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The recently published CALERIE trial should sound the death knell of every fad diet that ever was, is, or would be (it won’t, of course). The study showed, in the proverbial nutshell, that calorie restriction, per se, causes weight loss in the overweight, which in turn causes an array of improvements in the customary measures of cardiometabolic risk.
You can get more details on the study if you like , but I’m inclined to leave it there. Replace the prevailing, utterly rule-free “see food” diet (i.e., I see food, and I eat it…) with any set of rules – all carbs; no carbs; nothing but cabbage soup; nothing but grapefruit; only this with only that; ketogenic , macrobiotic, Dukan, HCG, or any cockamamie nonsense you like – and in the short term, you will wind up restricting choice and calories, losing weight, and because of weight loss, looking transiently like you’ve improved your health, too, without meaningfully or sustainably doing so.
Then, there’s the calories underlying all this, the subject of intense and frequent fascination, preoccupation, doubt, debate , and – well, perpetual nincompoopery. As promised, I want to make this topic combustibly simple, and then once and for all – strike a match to it.
1) Calories, per se, are like the volume of fuel in a fuel tank. More fuel, other things being equal, means more miles to drive. Gas gauges in cars would not measure the changing volume of fuel if it didn’t matter; gas gauges at gas stations wouldn’t…

Emily Green