Richard Simmons Diet: What You Need to Know

Richard Simmons Diet Foods and Results

SlimAway lays out a well-balanced and varied diet that admirably includes a minimum of seven servings of fruits and vegetables and two servings of low-fat dairy foods a day. He also wisely recommends not going below 1,200 calories and drinking eight glasses of water each day. It's a no-nonsense program that sets clear guidelines but leaves individual food choices up to the dieter. There are no prepackaged foods, and he encourages you to choose from fresh foods, such as fish, strawberries, greens, oranges, and whole-grain breads. The foods are grouped according to categories, and the diet is set up much like the exchange system used by many people with diabetes. For example, one slice of bread equals one bread exchange, 8 ounces of skim milk equals one milk exchange, etc. You're allowed a certain number of exchanges from each group, depending on your daily calorie quota. The FoodMover Exchange booklets also include exchanges for international cuisine and restaurant meals.

Fact or Fiction: What the Experts Say

Bonnie Taub-Dix, R.D., a nutrition consultant in private practice in New York City, says she believes the Richard Simmons program makes sense and is not extreme. Plus, she gives him extra points because he acknowledges and accommodates the needs of even the most overweight people. Few experts take real issue with any of Richard Simmons' programs, with the exception of the inclusion and marketing of his own brand of supplements.

Gains and Losses/What's the Damage?

Those who follow Simmons' diet could run a little low on calcium and vitamin D, even though it includes more dairy than many other weight-loss programs. As admirable as the program is overall, Simmons loses face over the addition of his own brand of supposedly energy-boosting supplements, which are hawked by a telemarketer soon after you place your order for the program. Still, if you ignore the hype and just buy any over-the-counter multivitamin, there's little bad to say about the Simmons plan. If you follow his recommended calorie intakes, you should expect to lose about one to two pounds per week. It is a diet and exercise plan that's designed for long-term success.

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