3 Studies into Atkins Diet and Long-Term Weight Loss
The Atkins low carb diet program is reported to have sold over 10 million copies worldwide. The diet involves restricting intake of carbohydrate (initially to a level of 20g per day) whilst indulging in foods high in protein and fat.
Weight Loss on Low Carb Diets Not Significantly Different
There is very little good quality scientific research on this diet, despite its popularity. However, one study published earlier this year in the New England Journal of Medicine looked at 63 obese men and women who were randomly assigned to follow either a low-carbohydrate diet or a low-fat diet for a year. The low-carbohydrate diet produced greater weight loss over the first 6 months. However, after a year there was no significant difference between the two groups as the Atkins group experienced greater weight re-gain. Early dietary compliance may be linked to the satiating effects of the protein.
A further study published in the New England Journal of Medicine randomly assigned 132 severely obese subjects to either a low-carbohydrate diet or a low-fat diet for six months. More weight was lost on the low-carbohydrate diet. However, overall weight loss was small and there was a high drop out rate. The authors advise that their results should be interpreted with caution, given the small magnitude of weight loss overall, the small between groups differences in weight loss and the short duration of the study. It is recommended by the authors that further studies are needed that evaluate long-term cardiovascular outcomes before a carbohydrate-restricted diet can be endorsed.
No Significant Difference in Weight Loss Between Low Carb and Other Diets - UK Study
A UK study earlier this year by the BBC programme Diet Trials looked at four types of diets: Dr Atkins, Slimfast, Rosemary Conley and Weight Watchers. Results showed that in the first three months of the trial those following the Atkins diet lost weight more rapidly. However at the end of the trial there were no significant differences between the diet groups.
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