A randomized trial has compared Atkins, Zone Diet, Ornish, and LEARN. Over a period of 12 months weight loss on Atkins was significantly greater than the other three diets. Those using Atkins also “experienced more favorable overall metabolic effects”.This study has hit all media outlets like a storm. To those who currently follow the Atkins diet it will come as no surprise. Those who have completely bagged Atkins will be forced to do some soul-searching and/or a very critical analysis of the trial (see abstract here).
The sad thing is, that on this trial – the average weight loss over a year was just 2.8kg (6lbs.) Even on Atkins, the mean weight loss was just 10.3 pounds.
For me, the take home message is this: If Atkins works for you and your lifestyle – then you can quite happily ignore all the nay-sayers and people who are telling you you are about to have a heart attack. To all others – pursue what works for you.
The best diet is the one you don’t know you’re on.
History and controversy surrounding the Atkins Diet
Low-carb diets have grown in popularity since 1972 when Dr. Robert Atkins published Dr. Atkins Diet Revolution, a new approach to weight-loss advocating consuming foods high in saturated fat, which is in direct opposition to the traditional diet norm of minimizing fat intake.
While initially viewed as a radical and dangerous weight-loss plan, in recent years the American Heart Association has acknowledged that low-carbohydrate diets offer some benefit for treating conditions like metabolic syndrome. Metabolic syndrome is a collection of conditions known to lead to heart disease, such as obesity and high blood pressure.
However, shortly after Dr. Atkins died in 2003, reportedly from head injuries he sustained when falling outside his New York clinic, a medical examiners report revealed Dr. Atkins suffered a heart attack, congestive heart failure, and high blood pressure prior to his death. This has led to continued speculation of the health benefits of a diet so heavy in saturated fats.