Dr. Oz or Seattle Sutton: Who do You Trust? - KMSP-TV

Dr. Oz or Seattle Sutton: Who do You Trust?


You've seen and heard the commercials--there's no mistaking that voice.

Seattle Sutton has become a household name in illinois thanks to the healthy eating program she created a quarter century ago.

And now, nearly five months into the year-long diet and fitness challenge that Dr. Mehmet Oz is spearheading for FOX Chicago, Seattle the health icon is sharing her thoughts about how the participants can best achieve better nutrition. While both she and Dr. Oz are both committed to the same goal, they don't necessarily agree on the best way to achieve it.

Just call it "Oz versus Sutton".

But before we get into all that, there's one question you just have to ask Seattle Sutton right away. Don't people usually ask her if "Seattle Sutton" is truly her real name?

"Yes they do," said Sutton. "And i say, 'yes it is'."

She's a dietitian, a nurse, a midwestern gal who married a doctor named Sutton some 56 years ago. Her maiden name was Rumboat--not nearly as catchy.

Next, you have to ask how this mother of five, grandma of 14 about a talk she had with an obese patient 25 years ago. It was a talk that turned into a multi-million dollar healthy eating empire.

"He said, 'you know Seattle I'm gonna be honest with you. I'm not going to do all that work," Sutton explained, re-telling that meeting from the mid 1980s in which she explained to the man how to improve his eating habits. "He said, 'but if you did it for me I would stay on it' and, you know, it was like a light bulb going off."

She formed her company with a staff of three, making nine different meals a week for justy a handul of customers in Chicago's far western suburbs. Those first clients were friends of hers, and the recipes she used were based on some of her personal favorites.

From the very beginning, followers of her program began to see success.

"I lost twenty pounds," said one early user in an early infomercial Sutton taped in the late 1980s. "I hope to continue to lose about 15 to 20 more," said another woman in the video, complete with giant 80s' hair.

Today, Seattle's staff of 120 prepares as many as 180 thousand meals a week. There are 105 different meals, so customers never eat the same thing more than once every five weeks.

"You can't complain about being bored with it," explained Sutton, "because it's better than you do on your own."

She now ships to all 50 states and has brought her company to $25 million in gross income. Is there anybody doing out there doing what she does?

"No," Sutton said with confidence. "Many have tried but they have not succeeded."

Through the years, Seattle's message has never wavered. "The meals are low fat, low cholesterol, sodium restricted," she has reiterated. "No harmful additives. We don't even use artificial sweeteners And no food dyes. This is the kind of food everybody should eat."

So, with all this nutritional know-how we thought Seattle Sutton would be the perfect person to ask for a second opinion about Dr. Mehmet Oz's diet and health plan

Since January, Dr. Oz has been leading dozens of Fox Chicago viewers and employees (including yours truly) on a year-long mission to eat better and get fit. But as we're about to start our fifth month, some of us are struggling with some of Dr. Oz's recommendations.

"I have a problem staying motivated," said participant Nicole Rudder recently.

Sutton is not convinced that Oz's way is the right way.

"I like a lot of his theories and all that," Sutton said. "but unless you take out the frustration by helping people understand what they should eat, so they learn, it's really difficult."

For example, Dr. Oz suggested the diet and fitness participants steer clear of most white foods. Sutton is hesitant to toss it all away.

"Well, now wait a minute. I don't think everybody should throw out all white things," Sutton suggested. "White rice, white bread--you know that's not poison. It can be consumed once in a while."

Dr. Oz recommends "automating" the snacks and meals you eat everyday.

"Try and eat the same thing or at least one or two choices for breakfast and lunch every day of the week," Oz has suggested. "You will find very rapidly that that's what people who are naturally thin do."

On this point, Seattle also disagrees.

"The whole truth of the fact is you're not going to do that the rest of your life, " she said. "What happens when you want to enjoy, for example, waffles with a strawberry sauce one day (instead of your "automated" breakfast)." Sutton said. "You're not going to know how much to eat."

And she also wanted to make one other point very clear. Her diet plan, she says, is not meant for the short term.

"It is not a fad diet," she said. "You could be on this your entire life."

Case in point: 26-year-old Andrew Kent who's been eating Seattle's meals almost exclusively for a year and a half. He's lost about 100 pounds in that time. He used to be grossly overweight--more than 300 pounds--until Sutton taught him a thing or two with her meals.

"The portion control--that was really what the meals taught me me," Kent explained. "It was all about the portion, or the amount of food you need."

Oh, and there's another important requirement when following Seattle Sutton. You have to eat exactly what she gives you. There's no mixing and matching entrees, substituting ones you don't care for with ones you really like.

But she's confident her customers will enjoy everything she serves up.

"You're going to call us and say 'I thought I didn't like brussel sprouts but those are really good'," Sutton laughed. "That's my goal."

When asked if she eats her own meals Sutton remained firm as always.

"Yes I do," she said. "It's delivered to my home. I never get tired of it."

One last question:

Don't you have any guilty pleasures, Seattle?

She paused, smiled and declared, "Jack Daniels, on the rocks." And then came a hearty, healthy laugh.

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