What Is the Somersize Diet?

The Somersize Weight Loss Program is the creation of former "Three's Company" TV star Suzanne Somers. The diet is a variation on a low-carbohydrate, low-calorie program with the addition of rules governing what foods you should eat together and when. Although Somers claims the Somersize diet can enhance your health and help you lose weight, the National Partnership for Wellness calls it a fad diet and contends that it isn't a good choice for sustainable weight loss. Talk to your doctor before beginning any diet program to be sure it is healthy for you.


Somers says she developed her premise of weight loss being connected to eating only certain foods at certain times -- a diet technique known as food combining -- while she was on a trip to France. During that time, Somers says she adopted the French habit of eating particular groups of foods together while avoiding other combinations, and that this allowed her to lose weight and keep it off. Since then, Somers has written several books devoted to her Somersize plan. She also sells fitness equipment, diet supplements and food items, such as sugar replacement powder, that she contends should be used with her Somersize program for optimal results.


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The Somersize diet consists of two primary phases, Level 1 and Level 2. During Level 1, dieters must avoid eating whole dairy products, nuts, avocados, soy and starchy, carbohydrate-rich foods that have a high glycemic index, such as bananas, carrots, sweet potatoes, white flour and all forms of sugar, including maple syrup and honey. The diet consists of poultry, steak, fish, fruit, butter, cream, whole-grain pasta and low-starch vegetables, though dieters must eat them only in specific combinations: no carbohydrates with protein or fat, fruit only on an empty stomach, vegetables always with protein. Level 2 begins when dieters reach their target weights. This phase allows a little leeway -- eat soy and drink alcohol in moderation, and sometimes eat carbohydrates with fat -- but the rules from Level 1 still apply.


If you follow the Somersize rules, you'll consume an average of 1,200 calories a day and most likely will lose weight. The program emphasizes fruits and vegetables and helps dieters avoid processed foods and low-nutrient calorie sources, such as sugar and refined carbohydrates. For people who want a specific set of rules to govern their eating without the need to control their portion sizes, the Somersize diet may be a good fit. In addition, Somers' website allows Somersize dieters to join an online community for extra weight loss-tips and encouragement.


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Licensed nutritionist Monica Reinagel says that food-combining rules aren't based on scientific evidence, and any weight loss on such a program is due to eating fewer calories, not avoiding the combination of carbohydrates and protein. Indeed, Reinagel contends that it's healthier to eat carbohydrates with protein, since the two can work together to help regulate blood sugar levels. The food restrictions required by the Somersize diet may increase your risk of vitamin or mineral deficiencies, and the low number calories it provides could damage your heart and kidneys and result in slowed metabolism. The plan calls for aerobic exercise three times a week, EveryDiet notes. That falls short of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's recommendation of 150 minutes of moderate intensity aerobic exercise a week plus muscle strengthening activity two or more days a week.