View Full Version : Interesting study: Atkin-type diet wins over low-fat!
07-19-2008, 11:45 AM
I know most people here are not a fan of the Atkins diet (nor am I), but I just thought this study had some interesting results.
Apparently those on the low-carb Atkins-type diet after two years had lost more weight and had better cholesterol than those following a low-fat vegetarian or Mediterranean diet. However, those on the low-carb diet were encouraged to eat low-fat vegetarian sources of protein, which I'm not sure the Atkins diet actually does?
Also interesting is that the main funder is the Dr. Robert C. and Veronica Atkins Foundation.
What do ya think?
07-19-2008, 12:05 PM
What specific study was it, how was it conducted, what was the method of gathering research, etc. Did you read the actual study or just the little blurb they send off to the press?
I remember a similar (or perhaps the same) study from a while back saying about the same thing. The study worked like this:
1. There were a number of groups of people given a different diet each to follow.
2. Each group was educated on how to follow the diet and told how to exercise and then sent off on their own.
3. The study participants reported over the phone to the researchers about what they'd eaten and how much they'd exercised. Being as most of them didn't lose a lot of weight, the figures they reported don't seem very realistic.
Things to consider:
1. The participants' responses were not monitored, making it very easy for them to lie
2. The participants had motivation to lie: they were being paid to do a diets study, and it wouldn't make sense for them to phone up and say, "um....actually, I cheat on the diet....a lot....and....well, I haven't exercised in ages.
Think about it.
(The above notes are in reference to the study entitled "Comparison of the Atkins, Zone, Ornish, and Learn Diets for Change in Weight and Related Risk Factors Among Overweight Menopausal Women" from the AMA's Journal in March 2007)
07-19-2008, 01:14 PM
I thought it was interesting that the high protein group was encouraged to favor protein from plant sources. So it wasn't very Atkins-like. It seems misleading to call it "Atkins" but that may be spin from the press rather than the researchers. At least the researchers were encouraging a more healthy diet than the old-school high protein diets.
It makes sense to me that all three diets worked as compared to unrestrained eating.
I remember there used to be people at work doing Atkins. They would pile their lunch plates with a couple of pounds of processed meat and cheese. Blech!
07-19-2008, 01:22 PM
Wow I can't believe I forgot to post the link! Here it is:
07-19-2008, 04:52 PM
There is a great reply on Joel Fuhrman's blog I think (or maybe Neal Barnard?). Read it a couple days ago. I would put the link here but I'm so not good with computers :-)
07-19-2008, 05:37 PM
"Average weight loss for those in the low-carb group was 10.3 pounds after two years. Those in the Mediterranean diet lost 10 pounds, and those on the low-fat regimen dropped 6.5."
This doesn't surprise me. Low-carb on its own willl in fact encourage a state of ketosis within the body. Low-fat, however, does not have any associated effects of its own, and so I can understand why participants may or may not lose weight. The Mediterranean diet is modeled after that area, and is, in general, quite a healthy way of eating, so it is no surprise that those who followed it lost a lot of weight.
The conclusions I am gathering are quite different from your original statement. This study has nothing to do with the Atkins diet other than that the associate foundation was the main source of funds. It is also worth noting that the low-carb diet as described as well as the Mediterranean diet scored comparably well in both categories of focus.
07-19-2008, 05:38 PM
But it's stuff like this that is disturbing:
"The study is not the first to offer a favourable comparison of an Atkins-like diet. Research published in the Journal of the American Medical Association last year found overweight women on the Atkins plan had slightly better blood pressure and cholesterol readings than those on the low-carb Zone diet, the low-fat Ornish diet and a low-fat diet that followed U.S. government guidelines."
That is almost indubitably in reference to the study I mentioned earlier in this thread. This is why it is unwise to take for granted what the press has written, ignoring the details of the study and how it was conducted.
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