Study Compares Four Diet Plans in Overweight Women

Women on Atkins diet lose more than those on three other diet programs

TUESDAY, March 6 (HealthDay News) -- The Atkins diet may be the best at helping overweight premenopausal women lose weight, according to the results of a head-to-head competition with three other diet programs published in the March 7 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Christopher D. Gardner, Ph.D., of Stanford University Medical School in Stanford, Calif., and colleagues examined the year-long effect of four diet plans on weight loss in 311 overweight or obese premenopausal women. The diets were Atkins (very low in carbohydrates); Zone (low in carbohydrates); LEARN (Lifestyle, Exercise, Attitudes, Relationships, and Nutrition, which is a low-fat, high-carbohydrate diet based on national guidelines); and Ornish (high in carbohydrates).

Women on the Atkins diet lost an average of 10.4 pounds after 12 months, compared with 3.5 pounds for Zone, 5.7 pounds for LEARN and 4.8 pounds for Ornish. Lipid, insulin and glucose levels, as well as blood pressure measurements, were comparable or more favorable with the Atkins diet than with the other diets.

"Concerns about adverse metabolic effects of the Atkins diet were not substantiated within the 12-month study period," the authors write. "As with any diet, physicians should caution patients that long-term success requires permanent alterations in energy intake and energy expenditure, regardless of macronutrient content."

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