Organic food and other items are free of pesticides, preservatives, sweeteners and cruelty. The diet emphasizes consumption of whole grains, fruits and vegetables, without eating anything processed, containing trans-fats or artificial flavorings and sweeteners. It’s becoming so popular that many restaurants and gyms, such as Clay Fitness in New York City, offer organic food choices for their clients.

Example Of Food To Consume: pesticide-free fruits and vegetables; whole grains; free-range eggs, chicken and beef; hormone-free milk

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Organic lifestyle and eating has also taken its place among popular diets. Companies such as the Austin, Tex.-based Whole Foods (nasdaq: WFMI news people ) are exploding with stores in every city. They guarantee consumers food and other items that are free of pesticides, preservatives, sweeteners and animal cruelty–the basis of an organic lifestyle. In 2005, Whole Foods saw a one-year sales growth of 21.6%, with revenue leaping to $4.7 billion from $3.8 billion in 2004.

Few nutritionists would dispute that an organic diet is beneficial to health–not only is it more nutrient-dense, but also it is free of chemicals and additives–but there is one problem. Although many people consider organic to be synonymous with guilt-free, it doesn’t mean organic food won’t cause weight gain. It’s a common misconception that food allowed in any diet can be eaten in abundance, when on the contrary, eating too much of anything, organic or not, is a surefire way to get fat.

“There are as many ways to cut down on calories as there are foods out there,” says Marlene Schwartz, the associate director of the Yale Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity. “My advice is to use nutritional common sense–maximize fruits and vegetables, limit the amount of processed foods and keep portion sizes reasonable.”