Apparently what I took for fact has been invalidated — the idea that you need to combine certain “complementary” vegetables to get a “complete” protein. The classic example being beans and rice.
Now that I think about it, my belief originated the same place it did for a lot of people: in the seminal 1971 book Diet for a Small Planet, which I perused during a brief stint of vegetarianism back in the day. The protein combining concept has since been discredited. Science wins again! ;)
Even if you’re not planning out a vegetarian diet, but instead substituting for meat as much as possible, it’s useful information to have.
A recent article in the LA Times — “Low-fat diet not tops for weight loss, study finds” — covers a study showing that low-fat diets are the worst for weight-loss, compared to low-carb and a Mediterranean diet.
The average weight loss in all three diet plans was small, and participants regained some of their pounds before the two-year study was over. Atkins dieters lost an average of 12 pounds; those on the Mediterranean regimen — which included nuts, fish and olive oil — shed an average of 10 pounds; and people assigned to the low-fat program lost an average of 7.3 pounds.
Whatever the nutritional issues with a low-carb diet (the study was sponsored by the low-carb-pushing Atkins Foundation, so keep that in mind), the real key to all this is a reasonable caloric intake, nutritionally sensible (i.e. not eliminating any of the macronutrients from your diet), accompanied by exercise. You know, the usual. ;)