Department of Nutritional Therapy at The Cleveland Clinic Foundation
* Amazon: 365 Days of Healthy Eating from the American Dietetic Association
* WebMD: 'Superfoods' Everyone Needs
* American Dietetic Association: EatRight.org

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