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Phoenix Forward

5 customized diets for common health issues

Customize yuor nutrition plan

Have you ever tried a new diet that offers a universal key to wellness or weight loss? Although such diets’ simplicity may be tempting, take a second look at these all-purpose plans. Just like a good suit, your diet should be tailored to fit you, not one size fits all.

Kimberly Brodie, PhD, a nutrition instructor for the College of Natural Sciences at the University of Phoenix Raleigh Campus, advises considering several factors — such as your overall health, your age and your sex — when designing your nutrition plan.

Brodie recommends MyPlate, the United States Department of Agriculture’s nutrition program, as a starting point. “MyPlate shows the proper ratio of food using an easily recognizable measurement — a dinner plate,” she says. “If you follow the formula, vegetables and fruits should make up at least half of every meal.”

You can then customize the MyPlate strategy to suit your individual needs, preferably in consultation with your doctor. Here, Brodie shares nutrition tips for five common health issues:


This is an urgent concern since obesity rates in the United States continue to climb. If you’re trying to reach a healthier weight, Brodie says each meal should include a quarter of lean protein and a quarter of whole-grain foods, in addition to vegetables and fruits. Dairy choices, such as milk or yogurt, should be low- or nonfat.

Diabetes and prediabetes

To help control blood sugar levels, “eat more vegetables than fruits, and more whole grains than refined-grain products like white bread,” Brodie suggests. Since fruits contain more sugar than vegetables, and white flour converts into sugar more readily than whole grains, those two food types can be problematic if your body doesn’t process glucose correctly.

High cholesterol

If you’re trying to lower your cholesterol and improve your heart health, check your fat intake. Fats are important nutrients, so it is important to keep some in your diet. However, only certain fats fall into the “good” camp.

“Stay away from higher-fat dairy and meat, which are saturated fats,” says Brodie, an educator for public hospitals who specializes in community health. Instead, look for monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, which you can get from nuts, fish and vegetables, such as beans and avocados.


In general, moms-to-be should increase their calorie counts and dairy servings. Pregnant women should eat more fruits, vegetables and low-fat dairy, such as milk, yogurt and cheese, Brodie says. “These food groups are vitamin- and mineral-rich to support the nutritional needs of mom and baby.” New mothers can keep up this diet during breast-feeding.


If you’ve been burned by acid reflux or heartburn, avoid highly acidic foods, such as oranges and tomatoes. Steer clear of high-fat foods, such as fried treats, and rich meat dishes, too.