SARASOTA - You hear it from your friends all the time, and maybe you’ve even said it yourself: lose 20 pounds by this date, drop six sizes by that date.

“I’m guilty of it too, but those really aren’t sustainable in the long run," Nutrition Expert Dr. Taylor C. Wallace said. Wallace says smaller, incremental goals are better.

“Focus on choosing food products that have optimal amounts of protein, that are high in dietary fiber, and have healthy fats in your diet," Wallace said.

What about carbs and sugar? Should we avoid them entirely?

“Sugar is a huge driver of both the obesity epidemic and heart disease, which is the number one killer of Americans,” Wallace said.

He says to minimize sugar in your diet. As for carbs, it’s not about cutting them out, just choosing the right ones.

“Focus on fiber rich carbs that are present in fruits, vegetables and whole grain products," Wallace said.

He says try to stay away from simple carbohydrates, or refined carbs, found in things like white rice, white bread and white flour pasta.

“Those simple carbs are converted by our body to sugar during digestion, and we call this the 'hidden sugar effect,'" Wallace said.

The extra sugar gets stored in your body as fat, so instead of a bagel for breakfast, he says go for something high protein and low-carb.

“I love avocados; they have healthy fats, they're very rich in vitamins and minerals, which we need to sustain health," Wallace said.

Another idea he gives is to swap out french fries for baked turnip fries, or lasagna noodles for zucchini. Dr. Wallace says small changes add up.