How to Lose Weight on a Low-Fat, Low-Sugar, or Low-Dairy Diet

Eat, Drink, and Be Healthy: The Premise

Dr. Walter Willett, a well-known Harvard researcher, offers his own food guide, in pyramid form, that focuses on plant foods and de-emphasizes dairy. He even incorporates daily exercise and weight control into the pyramid. Willett falls somewhere between the pro-dairy and the anti-dairy camps. He's not totally against dairy products but doesn't believe there's a "calcium crisis," as many experts do. In fact, he says that drinking too much milk can actually make your body lose calcium because milk is high in protein, which causes the body to excrete calcium. He advocates getting calcium from other food sources and from supplements, if necessary. Other than that bit of controversy, Willett's diet offers up a healthy dose of good nutrition that's free of gimmicks and exaggerated promises. While the overall theme of the book is good nutrition, Willett calls weight control the number one nutritional factor for good health.

The Rationale

What's For Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner?Though there is no strict diet plan per se, the book provides a week's worth of sample menus and about 50 recipes in keeping with Willett's pyramid. But you're pretty much on your own in devising your menus and tracking your calorie intake. A typical day's menu might include fresh-squeezed orange juice and multigrain hotcakes for breakfast; grilled chicken, salad, cantaloupe, and strawberries for lunch; and mushroom meat loaf, roasted vegetables, green salad, and a spiced poached pear for dinner. Some of the sample menus have made allowances for a snack, and one even lays out the day's intake over six small meals. Coffee is allowed but sugar is not. A few sweet treats such as orange juice sorbet and rum-glazed pineapple are allowed, but there is no allowance for an occasional indulgence in fudge ice cream or cheesecake.

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Gains and Losses/What's the Damage?

Eat, Drink, and Be Healthy is not a plan for rapid weight loss. It's a diet designed to help you change your eating habits for good and improve your health. However, if you follow Willett's guidelines and adjust your calorie intake for weight control, you should lose weight while reaping the health benefits he promises.

Now we'll consider a diet with an intriguing name: Eat More, Weigh Less. Find out the full details, and if the concept is possible, in the next section.