Live your happiest and healthiest life ever, compliments of these M.D. and R.D. tips gathered exclusively by Eat This, Not That!
“I have a doctor for my allergies, my osteoporosis and my kids,” our friend Sally said the other day. “But I need one who can also tailor. My jeans never fit right!” Sally: Consider this your prescription—and your inspiration. The researchers at Eat This, Not That! asked 20 doctors and registered dieticians what they do to lose weight—and keep it off—and are happy to present their essential advice. Use it, and then talk to your own doctor about the next best steps for you. And for more no-sacrifice ways to melt fat, check out these amazing 30 No-Diet Diet Tricks.
An easy way to flush the body is by taking a supplement that supports your liver's natural detoxification function. Natural health physician Dr. Fred Pescatore likes Robuvit. "It's an extract from the French oak tree and it actually helps to normalize the enzymes in your liver and reduce oxidative stress to keep it functioning at its best," Dr. Pescatore says. "The liver is our body's detox engine; it removes toxins from the blood stream, breaks down alcohol and drugs, and processes nutrients to be absorbed in the body. So, it's crucial to keep the liver healthy for an optimal detox program." Robuvit is one type of this kind of supplement; ask your doctor for what's right for you, like if there are generic versions that may be better suited for you.
Adding a shot of wheatgrass to your daily routine can have incredible benefits. According to Dr. Daryl Gioffre, celebrity nutrition expert and founder of Alkamind, wheatgrass is one of the most powerful foods on the planet and most effective way to detox and build your blood. "It has a very high alkaline effect on the body. One of the ingredients with major benefit in wheatgrass is chlorophyll, which has the ability to draw toxins from the body like a magnet," says Dr. Gioffre. "The reason why chlorophyll is so powerful is it's basically the same molecular shape as your hemoglobin molecule (red blood cells), except for the center atom, where blood is iron and chlorophyll is magnesium.” And while he recommends a 2-ounce shot at least once a day, you shouldn't drink it like a tequila shot. Instead, he suggests taking a sip, squish in your mouth for 30 seconds, then swallow. Do that again and one more time until the entire shot is gone. You can even use some cinnamon as a chaser!
“Greek yogurt is great for palatability, satiation and protein content," says Gerard Mullin, M.D., director of the Johns Hopkins Integrative GI Nutrition Services and author of “The Inside Tract: Your Good Gut Guide to Great Digestive Health”. "Yogurt is also great for feeding the good bugs that live in your intestine, which improves the health of your microbiome, the community of microorganisms that live in your body. More and more research is pointing to probiotics as an effective treatment for weight management and obesity. It’s amazing that feeding the good bugs actually helps people lose weight. Organic, grass-fed yogurt is best because you are getting a better omega fatty acid profile. When animals are fed corn they produce dairy with more omega-6s, but grass-fed animals produce dairy with more healthy omega-3s.” Lucky you, we've compiled the ultimate list of the 25 Best Yogurts for Weight Loss.
“I try to avoid excessive caffeine,” says Dr. Mamta M. Mamik, Assistant Professor of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Science at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. “An adult can safely consume up to 400 milligrams of caffeine a day—which is equivalent to four 8-ounce cups of coffee—but drinking any more than that can cause calcium excretion, which, over time, may lead to osteoporosis. Avoiding excess caffeine also helps to ward off uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms like lethargy, insomnia, headaches and irritability.”
Eat This, Not That! Tip: Drink tea instead! White tea packs a particular one-two punch that can actually attack belly fat. A study referenced in The 7-Day Flat-Belly Tea Cleanse showed that white tea can simultaneously boost lipolysis (the breakdown of fat) and block adipogenesis (the formation of fat cells). The tea’s combination of caffeine and epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG) seems to set fat cells up for defeat. Try The 7-Day Flat-Belly Tea Cleanse now—test panelists lost 10 pounds in one week!
“For me the best food is dark greens, such as arugula, spinach, and lettuces," says Donald D. Hensrud, M.D, M.P.H., chair of the Division of Preventive, Occupational, and Aerospace Medicine at the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine and author of “The New Mayo Clinic Cookbook”. "They are very low in calories, very high in nutrients, and can be prepared in a variety of ways that taste great —- many different types of salads, pasta dishes, lasagna, sandwiches, pesto, soups, or even a spinach pie! Locally in the summer is best and I always feel good about eating them, there’s no downside.”
“Chickpeas are, of course, a nutritional powerhouse like most legumes. They are a good protein source, and I especially like turning to chickpeas for protein so I don’t need to eat meat," says David L. Katz, M.D., M.P.H., F.A.C.P.M., F.A.C.P., director of the Yale University Prevention Research Center and author of “Disease Proof”. "They have figured in the human diet since the very dawn of civilization, so they are nice connection to our ancestral roots. And they figure as well in some of my favorite cuisines from the Middle East. I love good hummus!”
“Eggs!" says Robert Lustig, M.D., M.S.L., director of the Weight Assessment for Teen and Child Health (WATCH) Program at the University of California, San Francisco. "They have lots of high quality protein, especially tryptophan. Protein is satiating, and also you spend more energy converting it to a metabolite that can be burned, which aids in weight management. Eggs got a bad rap in the 1980’s because of the cholesterol in the yolk. But it does not raise the small dense LDL, which is the atherogenic particle [the one that forms plaques in your arteries]. Eggs are great by themselves, with many different ways of preparation, or they can be added to foods easily.”
“I swear by avocados!" says Taz Bhatia, M.D., assistant professor at Emory University in Preventive/Integrative Medicine, director of the Atlanta Center for Holistic and Integrative Medicine, and author of "The 21-Day Belly Fix". "The heart-healthy unsaturated fat in a delicious serving of avocado helps me stay full, which keeps me from snacking too much. Avocados are packed with vitamins C, K and B6 and they contain pre- and probiotics—keeping my gut healthy!” See 8 more reasons Why Avocados are the Perfect Weight-Loss Food.
“Although I love them, I try to stay away from cream-based soups. They not only bother my stomach, but are also loaded with empty calories and often have concerning fillers like hydrolyzed proteins, food dyes and corn syrup that I find out about later!” says Dr. Taz.
Eat This, Not That! tip: Look for protein-based soups. “I visit Subway once a week with my oldest son on his way home from a long day in after school activities,” says Amy Shapiro, MS, RD, CDN, Real Nutrition NYC. “We grab a sandwich for dinner and I love the healthier choices they have introduced in the past few years. My other go-to at Subway is simply a bowl of the black bean soup and the veggie delight salad with added fresh avocado. Loaded with fiber, this meal is vegetarian, filling, flavorful, heart-healthy, void of all refined flour and full of antioxidants."
“The one kind of food that most helps me live healthfully is nuts, and for me, any nut will do," says Yoni Freedhoff, M.D., medical director of the Bariatric Medical Institute at the University of Ottawa, author of "The Diet Fix: Why Diets Fail and How to Make Yours Work". "I love them of course because they’re delicious, but also because study after study suggests that their inclusion in my diet helps prevent many chronic diseases. I also love them because they are full of protein and healthy fats that leave me feeling fuller longer, which in turns helps me all day long with dietary restraint. One trick I like to do is buy a cheap 1/4 cup measuring cup to store with my container of nuts. Nuts are quite energy dense, with each 1/4 cup of whole nuts coming in at around 200 calories.”
“Swiss chard is one of the healthiest leafy greens around," states Peggy Kotsopoulos, RHN, nutritionist, and author of Kitchen Cures. "It helps to boost cardiovascular strength and keeps bones healthy. Plus, it has an abundant source of Vitamin K." Vitamin K is one of the most important bone-building vitamins, helping to shuttle calcium to your bones, and helping your bones absorb the calcium once it gets there. One cup contains 374 percent of your DV.
“I try to avoid foods that contains trans-fats, corn syrup and added sugars," says Eugenia Gianos, MD, cardiologist, Co-Clinical Director, Center for the Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease at NYU Langone Medical Center. "Often listed as hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils, synthetically engineered trans-fats increase your bad (LDL) cholesterol levels and decrease your good (HDL) cholesterol levels, upping your risk of heart attack and stroke." While plain steel-cut oats fit into Dr. Gianos' diet plan, Quaker Instant Oatmeal Fruit&Cream is an example of a product that does not. Every single flavor pack that comes in the box contains ingredients on her "do not eat" list.
Eat This, Not That! tip: In need of a flavor boost? Add fresh fruits, a touch of honey or an ounce of nuts to your bowl instead. And click here for The 55 Best-Ever Ways to Speed Up Your Metabolism!
“Plant proteins are key to health and even people who have difficulty tolerating nuts can often eat seeds without a reaction,” explains Annie Kay, MS, RDN, Lead Nutritionist at Kripalu Center for Yoga&Health. “In addition to protein, chia seeds are rich in fiber (fiber is a plant phenomenon – there is none in animal foods), and filled with anti-inflammatory omega-3 fats.” And vegetarians, rejoice: “Nutty and chewy, chia seeds are considered a complete protein providing 5 grams of protein in a two tablespoon serving chia seeds' fatty acids promote heart health, reduce inflammation, and promote brain health. They can be easily baked into muffins and cookies, mixed into oatmeal, or sprinkled on top of a pasta dish for extra crunch,” adds Janel Ovrut Funk MS, RD, LDN.
Superfood Crusted Turnip Fries? Grab some amaranth and get ready for your taste buds and waistline to be delighted. “Like quinoa, amaranth is not actually a grain, but the seed of an amaranth plant. It is high in protein, and surprisingly calcium, too,” says says Lisa Hayim, registered dietician and founder of The WellNecessities. “Amaranth is usually cooked in water, like rice, or can be consumed raw. Amaranth is also naturally gluten free, and has been shown in studies to lower incidences of chronic disease such as heart disease and stroke.” Here are 19 more of the best superfoods you haven’t heard of (yet).
“Hummus should be a food group," says Julieanna Hever, MS, RD, CPT, a plant-based dietitian. "Literally. With all of its potential in the kitchen, there may not be any other food that provides such a satisfying shot of nutrition. Protein-, micronutrient-, and fiber-jammed chickpeas are typically mixed with tahini, which is loaded with healthy fats and minerals, and then boosted along with vitamin C-rich lemon or other citrus, which synergistically improves the absorption of iron from the chickpeas. It is a winning—and delicious!—combination.” Now, excuse us while we go grab our broc and cukes for dipping…
“I eat a very clean, plant-based diet so the avoid list is long for me. However, even for those who eat meat, the processed varieties are a bad choice,” warns David L. Katz, MD, MPH, Director of the Yale University Prevention Research Center and President of the American College of Lifestyle Medicine. “While the link between meat and chronic disease is fairly tenuous, the connection between salt-, sugar- and chemical-laden processed meats and chronic disease risk is strong and consistent. If you eat meat, it should be pure—like you want your own muscles to be. If you eat the highly processed, adulterated meats they may pay it forward to the meat on your own bones.”
“I don’t drink soda. A long time ago cola had cocaine in it, and it's arguably gotten even more unhealthy since then,” says Guillem Gonzalez-Lomas, MD, sports medicine specialist and assistant professor of Orthopaedic Surgery at NYU Langone Medical Center. “Most sodas contain phosphorus, which binds to calcium and increases calcium loss, which is terrible for bone health. Plus, just one can is filled with 40 grams of sugar—the equivalent of 20 sugar cubes—which makes it challenging for the body to maintain healthy glucose and insulin levels. And diet soda is potentially worse. Diet beverages contain low doses of carcinogens and artificial sweeteners that have potentially dangerous effects on the brain and metabolism. While everything in moderation is reasonable, I steer clear of sodas—high risk, no reward.” And see What Happens to Your Body When You Give Up Soda!
“I avoid soymilk,” notes Gonzalez-Lomas. “Yes, the horror stories linking overconsumption of soy products to estrogen-like effects–like the development of enlarged breasts in otherwise healthy males–are exceptional. However, the fact is that soy mimics estrogen and activates estrogen receptors in the body. Do you want to take that risk? Plus, there are plenty of other milk substitutes—like almond milk—that don't carry the same potential side effects.”
“As a plastic surgeon, I'm always thinking about my figure,” says New York City-based physician, Lara Devgan, MD. “To that end, I never eat energy bars or granola bars. Although they can be tasty, for the amount of calorie-dense carbs and fat they contain, you might as well eat a candy bar. Many of these bars are packed with simple sugars, and they aren't quite filling enough to substitute for a meal or snack.” And dip some yogurt into one. No need to read every label at the store; we did the legwork to track down the Best Brand-Name Yogurts for Weight-Loss!
"There isn’t a food I avoid entirely. One cheeseburger never killed anybody unless they choked on it," jokes Blase Carabello, MD, Chairman of Cardiology at Mount Sinai Beth Israel Hospital. "However, I do limit myself to one per month since the dish is high in heart disease-causing saturated fat and served in a processed bun made with refined carbohydrates." (And top it with a green. Here's a list of The 10 Superfoods Healthier Than Kale, so you can mix up your salad rut.)