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New study finds quality more important than quantity in dieting

Fruits and vegetables are important in any diet plan. (SBGTV photo)

If you’ve struggled with your weight, a new study is changing the way you diet.

Dietitians are now advising you not to get too bogged down counting calories or cutting fat. Instead think "quality over quantity."

The weight loss journey for photographer Cody Murphy, who works for a Sinclair Broadcast Group television station, all started about three years ago when he got the flu.

"I go to the doctor, step on the scale and it reads (an) outrageous number - 333 pounds," says Murphy. "I just remember thinking, 'Well, that will kill me.'"

He decided he had to do something. So he kept it simple - cutting out processed foods.

"I stuck with it - fruits, vegetables, all that stuff," says Murphy. "And I weighed myself at the end of every week with this common-sense diet plan, and the pounds started coming off."

In total, he lost about 200 pounds.

Now a newly released study from the Journal of the American Medical Association says losing weight is about just that - quality over quantity.

Stephanie Vandergriff, a registered dietitian, says: "I think this study really blows all of those out of the water, and makes us take a step back and realize that we need to stop ... picking sides."

Researchers had some people follow a low-carbohydrate diet, others a low-fat plan - but the one similarity? No calorie counting.

Overall, when low-fat and low-carb were put head to head, there was no clear winner. Researchers found that both sides generally lost the same amount of weight - 11 pounds a year for low-fat dieters and 13 pounds for the low-carb group. Researchers worked with more than 600 men and women.

"Without even trying, these groups ate less calories overall," says Vandergriff. "They ate until they were satisfied, so they were happy."

This dietitians advice for you - try to substitute processed food for healthy options.

"Even if you just picked one meal to start with - just breakfast - because it is such an important one for everyone to really kind of kick-start their day with energy," says Vandergriff.

And sticking with it? Murphy says there is nothing better.

"I went to replace my wardrobe with all the Black Friday deals and went in the dressing room. And I almost started crying because I fit in a size small - just because I thought I would never see the day," he says. "And that almost made me tear up, and I don't really tell people that. But if you make it, there is no better feeling than reaching that end goal."

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