Things to avoid. (Photo illustration: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

It seems like every day a new study comes out about how we can get healthy/lose weight/live longer. (Why, just yesterday, we made the happy discovery that the key to longevity is drinking two glasses of wine a day!) This week The New York Times reports on a new study published in JAMA with some surprising findings related to weight loss, especially those still attached to their calorie trackers. The study found:

People who cut back on added sugar, refined grains and highly processed foods while concentrating on eating plenty of vegetables and whole foods—without worrying about counting calories or limiting portion sizes— lost significant amounts of weight over the course of a year.

Even more interesting, it didn’t make much difference if the diets were low-fat or low-carb: The main thing appeared to be focusing on less sugar and processed foods.

The study focused on 600 people in the Bay Area, and “stands apart from many previous weight-loss trials because it did not set extremely restrictive carbohydrate, fat or caloric limits on people and emphasized that they focus on eating whole or “real” foods—as much as they needed to avoid feeling hungry.” Participants were also encouraged to discuss their diet and food choices, in another breakaway from most studies.

We know that these findings sounds similar to many others in the “no duh” category, but it’s still heartening to realize that people could possibly lose weight without counting a thing and without ever being hungry—merely by focusing on the right kinds of food, and avoiding the wrong ones.

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