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The "duh" diet

(article, Keri Fisher)

McClatchy Newspapers recently published a startling new diet plan for 2007: The secret to losing weight, they say, is to eat less. 

You mean, like, eat less carbs? Less fat? Less meat?

No, just less food.

But where's the secret in that? Why just eat less, when instead you can follow a carefully structured diet of grapefruit, raisins, and anchovies? Or gorge on favorites like bacon, cheese, and steak? Or eat fat-burning candy bars? 

In the 1980s, we went for the low-fat craze, when dieters thought they were entitled to eat entire Entenmann’s Low-Fat Coffee Cakes because they were, well, low-fat. Then came the 1990s, when fat was king and carbs were serfs. 

Apparently it’s easier for folks to simply omit foods from their diet — in some cases, perfectly healthy foods like grapes and whole-wheat bread — than to limit the amount of food they eat. But that’s not necessarily the best way to lose weight.

"If you want to lose weight and stay healthy, you have to eat fewer calories and exercise more, not simply cut whole categories of foods from your diet," says Dr. Ritva Butrum of the American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR). 

Though you may not have to diet and exercise; a recent study by the Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge found that cutting calories by 25 percent resulted in the same weight loss as cutting calories by 12.5 percent and increasing exercise by 12.5 percent. 

Bottom line? Taking in fewer calories than you burn results in weight loss. Although you'll probably want to exercise more anyways.

Seems simple enough. Yet a 2006 study by the AICR found that 62 percent of Americans still believe that the type of food they eat is more important than how much of it they consume when it comes to losing weight. 

We don’t accept this kind of behavior from our children (“This week I’m only eating white food”), so why do we suffer it ourselves?