A registered dietician has lifted the lid on the six mistakes people make when overhauling their diets for the summer, from eliminating entire food groups to not drinking enough water. 

Vanessa Rissetto, CEO and co-founder of Culina Health, opened up about how people can reach their health goals without going to extremes during her recent appearance on the Today show. 

She walked co-anchors Savannah Guthrie and Hoda Kotb through the dos and don’ts of dieting ahead of summer. 

Rissetto explained that the first thing you should do before embarking on a lifestyle change is to ask yourself: ‘Is it safe?’

Registered dietician Vanessa Rissetto revealed the six mistakes people make when overhauling their diets for the summer

Registered dietician Vanessa Rissetto revealed the six mistakes people make when overhauling their diets for the summer

Registered dietician Vanessa Rissetto revealed the six mistakes people make when overhauling their diets for the summer 

Rissetto walked co-anchors Savannah Guthrie and Hoda Kotb through the dos and don'ts of dieting ahead of summer, saying the first thing you should do is to ask yourself: 'Is it safe?'

Rissetto walked co-anchors Savannah Guthrie and Hoda Kotb through the dos and don'ts of dieting ahead of summer, saying the first thing you should do is to ask yourself: 'Is it safe?'

Rissetto walked co-anchors Savannah Guthrie and Hoda Kotb through the dos and don’ts of dieting ahead of summer, saying the first thing you should do is to ask yourself: ‘Is it safe?’

Severely restricting calories to lose weight

Rissetto pointed out that ‘a lot of people try to cut calories’ to lose weight, but they sometimes take their restriction too far.  

‘They think, “Oh my friend eats 1,000 calories a day, so I should do that too,”‘ she told Guthrie and Kotb. 

Eating too few calories can cause the body to go into starvation mode, which can lead to an increased risk of developing hair loss, anemia, and brittle bones, among other things. 

As a general rule of thumb, she advised dividing your weight by 2.2 and multiplying that number by 25 to see how many calories you need a day to maintain your current weight. 

Rissetto said if you weigh 150 pounds, you need 1,700 calories per day to maintain your current weight — and less if you want to lose weight. 

She added that you shouldn’t go below 1,300 calories per day.

Eating too few calories can cause the body to go into starvation mode, which can lead to an increased risk of developing hair loss, anemia, and brittle bones, Rissetto said

Eating too few calories can cause the body to go into starvation mode, which can lead to an increased risk of developing hair loss, anemia, and brittle bones, Rissetto said

Eating too few calories can cause the body to go into starvation mode, which can lead to an increased risk of developing hair loss, anemia, and brittle bones, Rissetto said

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Cutting out protein and fat  

Another mistake that people make is skimping on fat and protein in their diet. 

‘Please, everyone, eat protein and fat,’ Rissetto said. ‘You need that to fuel your body.’ 

Healthy dietary fats give your body energy and support cell function. They also help the body absorb some essential vitamins.

‘On average, fat is about 20 to 35 percent of your calorie requirement,’ Rissetto said. 

Meanwhile, protein plays an important part in building bones, muscles, cartilage, and skin. It also helps build and repair tissue, carry oxygen through the body, digest food, and regulate hormones.

The dietician explained that your daily protein intake should be about 1.2 grams (about 0.04 ounces) per kilogram of your weight. 

If you weigh 150 pounds (68 kilograms), you should be getting 68 (2.4 ounces) to 82 grams (2.9 ounces) of protein a day, according to Rissetto. 

‘For context, four ounces of chicken has 31 grams (1.1 ounces) of protein,’ she said.

The dietician said people also tended to skimp on protein, fat, fiber, and water. Pictured is one of Rissetto's 'go-to lunches' which contains 'complex carbs, healthy fats, protein and flavor'

The dietician said people also tended to skimp on protein, fat, fiber, and water. Pictured is one of Rissetto's 'go-to lunches' which contains 'complex carbs, healthy fats, protein and flavor'

The dietician said people also tended to skimp on protein, fat, fiber, and water. Pictured is one of Rissetto’s ‘go-to lunches’ which contains ‘complex carbs, healthy fats, protein and flavor’

Not getting enough water or fiber 

Much like fats and protein, water and fiber are the cornerstones of a healthy diet, but they’re not always the top priority. 

‘People don’t realize in the summer digestion is slowed. So what will help to speed it up? Fiber and water,’ Rissetto said. 

She noted that fiber helps with weight management, so adding extra vegetables and fruits to your meals can help you reach your goals. 

As for water, most people aren’t drinking enough to keep their bodies hydrated.

‘We need like 90 ounces of water [per day],’ she told Kotb and Guthrie.

The National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine recommends 125 ounces of daily fluid intake for men and 91 ounces for women. 

Rissetto said she carried around a 32-ounce water bottle that she liked to fill up two or three times a day to make sure she was reaching her hydration goals. 

Omitting entire food groups

Rissetto stressed that people should not be cutting out entire food groups, including carbohydrates, which had gotten a bad rap in recent years.  

‘Carbs are not bad. They are our major energy source. We need them for fuel,’ she said. ‘We are scared of carbs because no one taught us how to eat them.’

The dietician explained that once you got your mind around what a carb was and what a serving size should look like ‘it’s easier to digest.’ 

Kotb pointed out that there were carbs in everything from lentils to avocados.  

‘There are different types of carbs. So it’s not always bread and cookies,’ Rissetto agreed. 

Rissetto stressed that people should not be cutting out entire food groups

Rissetto stressed that people should not be cutting out entire food groups

Rissetto stressed that people should not be cutting out entire food groups

Having unrealistic expectations 

Rissetto advised that people take their daily lives into consideration and make sure they understand their limits before drastically changing their diets. 

‘If you’re this really busy mom with a big job and you’re cooking for a family of six, then how is all this restriction going to work?’ she asked. 

The dietician pointed out that having to buy ‘all these separate meals’ can quickly become ‘cost prohibitive.’ 

She also stressed that a diet shouldn’t be so regimented that you can’t ever go out to eat at a restaurant. 

‘Really, what is going to be sustainable in the long-term without having you lose your mind?’ she said. 

Wasting money on cleanses and fad diets 

Rissetto said people should think twice before splurging on expensive diet programs and cleanses that were unsustainable.  

‘When you think about these fads, like a juice cleanse, you have to buy the whole system and that’s costing you hundreds of dollars over a month,’ she explained. 

‘And then it’s not sustainable so all that money goes by the wayside.’

She said people should ‘do the math’ and ask themselves: ‘Can I achieve the goal while not blowing up my pocket?’

Rissetto also noted that there were professionals like herself who could help you make lifestyle changes without breaking the bank. 

‘Dieticians take insurance, and the cost is probably a co-pay,’ she said. 

‘Seek out help. Just like you go to the doctor, you go to the dentist, go to the dietician.’

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