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Diet Craze

The Old Testament Weight-Loss Plan and Other Wacky Diets

If you're like me, you've already broken a few of your New Year's resolutions. If, however, your will to lose weight is stronger than ever, US News & World Report has some helpful intel. It ranked 32 current diets for effectiveness and simplicity, naming the DASH Diet (developed to fight high blood pressure; the focus is on fruits, vegetables, lean protein, low-fat dairy) and the TLC Diet (focusing on increasing fiber intake and cutting back on saturated fat) as the winners. Tied at the bottom of the list are the Dukan Diet (the super-strict high-protein diet that claims you'll lose 10 pounds in the first week) and the Paleo Diet (followers eat like cavemen: lots of meat, fish and vegetables; not a lot of refined sugar, beans, grains).

And then there are a few new weight loss plans that somehow missed the rankings, like the Mushroom Diet and the God Diet. Read on to learn how to lose weight according to the Old Testament.

The M-Plan (a.k.a. the Mushroom Diet)
Kelly Osbourne and Katy Perry are both fans of this new British diet, which claims to help dieters lose weight in target areas—butt, thighs, belly—without losing it from another key place, your breasts. The secret, they say, is to replace one meal a day with a mushroom dish over a two-week period. Nutritionist Jeannette Jackson, author of The Drop Zone Diet, argues for the Mushroom Diet: "The dietary fiber in mushrooms helps... you feel more satisfied, so you won't be hungry again as quickly, preventing you from snacking." Nutritionist Tanya Zuckerbrot has bad news about the diet's ability to target problem areas, though: "I'm sure you will lose weight, but the fact remains that no food in particular can create targeted weight loss. Whether it's mushroom or steak, the laws of thermodynamics dictate, if you consume less calories, you will lose weight, just not everywhere but your breasts."

The Daniel Plan (a.k.a. the God Diet)
People look to the Bible for a lot of things. And now, finally, for specific weight loss guidance. This diet is based on the eating habits of the Old Testament prophet Daniel, who refused rich foods and ate only vegetables for 10 days to demonstrate his resistance to King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon (Daniel 1:8 says, "But Daniel made up his mind that he would not defile himself with the king's choice food or with the wine which he drank..."). The modern-day version of Daniel's diet, as promoted by the Daniel Plan, is less ascetic: It focuses on vegetable-heavy meals and some lean protein (either meat or vegetable), with at least 50 percent of one's plate consisting of nonstarchy vegetables. Pastor Rick Warren of Saddleback Church in So Cal is among the diet's founders, who also include Dr. Mehmet Oz and the appropriately named Dr. Daniel Amen.

The Miracle Berry Diet
In January 2013, Homaro Cantu (chef of the Chicago restaurants Moto and iNG) published The Miracle Berry Diet Cookbook. It's based on the properties of this Miracle Berry to alter flavor perceptions. The berry, grown in West Africa, makes sour flavors taste sweet for 30 to 40 minutes, so dieters can eat the berry (which also comes in powder or pill form, available at mberry.us) and then replace traditional high-calorie sweeteners like sugar with lemon juice, which will taste sweet. So have a berry with your glass of lemon water; you've got lemonade. Cantu also suggests that having a berry with your yogurt can make you think you're eating cheesecake. "Everyone talks about taxing sugar," says the chef, "but at end of the day, we're addicted to sweetness. We're never going to give up, so let's give them sweetness without calories and chemicals."

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