An Almost Foolproof Way to Lose Weight

This isn't a fancy diet with books and meetings and Web sites, but a new study from a research dietician at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign concludes that you can lose weight the easy way on what is being dubbed the Supermarket Diet.

How? For lunch and dinner eat frozen diet entrees from Healthy Choice, Smart Ones, Lean Cuisine, and others, reports syndicated newspaper columnist Charles Stuart Platkin, author of "Breaking the Pattern."

The Supermarket Diet works like Jenny Craig or NutriSystem, except you don't have to join a program. You just have to grocery shop. Lead researcher Sandra M. Hannum determined that prepackaged frozen dinners--as long as they were diet dinners--were an uncomplicated and surefire way to lose weight.

Why do they work? Portion control. Most weight gain isn't due to what we eat but rather how much we eat. These frozen dinners control the portion size for the dieter. Platkin writes, "This means you can scarf down the entire meal without any guilt. Not only that, but frozen meals can teach people appropriate serving sizes."

This is the easiest diet on Earth. No special diet foods. No medications. No extreme measures. Just grab entrees from the frozen foods section of your favorite grocery store and you can lose weight. Platkin has some interesting advice: Spend about $60 in the beginning so you can taste-test 20 meals. Choose a wide variety, and figure out which ones you like best.

One word of caution: Many of these frozen dinners skimp on vegetables, so do add a piece of fruit, salad, or serving of fresh or frozen veggies. To make the portion size seem larger, serve the dinner on a plate.

The study findings were reported in the journal Obesity Research.