THE GOOD: Somers' plan offers a wide choice of foods to be included in meal
plans, menus and recipes. All food groups are included and many of the suggested
items are natural and fibrous foods -- fresh produce, beans, grains and fresh
herbs. Water is the beverage of choice (including decaf coffee and tea), as
the author feels other low calorie beverages (such as sodas and drink mixes)
have too many chemicals. The "Somersize" plan includes Level One for initial weight loss and Level Two for maintenance. The book begins with a smart
foreword by Dixon, nutritionist, author and health educator. Dixon admits that
Somers is a picture of physical health, and that what Suzanne is doing works
for Suzanne (more or less). However, she never openly supports food combining.
In fact, she directs readers to the RDAs and Food Guide Pyramid for info on
meeting daily nutritional needs.
THE BAD: Eat Great, Lose Weight is more a food journal (of what the
author eats) and family photo album than a resource for weight loss. And with
close to two-thirds of the pages dedicated to recipes, it may better serve as a cookbook. Somers' categories of "Funky Foods" eliminate sugars, some starches, caffeine and alcohol and "bad combo foods" (nuts, olives and avocados). Level Two, while more lenient, seems to contradict a majority of the Somersize rules established at Level One. (And you thought the Food Guide Pyramid was confusing?!) Overall, the rules of this eating plan seem to be a mix of Sugar Busters! and food combining, neither of which have any scientific basis.
THE UGLY: The Somersize plan is just another low-calorie diet from another
pretty face. Although no portion sizes are provided and the recipes have no
nutritional analysis, a sample menu on Level Two provides only 1,200 calories
per day. (That includes wine and dessert!) This calorie level is low enough to result in weight loss for most individuals. Our queen of the ThighMaster
barely commits one page to exercise. Her motto, "be fit, not fanatic" is not all bad -- Somers does hike, bike and walk. But other statements, "I never go to the gym. I've never been to a gym!" could leave readers with unrealistic expectations. It is also evident that Somers has a poor understanding of special nutritional needs. She boasts about her Sugarless Cheesecake, created
for a diabetic aunt, but warns those with heart disease and high cholesterol. In fact, more people with diabetes die of heart disease than from any other
complication, so sugar content is not the only criteria that diabetics should
consider when choosing food items in their diet.