“Dr. Oz” is a household name and an established brand – TV personality, columnist for popular magazines and author of best-selling books. But Mehmet Oz, M.D. also has the medical chops to back up his nutrition and lifestyle advice, with a background as a heart surgeon and as a professor at Columbia University. In his book “YOU: On a Diet,” co-written with Michael F. Roizen, M.D., Dr. Oz advocates a sensible dietary regimen to promote weight loss and long-term weight management. “No-diet” foods like fiber-filled produce, quality protein and healthy fats, says Dr. Oz, are nutritionally rich and help keep you full so you won’t have to worry about counting calories.
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Dr. Oz Diet Basics: Foods to Eat
Dr. Oz’s diet recommends eating three meals a day and two snacks, but no snacks within three hours of bedtime. Every other day, enjoy a modest treat for dessert like a roasted pear or an ounce of dark chocolate. This diet stresses foods with fiber, like whole grains, fruits and veggies, nuts and seeds, lean meat and fish. Because convenience is what makes so many “bad” foods appealing, Dr. Oz suggests doing prep work each week so you will always have healthy foods on hand. Cut up vegetables and keep them in the fridge; make a big pot of vegetable soup and portion it out for the week; and keep “emergency” foods like almonds, walnuts and dried fruit available. To reduce how much you eat for your last meal of the day, have a half-ounce of walnuts or a cup of soup about 25 minutes before dinner.
Choose Non-starchy Vegetables
The more non-starchy veggies you eat, the better, according to Dr. Oz. The doctor writes on the “Good Housekeeping” website that his personal favorites include cruciferous and leafy green varieties like broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts and kale, which are high in fiber, vitamins and minerals, and cancer-protective compounds called glucosinolates. Fiber-rich foods are especially important for weight loss, because they fill you up for fewer calories. Grilling or roasting your vegetables brings out their natural flavor and sweetness, but you can also steam them. Dr. Oz recommends colorful bell peppers, spinach and Swiss chard, too, plus root vegetables such as beets and yams.
Fill Up on Colorful Fruits
Try popping some fresh fruit instead of sweets on the Dr. Oz diet. The doctor is partial to blackberries, which are easy to snack on plain but can also be incorporated with other foods like plain Greek yogurt or whole-grain cereal. Berries of all varieties are full of fiber; a cup of either raspberries or blackberries contains a whopping 8 grams of the 25 grams women need daily and the 38 grams men require. Besides the fiber content, berries are associated with improved cardiovascular function, because they contain heart-healthy compounds called anthocyanins. For other fruit choices, Dr. Oz recommends melons like cantaloupe, which have a high water content to help you stay hydrated and satiated. He uses citrus fruits like lemon and lime to liven up drinking water and morning smoothies. Frozen fruit with no sugar added is a sensible option when your preferred fruits aren’t in season. Dr. Oz says he considers frozen bananas a good stand-in for sugary frozen desserts.
Pick Lean Protein
Like fiber, protein helps fill you up so you stay satisfied longer. Choose your protein foods carefully to avoid fatty, high-calorie meats and cheeses. Dr. Oz recommends meat from two-legged animals like chickens and turkeys, and advises keeping salmon, cod, shrimp, scallops and other omega-3-rich seafood in the freezer for easy meals. He also recommends plain Greek yogurt, eggs with the yolks, low-fat milk and tofu. If you don’t like the bland taste of tofu, try blending it into smoothies or veggie dips. Green soybeans, called edamame, are low in saturated fat and high in fiber and protein. Soy is one of the only plant-based proteins considered “complete” because they all the essential amino acids. Find edamame in the frozen food section and use them for snacks or on salads.
Choose Healthy Fats and Whole Grains
Dr. Oz is a proponent of coconut oil, whose medium chain triglycerides are associated with specific health benefits, like controlling appetite, enhancing immunity and helping prevent atherosclerosis. Try a stir-fry dish with veggies and shrimp cooked in a few tablespoons of coconut oil. Avocado is full of “good” monounsaturated fats; smash one or two with lemon and garlic to make guacamole, and use as a dip for fresh veggies. Nuts also deliver healthy fats to your regimen. Have a handful of almonds or walnuts a day, or use a few tablespoons of fresh nut butter on whole-grain toast for breakfast. For grains, Dr. Oz suggests steel-cut oats and quinoa, a good source of vegetarian protein. A cup of cooked quinoa contains over 8 grams of protein and 5 grams of fiber. The doctor advises using it in Asian-inspired dishes as a substitute for the much less nutrient-dense white rice.
Swap Snacks and Sweets
You’ll have plenty to enjoy if you follow Dr. Oz’s recommendations, and there’s even room for snacks and sweets. For snacks, choose a handful of nuts, an apple, or some sliced veggies with a dip of plain Greek yogurt that’s been spiced up with red pepper flakes, ginger or dill. Dark chocolate can serve as a pick-me-up in the middle of the afternoon. Your best choice is chocolate that is at least 70 percent cocoa. If you’re craving ice cream or cake in the evening and it’s not a dessert night, Dr. Oz suggests trying herbal or decaf tea with a little honey instead.