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Keep it simple: The easiest, healthiest way to lose weight

By Mandy Oaklander for

Yup, you’re about to read another diet post, but not to worry: You won’t hear anything about calorie-counting or eating like a caveman here. Instead, new research reveals that the best way to lose weight is surprisingly simple: Eat more produce and sit less.

Researchers from Northwestern University studied how well four different health strategies worked over 20 weeks. The diets included: Eating less fat and getting more exercise; eating more fruits and veggies and working out more; eating more produce and reducing sedentary time; and cutting down on fat while lowering the amount of sedentary time.

The results surprised even the researchers, says Bonnie Spring, PhD, professor of preventive medicine and co-author of the study. That low-fat, high-exercise diet health experts usually advise? It performed the worst in the bunch. The winner: Eating more fruits and veggies and making an effort to sit less. In the winning diet, daily fruit and vegetable intake increased from about one serving to more than five, and leisure time spent sitting plummeted from 219 minutes to 89.

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