When it comes to losing weight, Chad Edwards, the clinical nutrition supervisor at Lodi Memorial Hospital, says there are two things to remember: Portion control and low-fat foods. Edwards, 36, has been a dietitian for nine years. Here, he talks about the best meal he's ever had and what you can do to make sure you see better results on the scale.
Q: What would be your biggest tip for people trying to be healthy in the new year?
A: From a nutritionist standpoint, use portion control and eat low-fat foods.
Q: What are the cheapest and easiest sources of protein?
A: I would probably have to say, either eggs or beans. Milk would be another fairly inexpensive option.
Q: What is a food item people don't generally have in their diet but should?
A: Enough fruits and vegetables and whole grains.
Q: Is breakfast really important?
A: Yes. It can be something as simple as a glass of milk and a banana, a peanut butter and jelly sandwich or nuts and seeds.
Q: Do you recommend counting calories for weight loss? If so, how do you figure out how many calories you should have?
A: It's a combination of calorie control and exercise. (The Web site), http://www.mypyramid.gov">www.mypyramid.gov, will walk you through how to figure out your needs. It will give you maintenance, day-to-day needs. If you want weight loss you would need to go to a registered dietitian to calculate your (needs).
Q: Have you noticed more people interested in losing weight with shows like "The Biggest Loser?"
A: Yes, definitely. I think it's pretty much common knowledge that half the population is overweight or obese.
Q: What's a common misconception when it comes to maintaining or losing weight?
A: That there is a magic food or a "quick fix."
Q: What types of vitamins and supplements do you recommend?
A: I think a daily multi-vitamin, multi-mineral would be appropriate for anyone.
Q: What is your guilty pleasure?
A: Holy mole. I don't find guilt in any of the foods I eat.
Q: Do you let yourself eat ice cream?
A: I do. It's just portion control. What I eat, that some might consider "bad" food might be pizza, but it has all-vegetable toppings. And I always have a salad. You could have your pizza, but have a salad right next to it.
Q: Are there any foods that honestly taste good and are good for you?
A: Yeah, fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Taste is all in the mouth of the beholder.
Q: What's the best meal you've ever had?
A: I'd have to say, the best meal I've had in California was at the Imperial Hotel in Amador City. We had pumpkin ravioli as an appetizer and wild white Mexican shrimp in a saffron cream sauce served with basmati rice. It was the best meal I've ever had.
Q: What is a healthy weight loss goal?
A: Our recommendations are 1-to-2 pounds per week.
Q: How few calories can someone eat a day?
A: You should never eat less than 1,000 calories because it's hard to meet all of your protein needs and vitamin needs.
Q: There is a lot of talk about yogurt and probiotics. Do you think it's a lot of hype, or is one yogurt better than another?
A: Yogurts, for the most part, are all similar. It's all cultured milk and it's all being cultured with bacteria. The difference is the type of bacteria that they're using. All the yogurts have live active cultures.