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Geisinger becomes the first member of Risant Health

Food can be a powerful medicine

In today’s age of trendy fad diets, it’s most likely you or someone you know is watching what they eat in one way or another. Fifty-four percent of adults in America report being on a diet, according to the Calorie Control Council.

If you want to lose weight, control your diabetes, or if you have a condition like Crohn’s disease or Celiac disease, a specialized diet can help you reach different goals.

“Diets are recommended for people for any number of reasons, from trying to lose weight to managing a medical condition,” explained Dr. Jila Kaberi-Otarod, Geisinger obesity and weight-management physician and associate director for Geisinger Northeast’s Nutrition and Weight Management program. “It is important to talk to your doctor before starting any new diet regimen to make sure you’re meeting your nutritional needs, that it’s safe and will set you up for long-term success.”

Learn more about different diets for different goals or conditions and what plan might be right for you.

Losing weight
The list of weight-loss diets can seem like it goes on and on. For whichever plan you’re considering, there are basic things to look for when selecting the right fit for you.

“While it is recommended to eat healthy and balanced foods to maintain or lose weight, there are some basics any healthy diet should encourage you to do,” said Dr. Otarod. “Any good diet should include protein, fat, vitamins, minerals and water.”

Make sure to check with your doctor that your weight loss diet plan will give you a safe and sustainable plan. It is important your diet does not cut too many calories or nutrients depending on your goal, age and sex.

The DASH Diet, also known as Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension diet, can be an option for those living with diabetes.

Almost two out of three people with diabetes also have hypertension. The DASH diet is a good choice for these patients because it is plant-focused and rich in a mix of fruit, vegetables, nuts, low-fat dairy, lean meat and heart-healthy fats.

“The best diet choice for those living with diabetes is one that is well balanced and has a variety of healthy carbohydrates, fats, and proteins,” said Dr. Otarod. “Having this balance in a diet helps keep blood sugar levels in a target range to avoid big swings that can set off certain diabetes symptoms from high or low blood sugar.”

Celiac disease
If you have Celiac disease, it’s highly recommended that you follow a strict, gluten-free diet. Removing gluten from your diet, will help reduce the inflammation in your small intestines.

Although going gluten-free may feel like a challenge at first, it can certainly be done by paying close attention. Focus on fresh and unprocessed food like lean meats, fruits, vegetables, and gluten-free grains and starches. Be sure to read labels carefully, especially packaged foods. A registered dietitian can also help you plan a healthy, gluten-free diet.

Crohn's Disease
Living with Crohn’s disease, people may sometimes find that certain foods can trigger their intestinal symptoms. For a Crohn’s disease diet plan, it is recommended to follow a high-calorie, high-protein diet.

“Certain food characteristics like fatty, high-fiber or dairy products can make Crohn’s disease worse so patients should use caution when including foods like these in their diet,” said Dr. Otarod.

No matter which diet you’re considering for personal or health reasons, it is important to talk to your doctor before making any changes to your diet. 
Dr. Jila Kaberi-Otarod, MD, CNSC, is an obesity and weight-management physician, and serves as associate director for Geisinger Northeast’s Nutrition and Weight Management program. Dr. Otarod sees patients at Geisinger’s specialty clinic, 675 Baltimore Drive, Wilkes-Barre, and Geisinger Mt. Pleasant, 531 Mt. Pleasant Dr., Scranton. To schedule an appointment with Dr. Otarod or another Geisinger weight-management specialist, please call 570-275-6401 or visit


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