An Atkin's-type diet that is low in carbohydrates produces much greater weight loss than the low-calorie, low-fat diet currently endorsed by the US National Cholesterol Education Program (NCEP), new research shows.
As reported in the Archives of Internal Medicine, researchers from the Agatston Research Institute (think Dr. Arthur Agatston, author of the South Beach diet!) in Miami Beach, Florida, assessed weight loss in 60 people who were put on a modified low-carbohydrate diet or the NCEP diet for 12 weeks. Roughly 36 percent of subjects in each group were considered overweight or obese.
With the NCEP diet, the percentage of calories from fat, carbohydrate, and protein held steady throughout the study at 30, 55, and 15 percent, respectively. On the modified low-carbohydrate diet, the percentages fluctuated during the study, but the percentage from carbohydrates never exceeded 28 percent.
The average weight loss achieved with the modified low-carbohydrate diet was 13.6 pounds, nearly double that achieved with the NCEP diet. Moreover, the low-carb diet was linked to favorable changes in all cholesterol levels, whereas the NCEP diet produced more limited improvements.
The groups were comparable in terms of satisfaction with the assigned diet and the weight loss counseling they were given.
These findings add to previous research showing that following such a diet over the short term (3 to 6 months) is more effective at promoting weight loss that a low fat diet. However, research lasting one year has shown no difference between the two diets.
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