I n February, The New York Times reported the impressive results of a new study showing that “diet quality, not quantity” was the key to weight loss. Focusing on eating plenty of vegetables and unprocessed foods was a better strategy than counting calories, according to the JAMA study, in which more than 600 people adopted one of two healthy diets for a year. Near the end of the article, however, was a strange caveat: People in both groups had consumed fewer calories than they normally would have. Suddenly, the article’s claims about quality versus quantity seemed suspect.
In reading how the study was conducted, I began to realize: The takeaway here wasn’t about diets; it was about teaching.