Well Being

Research Says Weight Loss Is About More Than Calorie Counts. But Didn’t We Know That Already?

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NPR, the Washington Post, and the Wall Street Journal are all buzzing about new weight loss research published in The New England Journal of Medicine, that challenges the conventional wisdom that dropping pounds is just about calories in, calories out. According to researchers, what you eat might be just as important as how much you eat; weight loss isn't just about the bottom line. (Which all, by the way, happens to make for a sensational headline about how potatoes are bad, and nuts are good.) But — regardless of whether you choose to heed or believe it — nutritionists and experts have been doling out this advice for years.

The Harvard study (which was federally-funded, by the way) analyzed research from multiple long-term studies, and discovered that to minimize weight gain with aging, we need to do more than just limit the size of our meals. They discovered that consumption of certain foods, like yogurt, fruit, nuts, vegetables, and whole grains, kept weight gain in check better than others (potatoes, apparently, are one of the worst foods you can eat if you're trying to keep off weight).

The study's lead author, Dariush Mozaffarian, professor of epidemiology, told the WSJ:

This suggests that the path to eating fewer calories is not simply to count calories, but to focus on consuming a more healthy diet in general.

Now, I don't want to be negative. It's really great that Harvard is discovering that potato chips aren't good for weight loss, while nuts, yogurt, and whole foods are. But did we need the government to fund these guys? From what I understand, they just looked at data from pre-existing studies (which simply consist of long-term surveys to begin with) and came up with the same conclusion that pretty much anyone interested in health could have told you at the drop of a hat: Processed, high-carb food bad. Unprocessed, whole food good.

If you'd like some in-depth information on the hows and whys of eating like Harvard confirms you should, here are just a few of today's popular diet books that can help you lose weight by eating the right foods:

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