Low-fat, low-carb, high-protein—the kind of diet doesn't matter, scientists say. All that counts is cutting calories and sticking with it, says a federal study that followed hundreds of people for two years. Millions have turned to popular diets such as Atkins, Zone, and Ornish that tout the benefits of one nutrient over another. But the new research found that the key to losing weight boiled down to a basic rule—calories in, calories out.
"The hidden secret is it doesn't matter if you focus on low-fat or low-carb," said a director of the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, which funded the research. Limiting the calories you consume and burning off more calories with exercise is key, she said. The study appears in tomorrow's New England Journal of Medicine.