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Fast Food Diets and Better-For-You Ice Cream from Baskin-Robbins and Taco Bell

Normally this is about the time of year that people start breaking their New Year's Resolutions. But with Taco Bell and Baskin-Robbins' help, maybe this year will be different, at least on the dieting front. The companies kicked off 2010 with new low-calorie offerings, as did Starbucks, Subway and Dunkin' Donuts.

In theory, it sounds kind of stupid. If you're on a diet, Taco Bell and Baskin-Robbins are clearly not your best options -- even 150-calorie tacos or fat-free, sugar-free ice cream.

But back in the real world, where most of us can't seem to help ourselves from eating junk food, it might not be such a bad thing to have lower-calorie options. Not ideal, but better than the alternatives. As nutrition professor Alice Lichtenstein put it, these items may not be rich with nutrients, but with obesity being the country's number one health problem, what matters "in the long run, is the total number of calories you consume."