Consider this your annual reminder: The only way to achieve healthy, sustainable weight loss is by eating balanced meals packed with fruit, vegetables and lean proteins. What else is new, right? But at a time when it seems like there’s a new miracle means of weight loss coming out every week, it can be important to go back to basics.
Truth be told, we entered into this interview hoping nutritionist Diana Sugiuchi would tell us something new and novel. Does the Ketogenic diet actually work? (No.) Can you jump-start weight loss by juicing? (Well, maybe, but you’re going to gain it all back.) Should we all follow paleo? (No! Eat your legumes!)
“We do metabolic testing in our practice, and for people who have been on very restrictive diets for a prolonged
period of time, it can really, really backfire,” Sugiuchi says. “Your metabolism can slow down significantly, and it can take a year or two before you even start to recover.”
With that being said, however, Sugiuchi says one trend — intermittent fasting — does have some scientific backing. At its most extreme, fasters refrain from food two or three days a week and eat normally on the remaining days. At a lesser level (and the one that Sugiuchi is more inclined to support), participants will go 12 to 15 hours without eating per day, usually overnight.
“It can work well with your circadian rhythms to restart your metabolism,” she says, adding that it’s also helpful for people who have problems with snacking at night, emotional eating or not eating enough during the day.
One of the most exciting new developments in nutrition concerns the microbiome, or the bacteria and organisms in our digestive tract, Sugiuchi says. “We’re learning that those affect our rate of obesity, mood, heart disease; the kind of food we eat has a drastic effect on the microbiome.”
Good for the MB? Fruit, vegetables, whole grains and other healthy eats. As Sugiuchi puts it, “It’s just more reason to eat the stuff we should be eating.”
For best results, she recommends skipping the “arbitrary” diets and seeing a nutritionist … and then drops perhaps the most surprising fact of our chat.
“A lot of people don’t know that their insurance pays for them to see a dietitian,” she says, “but many plans do.”