Atkins. South Beach. The Lemonade Diet. The Cabbage Soup Diet. The Hollywood Diet. Fat Smash...The list of fad diets goes on and on. And if national statistics are to be believed, I'm guessing many of you, dear readers, have tried at least a few of these in your quest to shed some pesky pounds. Well, according to a report recently published in the New England Journal of Medicine, it isn't what you eat, but how much you eat. In other words, weight loss is all about calorie and portion control. Results from the two-year study, which assigned 811 overweight participants to one of four reduced-calorie diets, found that from a weight loss perspective it didn't matter what foods the participants ate, but how many calories they consumed. Let's put things into perspective, shall we? A nationally projectable survey by the Calorie Control Council found participants who were currently dieting made an average of 3.6 dieting attempts in 2007, with many searching for the diet most likely to produce rapid weight loss. This new study, however, "really goes against the idea that certain foods are the key to weight loss," said Frank Sacks, principal investigator and a professor at Harvard School of Public Health. "It gives people a lot of choices to find a diet they can stick with."
The study, funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), grouped participants into one of four diets: two low-fat and two high-fat. All four included either a high-protein or an average-protein component. Typical diets in the study had between 1,400 and 2,000 calories a day. All the diets were low in calories and saturated fat while high in fiber, and participants were instructed to exercise for 90 minutes per week. Participants who attended counseling sessions initially lost an average of 13 pounds after six months and, after two years, had lost approximately nine pounds and two inches off their waist lines, regardless of diet grouping. Study co-author Catherine Loria notes that, in addition to making healthful food choices, "all you have to do is count your calories." So what does this mean for dieters? For starters, plan on adopting more low-calorie foods. Even cutting 100 calories per day - such as using a low-calorie sweetener instead of sugar - can mean big changes in your waistline and health. And to put things into pounds - eliminating 100 calories per day can result in a more than 10-pound weight loss by year's end. YAY!
On a different topic, I've been jonesing for "fried green tomatoes" lately. Ever had any? They're dee-lish! I've been a big fan of them ever since I moved to Atlanta in fall '06 and tried them for the first time. So I was thrilled when I recently discovered that Hungry Girl had a low-cal (140 calories, 1.5g fat) recipe that I will totally be checking out this weekend. See below!
Faux-Fried Green Tomatoes
1 medium green (unripe) tomato, cut into 1/2-inch slices
1/3 cup Fiber One bran cereal (original), ground to a breadcrumb-like consistency
1 1/2 tbsp. cornmeal
2 tbsp. fat-free liquid egg substitute
2 tbsp. low-fat milk
1/4 tsp. seasoned salt
1/8 tsp. garlic powder
1/8 tsp. onion powder
Optional: additional spices, ketchup (for dipping)
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Combine the ground cereal, cornmeal and spices in a sealable container or plastic bag. (For a more flavorful coating, add extra spices.) Pour the egg substitute into a small dish.
Pour the milk into another small dish. Dip a tomato slice in the milk, and place it in the cereal/cornmeal mixture. Seal the container or bag, and shake until the slice is coated. Remove the slice and set aside, and then repeat with the remaining slices. Next, repeat this entire process using the egg substitute in place of the milk, coating your tomato slices with the crumb mixture a second time. (Before coating the slices in crumbs again, give 'em a shake so they're not dripping with excess egg substitute.)
Place the double-coated slices on a baking sheet sprayed with nonstick spray. Pop 'em in the oven for 15 - 20 minutes, flipping the slices about halfway through cooking. Tomatoes are done when the outsides are nice and crispy. Enjoy! These are great by themselves, but they're also excellent dipped in ketchup!
And finally, since it's Friday, let's take a moment to enjoy this awesome scene from Fried Green Tomatoes. TOWANDA!!