­­­New Year’s resolutions, when done right, can lead to self-improvement and a better new year. According to a Marist poll, 40 percent of Americans plan to make a resolution, and the number one resolution is weight loss.

Since losing weight isn’t easy, these resolutions are manna from heaven for diet book authors and publishers offering single-step solutions and mini-miracle cures.  To use two examples from this latest cycle, scaremongering endocrinologist Robert Lustig summons Mighty Government and trial lawyers to treat sugar like sherry, and another author recently demonized the second-most common staple crop on Dr. Oz’s schlocky daytime TV program by calling it “poison.”

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Unfortunately for the average Joe, fad diets aren’t a path to sustainable weight loss, and there are no miracle cures. And even though it’s not easy and doesn’t promise instant or nearly instant miracle cures, only a total lifestyle approach that addresses diet and exercise in a holistic way can succeed. Unfortunately, as we can see here, the “book” that comes from that isn’t exactly profitable.

We can offer it in full, at no charge. The plan here is scientifically based and simple in form. But unlike Lustig’s dubious anti-sugar manifesto, it doesn’t come with a prescription for government intervention. Recognizing that only personal responsibility and a conscious lifestyle change to improve health can work is the first step to success.