The Sonoma Diet – Catching the “Wave” of Eating Clean


Developed by a registered dietician, the Sonoma diet has been derived from the Mediterranean diet. While the diet plan is simple, I recommend you follow it only if you are fond of eating lots of fruits and vegatables and do not struggle too much with staying away from refined sugars and processed foods.

Let's take a look at what is the Sonoma Diet, its pros and cons, and whether or not you should give it a try.

What is the Sonoma Diet?

The Sonoma Diet is named after a region in the north of South Francisco. The area is known for its Mediterranean climate. The diet plan has been developed by Connie Guttersen, who is a professor of nutrition and a registered dietician.

Guttersen believes that if you want to lose weight, you should not be avoiding the foods you love. In fact, you should enjoy these foods but only in the right amounts.

The diet is ideal for people who love fruits, vegetables, whole grains, wine and other healthy foods. Foods high in saturated fats, refined white flour and sugars are not recommended in this diet plan. This basically means that you will need to completely stop consuming processed food.

Along with restriction on saturated fats, starches and sugars, the Sonoma diet considers controlling portion sizes as a very important aspect of longer term weight loss.

What You Can Eat During the Sonoma Diet Plan?

Guttersen's diet contains of a range of vegetables, fruits, fish, and whole grains and nuts – see details below:

sonoma county vineyard The Sonoma diet is centered on ten foods, which Guttersen calls her "power foods".

Included below (in no particular order of importance)

  • Almonds
  • Bell peppers
  • Blueberries
  • Broccoli
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • Grapes
  • Spinach
  • Strawberries
  • Tomatoes
  • Whole grains

According to Guttersen, these ten power foods contain healthy fats, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that provide anti-aging benefits, reduce bad cholesterol, boost your metabolism, and decrease the risk of cancer.

The Three "Waves" of the Sonoma Diet

The Sonoma Diet has three phases, which are called as "Waves". Here is a look at what these three phases mean.

Wave 1 – This 10-day induction phase is meant to help you reduce your consumption of highly processed foods. So, you will be getting rid of foods such as butter, sausage, bacon and any other food containing saturated fats. Fruits, most vegetables, and wine are also excluded from the diet because of the presence of natural sugars. You are allowed to eat lean beef, low-fat cottage cheese, eggs, and certain other foods. Usage of spices and herb to add some taste to your meals is allowed.

Wave 2 – This phase continues until you have achieved your desired weight. Fruits, dairy, grains, vegetables, and wine (yeah!) are added to your daily diet in a certain amount.

Wave 3 – Once you reach your target weight, you enter into the maintenance and the final phase of the diet plan. During this phase, Guttersen advises dieters to keep away from refined and processed foods. Trying out exotic fruits and rare sweets is encouraged during the maintenance phase.

Pros of the Sonoma Diet

The diet is quite simple since you are not counting calories or grams. While portion control is emphasized, the size of your plate is used to determine what is right and what is not.

The diet emphasizes eating healthy foods and eating these slowly. The idea is to savor each food.

The power foods of the Sonoma diet are exactly what Guttersen says they are – rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Emphasis on whole foods ensures that you have healthy digestion and metabolism. These two are key factors in healthy weight loss.

Cons of the Sonoma Diet

There is very little focus on exercising and fitness. So, if you want some advice on how much to exercise and how you can stay active, the Sonoma diet plan will not be able to guide you.

The first phase is quite extreme since it emphasizes throwing out processed food entirely from your home. This may not always be realistic in an actual scenario since there will be other members in the family who would like to enjoy their usual sugary and processed foods.

Wave 1 results in a drastic cut down of calories. So, it is bound to lead to a drastic loss in pounds as well. However, most experts believe that the weight loss in Wave 2 is more sustainable since it allows the dieter to indulge in a higher variety of foods compared to Wave 1. 

Should You Try This Diet or Not?

If you are a fan of fruits, vegetables, whole foods, and wine, this diet may be right for you. If you cannot think about going without processed food for days, it will be very difficult for you to stick to this diet plan for long.

Another thing that you need to consider is that the diet plan does not have many suggestions for exercising. So, if you think staying active is necessary for losing weight, you may need to look somewhere else.

The diet is fairly simple and quite structured. Some people like the structure provided by the diet plan and some don't.

In short, take a careful look at the diet. It will help in losing weight but you will need to ask yourself whether you will be able to stick to it or not.