Reducing cholesterol intake by 20 percent and getting total cholesterol levels below 180 will improve a person's risk of heart disease by 20 to 30 percent, Feltheimer notes.

Healthy diets should include at least five servings of fruits and vegetables a day, Franke declares. "This ensures that you get more vitamins and minerals, which most people don't do, and will likely increase fiber intake as well," he explains. "It will also be more filling, making you less likely to cheat and ingest more calories by nibbling on snacks."

"It's somewhat clich, but the most important thing to do is to eat healthy and moderate your food intake," notes Franke. "The failure many people face is thinking that diets are temporary things, and to stop once you reach a goal weight. To successfully change requires lifestyle and behavioral changes."

"Don't eat until you can't eat anything else. You should always leave the table feeling you can always eat a little more," Feltheimer says.

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