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Five Dieting Tips

Anne Buttner, co-owner of North Andover gym Curves, offers some tips on dieting, exercise, and supplements.

, one of North Andover’s most popular gyms, is known for its unique 30-minute workout and friendly, professional staff. Since 2002, they have helped the Merrimack Valley get fit while having fun.

Anne Buttner, co-owner of Curves, offered readers some tips on dieting, exercise and supplements.

Welcome to part one of a three part series on health tips. Today we focus on simple ways to improve your diet.

1. Never forget about portion control.

Buttner’s most poignant advice centers on an eating habit that plagues many.

“Portion control is huge and that can be difficult for Americans,” she points out. Making changes to your eating habits should begin with consuming reasonable portions. For example, it is not necessary for the amount of meat in your meal to exceed the size of a deck of playing cards.

“If you’re starting on a diet, start a food diary,” Buttner suggests. “Look at what you eat. Sometimes you can make simple changes to start the process.”

2. There’s more to dieting than counting calories.

Some habitually count calories but “It’s not the only way,” says Buttner.

“Calories are important,” she acknowledges. “But it’s also about the makeup of the food.  It’s a combination.” Calories coming from nutrient-dense foods are beneficial. Consuming around 2,000 calories per day is advisable to ensure a good energy level.

Rather than counting calories, consider counting how many grams of fat you consume daily. Check all of your labels for their fat content. Adults’ fat consumption should not exceed 65 grams per day. Saturated fat intake should not exceed 20 grams per day.

3. Carb counting isn’t so great either.

Limiting carbohydrates can be a problem for a couple of reasons. First of all, your energy level can decrease. Secondly, as Buttner states, you may overcompensate in other areas.

“If you’re restricting carbs too much, you can end up increasing fats,” she said. “Monitoring where they [carbs] are coming from is more important than the count,” she advises.

Getting your carbohydrates from sources that offer other nutrients is ideal. For example, the carbs you get from a slice of multigrain bread offers fiber, vitamin E, and vitamin B.   

4. Avoid Atkins.

Some swear by it, but Buttner advises against it. The Atkins diet is a very low-carb diet; Buttner warns against avoiding carbs, especially the good ones.

The diet can lead to excessive meat consumption since carbohydrates are not an option. Buttner explains, “You’re getting an awful lot of fat and depriving your body of good carbs and things like fiber, vitamins, and whole grains.”

5. It really shouldn’t be called diet soda.

Diet soda has no calories and no benefits. Buttner advises dieters that drinking diet soda often is not a step towards good health.

“I think that too much diet soda is just as bad as having too much of anything,” she explains. “You’re still getting an awful lot of sweetener.”

Buttner stands by a trusty old maxim, “Everything in moderation.”

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