A recent article in the New England Journal of Medicine discovered that the secret for weight loss is simply calorie restriction. From the Associated Press news report:
Some previous studies have found that low carbohydrate diets like Atkins work better than a traditional low-fat diet. 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 Dr. Elizabeth Nabel, 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.
This makes sense. It's about the calories whether you eat less or move more. If you taking in fewer calories than your body needs, your body will find the needed calories from your fat stores. The good news is it doesn't appear that how you restrict calories, i.e. which diet plan is chosen, it is the amount taken in.
The other secret to long-term weight loss is to add exercise.