Old way: You’re a slave to miniature meals in plastic trays. Or you go off the food plan, inhale two brownies, and go hungry for the rest of the day.
New way: You don’t really have to count points or calories if you’re eating a lot of fruits and leafy greens, which help keep you feeling full.
Why it’s better: By supplementing those Minnie Mouse portions of pre-packaged beef Stroganoff with a tub of salad, dieters complain less about being hungry.
Old way: The pounds (at least at first) melt off like crazy, but then carb cravings eventually force dieters off the wagon-and pounds accumulate. Like crazy.
New way: We didn’t really mean you can’t have carbs, the leaders of these diets now insist. There’s more emphasis on good carbs, such as fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
Why it’s better: Dieters on South Beach and Atkins may finally have a prayer of sticking with the program.
Old way: You’re allowed lots of whole grains, fruits, and vegetables, but there are tough restrictions on red meats and other fatty foods.
New way: Certain fats—the good ones, from olives, avocados and nuts—are now acceptable. Even red meat has its place on the spectrum, occasionally.
Why it’s better: You no longer feel like a rabbit dying for a burger.