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Dieters seeking weight loss have epiphany: 'A calorie is not a calorie'

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Low-calorie diet foods are increasingly losing favor with consumers, so snack companies are responding by making fewer of them, the AP reported. The change comes amid growing consumer concerns that low-calorie foods are laden with chemicals and simply aren't satisfying.

"We know that while calories are calories, how satisfied you are with eating those calories makes a difference," said Karen Miller-Kovach, chief scientific officer at Weight Watchers.

Just last month, news surfaced that sales of diet sodas have plummeted for the ninth straight year. Zero-calorie sodas were once the darlings of those seeking weight loss, until research showed that artificial sweeteners are linked to metabolic disorders and cancer.

Dieters also complain that low-calorie foods taste bland, and leave them craving the full-fat, regular-calorie version of their favorite snacks. The shift away from low-fat, low-calorie diet products comes just months after new research confirmed that eating unprocessed saturated fat does not make you fat or cause heart attacks or diabetes.

Dr. James DiNicolantonio, a cardiovascular research scientist, made headlines after saying the 40-year demonization of saturated fat was based on flawed data and that a high-carb diet is responsible for weight gain, heart attacks, high cholesterol, and early mortality.

“There is no conclusive proof that a low-fat diet has any positive effects on health," DiNicolantonio wrote in BMJ. "The public fear that saturated fat raises cholesterol is completely unfounded."

'A Calorie Is Not a Calorie'

More weight loss experts now say the best way to lose weight and keep it off isn't to obsessively count calories, but to eat real, whole foods that are nutritionally dense. "Stop thinking about calorie quantity and look at food quality," fitness expert Jonathan Bailor told me. "Using calories as a guide to what you should eat is like using height to measure intelligence."

Bailor, author of The Calorie Myth, said eating real food promotes weight loss better than choking down edible "products," as the chemicals in fake foods damage metabolism, disrupt hormones and fuel weight gain. "A calorie is not a calorie," said Jonathan. For example, 100 calories of broccoli is more filling and nutritionally dense than 100 calories of potato chips, and will impact your body chemistry in dramatically different ways.

Obesity expert Dr. Eric Westman agrees that calorie counting is counterproductive. Westman, who has helped hundreds of morbidly obese people lose thousands of pounds over the years, said following a low-carb, high-fat ketogenic-style diet is a better approach to weight loss.

Dr. Westman said the LCHF ketogenic diet also prevents cancer, heart disease, diabetes, depression and even dementia. Eating fat does not make you fat and sick, he underscored. To the contrary, eating fat makes you thin and healthy. "I tell my patients not to fear fat," said Dr. Westman, author of A New Atkins for a New You. "Eat lots of fat."

Recently, weight-loss blogger and author Jimmy Moore made headlines after losing 180 pounds in one year on a low-carb, high-fat ketogenic diet. Jimmy, who once weighed 420 pounds, previously lost and — promptly regained — 170 pounds on a low-fat diet.

That's when he had his "high-fat epiphany," and has never looked back. Moore, author of Cholesterol Clarity, said numerous studies confirm that eating low-calorie, low-fat foods is ineffective, and that a high-fat ketogenic-style diet is better for permanent weight loss.

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