Ah, all those people who hate the Atkins diet are going to hate this study, proving once again that Atkins is a healthy long term diet and is better for weight loss than the other plans studied. Four plans were studied - Atkins, Learn, the Zone, and Ornish. It breaks down thus:
ATKINS (20g carbs daily for 2-3 months, 50g daily thereafter)
ZONE (40-30-30 ratio of carbs to protein to fat)
LEARN (55-60% carb intake, less than 10% saturated fat)
ORNISH (No more than 10% calories from fat)
After one year, some of the participats had fallen off their plans. Atkins had the highest retention rate:
ATKINS - 88 percent
ZONE - 77 percent
LEARN - 76 percent
ORNISH - 78 percent
...and lost more weight than the other three groups.
The study was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), March 2007:
Comparison of the Atkins, Zone, Ornish, and LEARN Diets for Change in Weight and Related Risk Factors Among Overweight Premenopausal Women
A .pdf of the full study can be found here.
Here's the layman's explanation of the "medical-ese" in the above linked study:
The body mass index of the ATKINS group at the end of the study had been reduced by more than three times as much as the ZONE group and twice as much as the ORNISH group. At the same time, the body fat percentage loss for the ATKINS group after 12 months was three times higher than the LEARN and ZONE groups as twice as high as the ORNISH group. This echoes what previous research found regarding body fat loss on a low-carb diet.
As for cholesterol, LDL remained relatively stable among all groups except for the ORNISH group which saw a noticable drop, but it was the HDL and triglycerides numbers (which this recent study confirms is a better marker for measuring heart health anyway) that were dramatically different.
The ORNISH group saw HDL remain exactly the same after 12-months while the ZONE and LEARN groups saw equally modest increases in HDL. But it was the ATKINS group's rise in HDL that was more than double that of ZONE and LEARN while their triglycerides dipped twice as much as ORNISH and LEARN groups and seven times as much as the ZONE group.
While the waist-to-hip ratio and blood glucose levels were not statistically different among all groups (although the ATKINS group again saw a greater drop in insulin levels), blood pressure among the ATKINS group was significantly lower than all the other groups, including nearly four times lower than the ORNISH group.
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