Jean-Michel Cohen's Blog

  • Sweeteners: What should I pick?

    posted on July 13, 2016 at 12:00 a.m.
    A sweet life will not be complete without...for obvious reasons, sugar. Everyday, we put sugar into our coffee and tea, in desserts and dishes. Sugar seems to be an inevitable part of our diet. However, an excess intake of sugar is one of the major risk factors of weight gain and even Type 2 Diabetes.
    A teaspoon of sugar is 20 calories. In an 8 oz soda, there are about 5 teaspoons of sugar!. That's 100 calories that you can already get from a slice of bread! What if you order a large soda with dessert? That's excess calories that your body does not need.
    To lose weight, sugar intake should be controlled. In a calorie-restricted diet, calories from sugar should rather come from fresh whole food like whole grains, fruits and veggies which, aside from sugar, contain other beneficial nutrients like fiber, vitamins and minerals. Do away from drinks and snacks which are full of calories but have no other nutrients.
    It is hard to give up sweets, that is why I suggest the following alternatives for table sugar:
    1. Stevia
    I advocate the use of stevia, a natural sweetener that has zero calories. Stevia leaves are naturally sweet, and now it is being marketed in powder form for ease of use.
    2. Coconut sugar
    Coco sugar is made from coconut sap. This is highly recommended because of its low glycemic index. Foods with low glycemic index are more beneficial because these foods won't cause a sudden spike on your blood sugar level, a signal that your body takes time to convert the food you eat into energy.
    3. Ripe fruits
    Fruits contain a natural sugar called fructose. Choose fresh fruit smoothies over sodas. Add fruits to crepes, pancakes and pies to make a healthier and fiber-containing desserts.
    4. Raw honey
    Choose honey that is raw and organic. Most commercially sold honey are highly processed that it loses most of the health benefits  and often contain HFCS (High Fructose Corn Syrup) which is bad for the health in large amounts. Raw honey contain vitamins, enzymes and antioxidants, aside from being a delicious sweetener.

  • RECIPE: Spinach Turkey Wrap

    posted on July 13, 2016 at 12:00 a.m.

    Perfect for lunch on a busy day! You can make this at home or even at the office pantry!


    • 1 (10 inch) whole wheat tortilla wraps
    • 1 oz. crumbled feta cheese
    • 4 pieces black olives, chopped
    • 4 slices (4 oz) fat free smoked turkey breast slices
    • 1 cup washed spinach leaves


    1. Combine feta cheese and olives in one bowl and mix.

    2. Evenly spread the mixture over the tortilla.

    3. Arrange the turkey slice and spinach over the cheese mixture on the tortilla.

    4. Roll up the wrap tightly.

    5. Heat in the oven for 1 minute and serve.

    Bon appétit!

  • Q & A: Can I 'cheat' on my diet sometimes?

    posted on June 10, 2016 at 12:00 a.m.

    For a diet program to be successful, easily followed, and not boring, I believe that there should be pleasure in what you eat. Good food in moderation and treats once in a while are in fact encouraged to have a balanced diet.

    During the Gourmet Phase of the program, you can have a Cheat Meal or an Unrestricted Meal once or twice a week. An unrestricted meal is one where you choose two of its components (appetizer, main course, or dessert) and eat what you’d like for those two components. But you keep the third component light: for instance, a salad with just a tablespoon of oil for the appetizer or a piece of fruit for the dessert. A meal becomes excessive if you have more than two unrestricted courses.

    After an unrestricted lunch for example, you can have the Recovery meal for dinner. Your Recovery Plan (your next meal after your indulgence) should be composed of two hard-boiled egg whites, accompanied by a plate of steamed vegetables without using any fat and a cup of plain nonfat yogurt.

    For those who follow kosher, you may eat the yogurt 2 hours after the egg white and vegetables.

  • Change is coming to the 'Nutrition Facts' label

    posted on May 24, 2016 at 12:00 a.m.

    The new FDA's Nutrition Facts label for packaged food is a welcome and much-needed change for Americans. The new label can encourage consumers to make informed choices by making the numbers simpler and easier to appreciate.

    Now we can find relevance in the bunch of numbers we see on the label. For instance, the type size for "Calories" was increased to be more obvious. In the future, we may find signs at point-of-purchase, where it says that X amount of calories will require X minutes of exercise. Such research was already conducted by John Hopkins University, and it gives light to the importance of implementing the new label change to promote healthy lifestyle. 

    The "Servings per container" and the "Serving size" were also improved. New ruling requires manufacturers to declare the serving size based on actual, realistic consumption of a single person, not the expected or assumed consumption based on a standard which tend to be underestimated. 

    There is also a space for "Added sugars" in grams and %Daily Value. This is based on the new scientific data that added sugars should not comprise more than 10% of your total daily calories, or else it will be difficult to stay within calorie limit. You have to make calorie allowances for a variety of food, like whole grains, vegetables, fruits and lean proteins.

    Other nutrients like Calcium, Vitamin D and Potassium will be required as Americans are likely to be deficient with these.

    In my opinion, the new Nutrition Facts label will be effective in making consumers think twice about what they are buying. Thirsty? Instead of grabbing a 12 oz can of soda, why not just go for a bottle of ice-cold water? Cereal for breakfast? Instead of choosing a box of sugary cereals, why not choose a whole grain, lower-sugar alternative? Information is power; in this case, a better understanding of that information can help you make the healthier lifestyle change you need.

    Food manufacturers are required to comply with the new Nutrition Facts label by July 26, 2018.

  • Q & A: Can I drink alcohol while on a diet?

    posted on May 12, 2016 at 12:00 a.m.

    This inquiry is not new to me, in fact I receive it from my patients quite often. It is actually a common French tradition to drink wine with meals. A well-known French paradox, which claims that even if our diet is heavy with butter and other fat-laden dishes and alcohol like wines, we manage to stay slim and healthy! While this is not based on enough scientific evidence yet, as a French man, I see our diet as varied with healthy fats from plant oils and fatty fish, we eat a lot of crudites or vegetables as starters, and yes we enjoy red wine and chocolates which contain resveratrol, an antioxidant that protects the heart.

    It is acceptable to drink alcoholic beverages in the The Parisian Diet, but I won't recommend that you do so during the first 2 weeks of the program. This is because your body is still adjusting to the decreased caloric intake, and it will be best if your calories will come from food that can give you the essential nutrients your body needs. Moreover, alcohol and dieting don't mix well, because our body processes alcohol first, leaving carbohydrates and fats to get stored as body fat instead of getting used as fuel.

    You are free drink 1-2 glasses of wine, or 1-2 bottles of beer during the Gourmet Phase of the program, when you are having dinner or just enjoying quality time with your friends and family. You can optionally replace your fruit serving with a glass of wine or bottle of beer occasionally.

    Here are some information about alcoholic beverages: 

    Wine: Most advisable to drink is wine. A glass of wine will give you 100 calories with no cholesterol, sodium, or fat. However, sherry is much sweeter, thus contains higher calories (32 kcal per ounce).

    Hard Liquor: Higher in calories than wine, and is often mixed with soda which increases the caloric count. Use calorie-free mixers like diet-soda or diet tonic water.

    Beer: Ranges form 150-200 calories per bottle of beer. 

    Liqueur: 155 calories per small serving (1.5 ounce). Mixers will increase calorie content also.

    Last advise: Choose red wine over white wine; choose wine over beer; choose darker-colored beers over lighter-colored beers; and choose beer over liquor and liqueur.


Entries 6-10 of 45


Dr. Jean-Michel Cohen
is the founder of The Parisian Diet, which is about the pleasure of eating and being able to eat all types of food.

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