Awed by the healthy lifestyle of the people of Sonoma Valley, Dr. Connie Gutterson introduced the idea of Sonoma diet which is inspired a little from both Mediterranean and South beach diets.
This diet is all about making healthy food choices in terms of both quality as well as quantity.
According to Connie Gutterson, “A healthy and successful diet is not just about lowering your weight-It’s about achieving emotional balance and a positive outlook in your life.”
Connie continues to promote these ideas through lectures, books, online and also by creating recipes which, unlike the food commonly associated with diets, are not bland.
She creates recipes which are flavorful yet delicious and leave the person feeling filled. This diet is all about eating foods containing items commonly used in Mediterranean diets (mostly) in moderation, allowing inclusion of some items which are usually prohibited in many traditional dieting plans.
She emphasizes on the importance of the “joy of eating”. She is not an admirer of people making severe changes in their diet in terms of cutting down of products when they should instead be focusing on eating more of the right things in the right amount.
The lifestyle and eating habits of people living in Sonoma Region is believed to be the reason of the excellent health status of the people. The Sonoma diet is one such idea through which the
Mediterranean diet and practices have gained popularity as a good way to attain good health.
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How does Sonoma diet work in weight loss?
The main principle behind the diet is to decrease the portion size per meal while increasing consumption of selective food items, commonly found in the Mediterranean diet, which are higher in nutrient density.
The book, The Sonoma diet: Trimmer Waist, Better Health in Just 10 Days! Talks about 10 Power Foods to help you achieve your ideal weight while maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
Good amounts of nutrients can be gained from these Power Foods with an intake of very few amounts of calories as compared to other food products consumed more frequently in everyday meals.
The Power Foods include- almonds (nuts) bell pepper, broccoli, spinach, blue berries, grapes, strawberries, tomatoes (fruits and vegetables) and whole grains.
A low consumption of meat, meat products and dairy products is to be followed. The diet also encourages consumption of wine which is a common everyday inclusion in the meal of the people of this area, also famous for its excellent winery.
The diet is divided into 3 “waves”, meant to incorporate healthy eating habits in people .
1.First wave involves restricting the calorie intake and lasts for 10 days.
2.The list of food for the Second wave may contain a few cheat-treats. Some fruits, juices and wine which were restricted in the previous wave, are also included in this one. This phase involves major weight loss and is continued till you reach your ideal weight.
3.This is followed by the Third wave which is all about inculcating the habits learned through this diet, in your lifestyle for good.
With the exception of Wave 1, this diet includes many foods which are not generally seen in a dieter’s grocery list.
What to expect on Sonoma diet?
The diet aims at losing weight without having to starve yourself.
It seeks to maintain a healthy nutrient profile as evidenced by tests by increasing the intake of nutritionally dense products over the ones containing
It focuses on following a healthy lifestyle, keeping watch on adequate consumption of various nutrients but without depriving the meal of its flavors.
What are the benefits of Sonoma diet?
The 10 Power Products can be broadly classified into 3 groups based on the benefits for which they are included:
- Healthy fats: Olive and almonds
- Antioxidants: Fruits and vegetables
- Dietary Fibre: Whole grains
Benefits of Healthy fats
The Unsaturated fats which are known to increase the levels of HDL (high density lipoproteins)- the good kind of cholesterol and lower the LDL (low density lipoproteins) which is a kind of cholesterol deemed bad for heart-health.
Studies have found that cutting the consumption of saturated fats from everyday meals can reduce the risks of heart-related diseases up to 17% . Therefore, oils containing the unsaturated fats like olive oil or canola oil are advised in the diet .
Following a common misconception , people often decide to give up on fats completely in order to shed those extra pounds. While it is true that a diet with products having a high nutrient density is a healthier, it wouldn’t be a ‘balanced’ diet if you give up on fats completely.
However, choosing the right kind of fats is utmost important. A diet rich in unsaturated fats is much healthier than the ones having saturated fats. This is important in order to decrease risks of cardiovascular diseases. This is why Sonoma diet recommends having olive oil.
Nuts, specially almonds, are a natural source of such healthy fats which seem to work in similar way, reducing the bad cholesterol in our blood and are therefore, recommended.
Almonds are believed to regulate amount of healthy cholesterol in blood in turn decreasing the risks of many cardiovascular disease like atherosclerosis and also help in weight reduction.
Another reason of making them a regular component of diet, is because they help to ward off hunger and satiate the temptation of munching in between meals.
Almond, consumed with its skin, are also believed to have prebiotic properties helping to maintain gastro-intestinal health .
Olive oil contains oleic acid, an unsaturated fatty acid, which has shown to contribute in prevention osteoporosis, premenstrual syndrome, cardiovascular diseases and even cancer of the colon and breast.
Benefits of Antioxidants
Studies suggest a low risk of Alzheimer’s disease if the diet contains good amounts of Vitamins (especially C and E) and carotenes which can be found in fruits and vegetables .
Biophenols present in olive oil also prevent the results of oxidative damage that is believed to contribute in Alzheimer’s.
Antioxidants such as lycopene and polyphenols are believed to delay a condition known as atherosclerosis.
Antioxidants are also believed to be important for a healthy muscle growth and physical performance of the individual.
A deficiency of antioxidants is also linked to a faster ageing-process due to oxidative damage caused by increased free radicals in those who consume less amounts of antioxidant rich products.
A balanced amount of antioxidant rich food is also associated with reduction in body weight.
Antioxidants are also believed to have positive effects on Obesity, also believed to be a condition of chronic oxidative stress.
Red wine owes the health benefits it provides to its high content of antioxidants.
Benefits of Dietary fibers
Cereals, fruits, vegetables and nuts are some of the natural sources of dietary fiber.
Fiber rich diet is believed to lower risks of developing cardiovascular diseases by reducing the amount of bad cholesterol in blood and diabetes by reducing blood sugar levels. It maintains a healthy blood pressure and also reduces appetite .
Whole grains are known to be more beneficial as compared to refined grains which have shown positive associations with Type 2 diabetes.
A medical practitioner must be consulted so that you can be advised about your nutrient requirement depending on your age, weight and gender and especially if you suffer from any disease or conditions.
Alcohol consumption needs a cautious approach too. The idea is not to start drinking, if you don’t already, but to cut down the alcohol to 2 drinks per day for men and 1 drink per day for women, for a better health.
Since the diet focuses on eating the above mentioned power foods but in limited portions, the risks of not getting enough amount of certain vitamins and minerals are always possible in such cases. However, no supplement should be taken without the advice of an expert.
How popular is The Sonoma diet?
The diet has reached many other parts of the world since its introduction in 2006 and has been accepted.
The diet has been reviewed as time consuming, more expensive hence less practical for an average person. It also requires efforts put into some physical activities for it to work.
However, stories on various review sites reveal how this diet has worked for many people. After all, there is no harm that healthy eating and healthy living could do.
No diet promises miracle weight loss. It is best to adhere to a balanced diet and one that suits you. Sonoma diet has many positives like intake of antioxidants, dietary fibre and healthy fats. Reducing calorie intake should be a gradual process. Consult a health practitioner before starting any diet.