Atkins Diet Holds Little Weight

Supplied by Joel Fuhrman,

Study Finds Little To Support Claims For The Controversial Diet.

By Jeff Novick, M.S., R.D.

A comprehensive review of medical studies involving more than 3,200 patients found that there is not sufficient evidence for the widely-used, but controversial, low-carbohydrate diets made popular by Robert C. Atkins. After considering more than 2,600 studies published in medical journals since the mid-1960s, and finding just 107 worthy of analysis, researchers came up with one general conclusion: If you are losing weight on the Atkins or any other low-carbohydrate diets, it’s because you’re consuming fewer calories, not because you are consuming fewer carbohydrates.

This study (which was reported recently in the Journal of the American Medical Association), led by Dena M. Bravata of the Center for Primary Care and Outcomes Research at Stanford University in California, shows how willing Americans are to adopt a diet even though there is little data to document its effectiveness.

Dr. Bravata and her colleagues found just five published studies related to low-carbohydrate diets that followed patients for more than 90 days, and none of them was a randomized controlled study, which is considered the most reliable design for medical research. Some of the studies did provide evidence of short-term weight loss, Dr. Bravata said, but when researchers considered which factors were associated with that effect, “it was calories and how long they were on the diet, and not carbohydrates,” she said. That finding was in line with other studies on the subject.

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