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March 08, 2007

JAMA Study: Atkins Beats Other Popular Diet Plans For Weight Loss

Not by a whole bunch, but it wins.

The participants were 311 fat women aged 25 to 50, randomly assigned to one diet or another. According to the Wall Street Journal, women on Atkins "lost the most weight. But there's one catch—the women didn't really stick to the diet." The study's lead author, Christopher Gardner of Stanford University, concludes: "Is this a vindication of Atkins? No, because they weren't really following Atkins."

Now, wait a muffin-pickin' minute. There are plenty of caveats worth noting about this study. But the fact that participants didn't stick to their regimens, as the diet gurus who lost to Atkins are pointing out in every available forum, isn't one of them. Unless you plan on jailing people and sliding food under the door, their ability and willingness to adhere to your diet are crucial factors in its effectiveness. If they're too weak or stupid to follow the formula, stop telling them to buy it.

According to the study, "Weight loss was greater for women in the Atkins diet group compared with the other diet groups at 12 months, and mean 12-month weight loss was significantly different between the Atkins and Zone diets." Furthermore, "At 12 months, secondary outcomes for the Atkins group were comparable with or more favorable than the other diet groups." In short, Atkins did no harm and slightly more good.

Diet gurus similarly criticize the study as subjects seem to have cheated on their diets, too, and thus didn't really follow "their diets." But the piece notes that, in practical terms, a diet is not merely a plan, but rather a plan plus the most likely realistic implementation of that plan. And in that sense, Atkins seems to win -- it's simple, it's more livable than other plans (though pretty damn annoying), and easier to avoid cheating on.

Just saying.

I have a vested interests in pimping this. A year ago there were Atkins friendly products everywhere. Now the craze is over and all those tasty low-carb snacks are gone. Low-carb ice cream? Yeah, you can get it, if you're happy with the wide selection of vanilla, chocloate, or strawberry.

Damn. I used to be able to get cookies & cream. Good times.


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posted by Ace at 09:22 PM

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