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Sonoma Diet Summary - Overview of the Diet


Updated February 25, 2008

The Sonoma Diet

by Connie Guttersen, Ph.D

Image Courtesy of Pricegrabber


The author is a registered dietitian and professor of nutrition. The Sonoma Diet is named for a region north of San Francisco with a Mediterranean climate. The diet combines some of the principles of the Mediterranean diet with a weight loss diet. It is designed to be simple, with very little counting or measuring.


Connie Guttersen, Ph.D

Main Books:

The Sonoma Diet, 2005Compare Prices

The Sonoma Diet Cookbook, 2006Compare Prices

Restricted Foods:

Foods high in saturated fats, starches, and sugars are restricted or forbidden. In addition, portion control is emphasized.

Amount of Restriction:

The Sonoma Diet starts out with a lot of restriction in the first phase (called Wave 1), which lasts ten days. The second phase (Wave 2) is somewhat less restrictive.

Amount of Structure:

There is quite a lot of structure to the diet. The idea is to use certain-sized plates or bowls, and fill various divisions of them with certain kinds of foods. For example, half the dinner plate contains low carb vegetables in the first phase.

Individual Variation:

There is almost no variation in this diet within phases. Men eat a few more calories than women, and large men and people who lead "a very physically active life with plenty of exercise" are allowed a little larger snack. Other than that, the rules are the same for everyone.

Learning Curve:

Very easy to learn. There are lists of foods to avoid, and "power foods" which are especially encouraged. You eat what you want within those lists. However the book adds little exceptions to the basic rules here and there throughout the text (usually specifically designed for people who are having trouble), so it's a good idea to read carefully.

Phases (Waves):

Wave 1 lasts ten days, and excludes fruit, some vegetables and dairy products, and most sources of saturated fat. Grains are limited to two servings per day of whole grains. Wave 2 lasts until the dieter has completed weight loss. Some fruit, dairy, grains, and veggies are added back in specific amounts. Wave 3 is maintenance.
Sonoma Diet Information

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