Low-Calorie Diet Q+A

A.: We are serious but not extreme. Our caloric intake is about 20-30% reduced from that of an average person for our heights. Probably, national averages are too high anyway because so much of our society suffers from obesity. CR is not really about losing weight but maintaining a comfortable weight where you can eat the fewest calories. If you get too slim, you will actually need more calories to maintain your weight than if your weight loss is moderate. Our favorite, calorie restrictor, Ralph, is almost 101 and at 5'10" and 157 lbs eats only 1000-1200 calories a day to maintain his relatively high (compared to most calorie restrictors) BMI. We'd recommend losing weight slowly and when you find you can maintain a weight that allows you to restrict calories at 20-30% of normal for your height, consider stopping there.

Q.: I've recently lost 20 lbs. by using the Weight Watchers diet. How do I go about getting the nutrients that I need and how do I know I am getting the right amount?

— Matt Fury A.: Congratulations! Track your intake with a software program designed for that purpose. By doing so you will learn a great deal about choosing the best foods and the right amounts for you. Some of the best packages are Dr Roy Walford's Interactive Diet Planner (www.walford.com) NutriBase Nutrition Software (www.NutriBase.com).

Q.: I take a multi-vitamin that supposedly has 100% of what I need but does my body absorb these well enough?

A.: It's impossible to answer the absorption question without a thorough assessment of your digestive and intestinal health. Progressive laboratories like MetaMetrix Clinical Laboratory (www.MetaMetrix.com) provide expert testing and analysis. Work with your doctor on this.

Q.: What are the 5 best vegetables to eat? Less calories with most nutrients.

— Allison Hummer Amherst

A.: Spinach, collards, kale, broccoli, and turnip greens are our favorites for low calories and high nutrients. Lightly steamed sweet potatoes, a bit higher in calories, are another nutrient-dense favorite. Lots of other veggies are excellent. Which ones we want to eat, when, and in what amount depends on whether we are looking for something to support our immune systems, whether we are looking for more fiber or less, what other nutrients we've had that day, and of course which wonderful flavors we want to enjoy. We use nutritional software to help us decide our menus. Two of the best packages are Dr Roy Walford's Interactive Diet Planner (www.walford.com) NutriBase Nutrition Software (www.NutriBase.com).

Q.: I was just wondering how this diet is affecting your blood sugar? I get really shaky and feel very week if I don't have carbohydrates. How do you have the energy to get anything done and not feel hungry all of the time? What is the secret? Do you eat every two hours? Is this working for you? Do you feel better in general and are you losing weight? Are you taking certain supplements to help with the food reduction? — Rowena Kerby Lubbock

A.: Our blood sugar is on the low side in the 80s or 90s after meals and in the 70s after fasting overnight. Note that because our bodies have adapted to these lowered glucose levels we rarely have the low blood sugar feelings many people experience.

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