5 views on nutrition

Special to The Times

For most people, individual weight battles are more important than the unwieldy national problem. Some swear off carbs, others eat only certain types of food and a large number forgo entire meals.

And still we're gaining weight.

So we asked five of Southern California's leading dietary professionals what they recommend for weight loss. We also wanted to know if they practice what they preach, what dietary tricks they use and how they feel about the current nutrition debates (carbohydrates versus protein, for one).

Their advice -- and their core messages -- vary. One focuses on getting children off to a good start, another believes people's preferences must be factored into their diet, a third recommends radical wholesale changes -- and two others tout gradual modifications.

However, they did agree on three key points: We need to eat more vegetables. Regular exercise is essential. And healthy eating isn't just what you do before your next high school reunion -- it's forever.

Still, they concede that some indulgence is OK, and that they too have their weight battles.

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