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Adjusting Your Diet for 2013

Lori DePietro-Standen Lori DePietro-Standen Adjusting Your Diet for 2013
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Columbus Underground is kicking off 2013 with a week of articles focused on health and wellness, to help you make New Year’s Resolutions that last. We’ve enlisted the help of local fitness experts and enthusiasts to share their expertise.

As a Personal Trainer and Lifestyle & Weight Management Coach, one of my passions is helping people reach their goals. This time of year, it seems that setting a goal is easy… a new year brings new beginnings and fresh motivation. Hopefully your fitness goals include both getting moving as well as making changes in your diet. But with so much information out there, what changes can you make to your eating plan that will help you to not only lose weight, but increase your overall health? Consider the following:

Cut out all soda and sweetened beverages.

Not only do sugar and high-fructose corn syrup add unwanted calories and spike your blood sugar, but HCFS is a genetically modified substance that has been shown to cause general inflammation in your system. And sorry, but diet soda is no better… its chemical composition is similar to that of formaldehyde, not to mention the fact that it actually increases your appetite. You definitely don’t need all those toxins running around in your body. To aid in weight loss and general health, drink as much pure, filtered water as possible. Feel free to add a little fresh lemon or lime juice or some cucumber slices for flavor if you need it. Herbal teas and black coffee are also okay in moderation.

Ditch the dairy.

Did you know that dairy has been shown to cause inflammation, and actually leeches calcium out of your bones due to its high acid content? We’ve been taught to believe that the more dairy we consume, the more we protect our bones against osteoporosis. But the United States, which has one of the highest levels of dairy consumption in the world, also has one of the highest osteoporosis rates. Consider also that dairy milk is high in fat… 1% milk is actually 23% fat by volume. No surprises there. After all, its meant to bring a 70 pound calf to a 1000 pound adult in the span of a year. Factor in the hormones, antibiotics and pesticides – especially in non-organic dairy – and it just isn’t worth it. If you’re looking for great sources of calcium, try dark leafy greens, soy, broccoli, nuts and seeds, and fortified orange juice. And there are some delicious plant milks, yogurts and cheeses out there. I often recommend almond milk, Amande almond yogurt, Earth Balance Buttery Spread, and Daiya cheeses to my clients who are transitioning away from dairy and looking for substitutions.

Eat as many whole foods as possible.

A whole food is a food that’s in its natural, unprocessed state. So think brown rice instead of whole grain bread, and whole oats instead of cereal made with whole grain. And did you know that the new USDA Portion Plate (which replaced the USDA Food Pyramid) recommends that 50% of your daily food intake be made up of fresh vegetables and fruits? A plant strong diet not only reduces your cancer risk, but is good for your heart and reduces your waistline. Instead of planning your meals around your preferred meat, first decide on your veggies and fruits and build the meal from there. It’s a paradigm shift, I know, but you’ll feel lighter and more energetic when your body isn’t weighed down so heavily with meats and processed foods.

Lori DePietro

Changing your diet can be very challenging, so take advantage of the momentum of New Year’s Resolution season and get going. Remember, a journey of a thousand miles beings with just one step.


Forks Over Knives, The Plant-Based Way to Health, Campbell, PhD and Esselstyn Jr. MD

The Not-So-Sweet-Truth About High Fructose Corn Syrup – The Huffington Post with additional references

Digestive Wellness, 4th Edition, Lipski, PhD, CCN, CHN, USDA Portion Plate

The Dangers of of Diet Soda – Care2 with additional references

Diet Soda and Joint Pain – LiveStrong with additional references

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  • mrpoppinzs

    I have to say that looks like a very delicious burger. In fact, I think having read the article what sticks in my mind is that picture of a very delicious burger. Next time please use a picture of a very obese person instead…

  • leftovers

    ^When my wife and I were trying to lose weight and get back in shape I deliberately avoided reading the food and restaurant reviews on CU for that reason. It really helps not to plant the seed.

  • Heh. Eating out can certainly take a toll on your diet (and budget), and I try not to do it too frequently myself either. But you can always combat both diet and budget issues by halving any entree at a restaurant and saving the second half for… *ahem*… leftovers the next day for lunch. ;)

  • “Eat whole foods” but she’s recommending fake butter and fortified juice. Weird advice.

  • Last year was a wake up call for me after a few surgeries and being diagnosed diabetic. I knew at that point I had to make several changes in my diet, changes I should have made years ago. My doctor sent me to a prescribed 4 session class that was very helpful. When it concerns your body, I think a good approach is to be the ever-curious student, listening, learning, questioning, experimenting.

    A few months after the course, I find myself questioning some of the advice given on sugar substitutes like Nutrisweet and Splenda after watching an episode of Dr. Oz, and reading about their chemical composition.



    Despite some potential health complications, the American Diabetes Association encourages the use Splenda and Aspartame in its recipe section, and as I mentioned, their use was encouraged in my diabetes class.

    For me, a little bit of sugar and cream in my coffee may be better than Splenda. I need to do some additional research on Truvia and Stevia, which may be sutible options. I’m also looking at pure Agave syrup. It’s sweeter than sugar, but has a glycemic index of 11 as opposed to 68 with sugar.

    Any thoughts?

  • I don’t know much about Truvia, but I do recommend both Stevia and agave syrup to my clients due to the lower glycemic index. Brown rice syrup is also a good choice. I definitely discourage anything with aspartame or Splenda. I would try a little sweetened vanilla almond milk in your coffee and see what you think. You could also try an organic, non-dairy creamer and a little Stevia. The agave has a strong taste that’s great for some things, but will flavor your coffee.

  • sarahp

    @patient_zero: I too have been working on cutting out sugars and artificial sugars. For a while I used agave but lately I’ve been reading that it is way too high in fructose, which is apparently bad for diabetics. What I have found that works for me is pure coconut sugar (no added refined sugar.) You can get that at the Clintonville CoOp and at the big Giant Eagle in Upper Arlington. Stevia is also a good option. Josies Frozen Yogurt in Polaris and also in Westerville has some really good frozen yogurt that’s sweetened with Stevia. Hope this helps!

  • billiejean

    Another great tip is to just stick to the outside walls of the grocery store when grocery shopping and avoid all the inside aisles with the processed food.

    I’m not sure I agree with the orange juice advice for substituting milk. Why not just drink fat free milk???

  • Kahiki

    My doctor tells me that non-frozen and non-fresh squeezed orange juice is basically a scam. That vitamin c is extremely fragile and degrades quickly, so that you have no idea how much vitamin c is actually in a bottle of oj that is sitting on a shelf.

  • Lauren Wilson

    Yeah I’ve read lately that agave is not really a great way to go too. Read this recently on WebMD… http://www.webmd.com/diet/features/the-truth-about-agave

  • TW

    I have followed the Eat Right 4 Your Type diet for many years. The author says that 90% of us should not drink orange juice and 86% of us should not drink cow’s milk. Getting used to these kinds of changes usually takes about a month, but the digestive ease and energy derived from it is well worth the effort. I could go on and on – get your calcium from dark greens, eat lots of beans, etc.

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