The Sonoma Diet

The Sonoma Diet is for you if who want to lose weight without giving up the enjoyment of food. At least that is the intention of the registered dietitian, Connie Guttersen, PhD, RD, who created this diet. Guttersen based her program on the Mediterranean diet, which consists of whole grains, nuts, fish, and a wide range of fruits and vegetables.

The Premise

The premise behind this diet is that you should enjoy food in moderation while eating a large variety of it. There are no diet foods, per se in this diet. Even sweets are allowed in the latter phase of the diet as long as you do not consume them in large quantities.

Guttersen highlights major foods as having exceptional nutrition and healing properties. Examples include blueberries, which contain antioxidant properties. Broccoli is included because it is high in vitamin C and calcium. It is also known for its ability to help rid the body of cancer-causing agents. Grapes are considered healthy due to their phytonutrients, and you may consume them in their raw form or in wine.

The Diet

To follow the Sonoma diet, you go through “waves” of dieting. The first wave is the most strenuous. The purpose behind this first stage is to reprogram your body to adjust to a new, healthier way of eating. In wave one, you cut out all sugar and refined foods. This is a time to focus on portion control and on creating nutrient-rich meals.

Examples of foods to avoid during wave one are sweets, fruits, French fries, white rice, potato chips, sugary drinks, butter, and sausage. Foods to include are nuts, olive oil, lean beef, eggs, various vegetables, low-fat dairy products and herbs of all kinds.

In wave two, you would add fruits, sugar-free sweets, wine and a wider assortment of vegetables. The first two waves of the diet are intended to help you lose your desired weight. Once you reach your optimal weight, you would enter wave three.

In wave three, your focus is on maintaining your new way of eating. Occasional sweets are allowed. However, you must avoid hydrogenated fats on a regular basis as well as refined foods.

What to Get Excited Over

The Sonoma Diet allows you to choose from a large variety of foods. It also gives you practical tips regarding portion control. For example, you will use a 2-cup bowl for breakfast and a 9-inch plate for lunch. How to fill the plates is spelled out in their online program.

Things to Consider

You might find the first wave of the Sonoma Diet a bit too extreme given its sudden removal of unhealthy oils and sugars. Sudden diet changes may be difficult to sustain. There is also a very minor focus in this program on exercise. Although Guttersen’s book does address exercise, she does not elaborate on it heavily as a significant part of a diet and lifestyle change.

The Verdict

Aside from these downsides, however, the Sonoma Diet appears to be a reasonable diet; it leads to weight loss while helping you to establish healthy patterns of eating that are enjoyable and sustainable. Choosing from a long list of foods allows you to avoid the feelings of deprivation that accompany some diets.


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