The Traffic Light Diet



The Traffic Light Diet is a simple diet plan that may help adult diabetics as well as children get started on the road to healthy eating. While called a diet it is really a lifestyle plan. It is easy to follow which means long term compliance in any situation. This may be a perfect educational starter to teach newly diagnosed diabetics healthy choices.

The Traffic Light Diet or Stop Light Diet was developed by Leonard H. Epstein and colleagues for use in their family-based childhood overweight research. It has been since copied (as noted in Battling Books!).

  • GREEN for go. Choose as many of the GREEN foods for your meal plan
  • YELLOW – Caution. Eat limited amounts of the YELLOW foods.
  • RED – Stop. Eat very small amounts of the RED foods or only on occasion.
  • Green foods are low in carbohydrate density and high in nutrition, fruits and vegetables that you need five servings of per day. Yellow foods include, proteins carbs and dairy. Red is foods high in sugar, or fat or alcohol.

    The ”traffic-light diet,” divides the four basic food groups into three categories. ”Green” foods, almost exclusively vegetables, have a maximum of 20 calories a serving, and dieters can have all they want. Both the ”yellow” and the ”red” categories include dairy products, grains, meat, fish, fruits and vegetables, but yellow foods, such as an apple or a serving of baked fish, have an acceptable ”nutrient density” – meaning they provide a lot of nutrition for the number of calories – while red foods, such as a doughnut or a serving of fried fish, have a poor nutrient density. Dieters can have limited amounts of yellow foods, depending on the number of calories per portion, but only four servings of red foods each week.

    Source: The New York Times

    In the UK, ministers are beginning Traffic Light Labeling (spelled Labelling in the UK) for supermarkets to help the nations obesity crisis. Based on the Traffic Light Diet plan with some variations of implementation.

    From the UK Telegraph :Supermarkets could be forced to place “traffic light” health warnings on food packaging as part of an aggressive anti-obesity drive by ministers.

    See the Traffic Light Labeling Plan in the UK so far in this video.

    “Each food you buy will have 4 different dots on representing Fat, Saturated Fat, Salt and Sugars. The dots will be either red, amber or green. ” Red means high, amber means medium amount and green means low. “So the best possible healthy food has 4 green dots and the worst is 4 red dots.”

    In the UK the Traffic Light system has even moved to restaurant menus . So what do you think?

    Battling Books:

    The Traffic Light Diet by Judith Wills

    Versions of the Traffic Light Diet Online:

    Five For Life

    Eat Well

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    NOTE: The contents in this blog are for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as medical advice, diagnosis, treatment or a substitute for professional care. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health professional before making changes to any existing treatment or program. Some of the information presented in this blog may already be out of date.
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