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Good and bad diets

As anyone who's ever attempted dieting knows, advice on weight loss comes from every corner. Friends might swear by the latest dieting trend while family members may be just as adamantly convinced the trend doesn't have merit.

So what's true and what's false? Simply put, combining a healthy diet with regular exercise is the best way to lose weight and keep that weight off. While most adults are fully aware of that fact, that doesn't stop them from finding the latest fad and letting it dictate their eating habits for days or even weeks. For those about to diet, consider the following good and bad diet fads.

The Good

• Portion control: Many diets emphasize the importance of portion control. Research has indicated it's not just what we eat that causes weight gain, but how much we're eating as well. In a study in the American Journal of Public Health, researchers found cookies are 700 percent bigger than the suggested USDA standards. And it's not just cookies that are much bigger than recommended, as our servings of pasta (480 percent), muffins (333 percent) and bagels (195 percent) are much bigger than they should be. While not all diets that promote portion control are necessarily healthy, portion control on its own is a healthy way for everyone to approach their daily diet.

• Lifestyle change: Individuals who want to lose weight should look for dietary tips that promote a change in lifestyle and not just changes in diet. Look for diets that don't have a timeline, promoting fast weight loss in "X" amount of weeks. A diet that promotes a longterm commitment to eating healthy foods while also encouraging daily exercise is one that's likely going to be more successful and beneficial than one that promises significant weight loss in a short period of time.

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