7 Foods Susan Lucci Eats for Weight Loss
Not only did Susan Lucci captivate audiences for over four decades with her unforgettable portrayal of Erica Kane on ABC's All My Children, a role she held from 1970 to 2011, but she has also managed to maintain her status as a fan favorite and forever queen of daytime TV at the age of 76. What's more impressive is her unwavering commitment to healthy eating and fitness.
One key to her success? The Mediterranean diet. "The Mediterranean diet is rich in nutrients, antioxidants, and healthy fats while low in saturated and processed foods," says Mary Sabat, MS, RDN, LDN, and Ace Certified Trainer. "It has been linked to a reduced risk of heart disease, certain cancers, and improved weight management."
In order to delve deeper into the foods Lucci eats for weight loss, we consulted with five registered dietitians. Read on to gain valuable insights into why her choices continue to yield remarkable results.
She Starts With a Healthy Breakfast
Every morning Lucci starts the day off by making a pot of coffee and doing a Pilates workout. Then she eats breakfast, usually Greek yogurt with pumpkin seeds and berries, she shared in a Harper's BAZAAR video interview. "It's fuel. I can run on this," she says.
Breakfast is vital and offers many "positive health benefits such as improved energy levels," Alyssa Pacheco, RD, says. "Eating breakfast can also keep your blood sugar levels more balanced throughout the day, which can lead to fewer cravings and eating fewer calories throughout the day—which can be especially beneficial if you're trying to lose weight."
She Eats Healthy Fats
The Mediterranean diet "emphasizes consuming plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds," says Sabat. "It also includes moderate amounts of fish, lean proteins like poultry, limited dairy products, and uses healthy fats." To be more specific, the diet encourages the consumption of monounsaturated fats, such as those found in olive oil, avocados, and nuts.
She Eats Fish
The Mediterranean diet includes eating fresh fish, a favorite of Lucci's. Fish provides a great source of "high-quality protein, which is important for muscle growth, repair, and maintenance," Sabat says. "Protein also has a high thermic effect, meaning it requires more energy to digest and can slightly increase metabolic rate. Many types of fish, such as salmon, sardines, and mackerel, are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, specifically EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid). These fatty acids offer various health benefits, including reducing inflammation, supporting heart health, and promoting brain function."
She Eats Eggs
Lucci doesn't have cheat days often, but when she does, she loves to have eggs or her blueberry pancakes, she has said. Eggs are another excellent source of protein that also "contain a smattering of nutrients that are essential to the body, like magnesium and vitamin D, Tracy Lockwood Beckerman, MS, RD, CDN, and author of The Better Period Food Solution, tells us. "These all help with hormone regulation as well as mood stability. Plus, they contain vitamins A and E, which are essential in fighting off germs and bugs and keeping immunity strong. All of these are key in keeping someone healthy!"
She Eats Mostly Low-Carb Foods
Lucci opts for low-carb food choices whenever possible and loves making her lunch at home because she's in control of her ingredients. "I still want to be fit and feeling good," she explains in the BAZAAR video, in which she makes a breadless turkey sandwich with organic beefsteak tomatoes and avocado in her kitchen.
"Carbs are the sugars and starches that your body breaks down into glucose to use for energy," Amy S. Margulies, RD, CDCES, LDN, NBC-HWC, explains. "Nutritious carbs like whole grains, legumes, and starchy veggies are higher in fiber. That causes a slower rise in your blood sugar level. Too many less nutritious foods, like added sugars, can cause weight gain and increase your risk of diabetes and heart disease," she adds. "The goal is when choosing carbs, opt for smaller portions of the more nutritious carb foods. Avoid added sugars." Which brings us to….
She Limits Her Sugar Intake
While Lucci avoids added sugar, she doesn't deprive herself. "If I really want something, I'll just have one or two bites," she told BAZAAR, a tip many experts agree on. "No one can permanently cut out all unhealthy foods from their diet," Taylor Carberry, RDN, CPT, says. "Restricting leads to overeating; the key is to eat everything in balance. If you make healthier choices most of the time, you can enjoy your favorite less-healthy foods in moderation when you want them."
Nutrition Insights' Amy Beney, MS, RD, CDCES, adds that sugar is fine in small amounts. "There are 16 calories in one teaspoon of sugar. According to the American Heart Association, the recommended added sugar intake day is for men, no more than 9 teaspoons a day, and for women, it is 6 teaspoons daily. Sugar is a concentrated source of calories with no other nutritional value. Limiting concentrated sources of calories is important to staying thin. Desserts are often loaded with sugar and fats, which can contribute to weight gain."
She Drinks Lemon Water and Coffee—but Limits Alcohol
"There are many reasons why not drinking alcohol can help someone stay thin," Beney says. "Initially, alcohol can be high in calories. One 4 oz glass of wine can contain 94 calories, 12 oz of a light beer can contain at least 95 calories, and 1 oz of vodka contains 65 calories. Often our serving size may be larger than the recommended serving sizes of alcohol."
In addition, "some alcohol, such as hard liquid, is mixed with high-calorie mixers that can add a lot more calories than we realize. Other than the calories in alcohol, drinking can sometimes lower our inhibitions, and we may eat differently and choose higher calorie food items or more of a food than we would if we had not had any alcohol. Lastly, alcohol, although it may initially make us feel tired, it can affect our sleep and interrupt our REM sleep, leaving us tired and possibly affecting our food choices the next day. "
At home, Lucci prefers hot water with lemon or coffee. "It's so personal," she has said about sitting down with a cup of hot brew.