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How to Eat Fewer Fats continued...

When you're filling your plate, Bonci says, start with the foods you know are good for you.

"If half of the plate is red, yellow, orange, or green -- and it is not M&Ms -- that's cool," she says. "And if another third of the plate is lean plant or animal protein. And if the remainder of the plate is grain, that's not fat either. But even if you decide at that point to have french fries or a pastry -- well, there's not much more room on the plate, so you're not getting an overwhelming dose of fat."

If you want a doughnut, Bonci tells her football players, go buy a doughnut, not a box. Gotta have chips? Get a tiny bag, not a family-sized bag.

Not everyone has this much self-control, Dansinger says. He should know, as the people he advises on The Biggest Loser have serious self-control issues.

The answer for those of use who tend to be immoderate is "voluntary submission" to someone -- a trainer, for example, or a doctor -- who will hold our feet to the fire.

"If adherence to a plan is the key, the key to adherence is voluntary submission," Dansinger says. "I let my patients know there is a certain set of rules: keeping a food record, following a particular food strategy, and exercising. The principle of being accountable to an outside authority has been a key to my success."

The bottom line, Eckel says, is to enjoy good foods and to limit -- not deny ourselves -- consumption of foods that carry a risk.

"We emphasize the good side of the equation: Enjoy fruits and vegetables, whole grains, poultry, and fish," he says. "And if we enjoy fatty foods on certain occasions, I don't think we need to contest that."

The Eckel study appears in the February issue of the Journal of the American Dietetic Association.

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