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The diet plan consists managing portion sizes and eating approved foods centered on 10 items known as the "power foods". According to the creator of the diet these foods were chosen for their nutritional value and intense flavors. The power foods are whole grains, almonds, bell peppers, tomatoes, broccoli, grapes, spinach, blueberries, strawberries and olive oil.
Dr. Connie Guttersen, R.D., Ph.D. is a registered dietitian and nutrition instructor at the Culinary Institute of America. She developed the Standards of Care for the Obesity Treatment Center in Bellevue, Washington and she served as an instructor on nutrition and food science at Texas Christian University.
As with the Atkins Diet, Zone diet and South Beach Diet, the Sonoma Diet has three distinct stages known as waves. The first phase which lasts 10 days is the most restrictive phase with the smallest number of foods allowed with the smallest portion sizes. During this stage, sugar intake is greatly reduced.
During the next phase a wider variety of foods are allowed and weight loss slows to a more gradual pace. Phase two continues until the target weight is reached. Phase three is known as the maintenance stage with a wider range of foods being allowed (including the occasional dessert).
This diet is not classified as a low-carbohydrate diet or low sugar diet. People following the diet are allowed to eat whole grains, breads and cereals during all three stages of the diet. The plan does recommend avoiding white flour, saturated fats and recipes with additional sugar.
One of the tools used to teach portion management is plate size. For breakfast, the diet recommends using an 18 centimeter (7 inch) plate and for lunch and dinner a 23 centimeter (9 inch) plate is also recommended.
- "Speaker Profile - Dr. Connie Guttersen". Olive Oil Conference. Retrieved 10 July 2015.