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4 Diet Shootout – And The Winner Is…

Written by Wellness Club on August 17, 2012 – 3:49 pm -

Another round in the ongoing “Diet Wars” goes to Atkins and the Low Carb diet.


By Nurse Mark


It seems the “Diet Wars” might just never end.


There are the veggie eaters who are disgusted by the cavemen meat eaters,
the whole food and raw food crowds,
the low fat folks,
the high carb and the low carb camps,
the protein lovers and the protein haters,
the juicers and the squeezers,
the junk foodies and super-size me’s, and,
there’s even a bunch that is working valiantly to figure out how they can get all the sustenance they need from sunlight, fresh air, and pure thoughts – who call themselves Breathairians.

Just like so many opposing viewpoints in today’s world – political, religious, tribal, ethnic, and so on – the chances of these different dietary believers ever acknowledging the worth of any diet but their own are slim-to-none.

Still, medical researchers continue to take up the cause and try to figure out if there might really be one dietary regimen that is better than all others – I guess it is just human nature to want to classify things as “Good, Better, and Best” or “winner” and “loser.”

In a study in  called  “Comparison of the Atkins, Zone, Ornish, and LEARN diets for change in weight and related risk factors among overweight premenopausal women: the A TO Z Weight Loss Study: a randomized trial.” done by Stanford University Medical School and published in JAMA in 2007 the researchers looked at 4 popular and relatively “mainstream” diets:

  • The Atkins diet, a very low carbohydrate but liberal fat and protein diet plan,
  • The Zone diet that advocates a “40:30:30″ ratio of calories obtained from carbohydrates, proteins, and fats, respectively,
  • The Ornish diet that excludes cholesterol and saturated fat, including all animal products (except egg whites and nonfat dairy products), nuts, seeds, avocados, chocolate, olives, and coconuts and eliminates all oils, and
  • The LEARN (Lifestyle, Exercise, Attitudes, Relationships, and Nutrition) diet that recommends 55% to 60% energy be obtained from carbohydrate and that less than 10% energy come from from saturated fat.

Three high carbohydrate, low fat diets, put up against one low carbohydrate, high fat diet.

Just over 300 overweight/obese, nondiabetic, premenopausal women were divided into 4 groups and each group was directed to follow one of the four diet plans for a full year.

The main thing that the researchers wanted to see was weight loss – but they also looked at what they called “secondary outcomes” which included lipid profile (aka “cholesterol levels”), percentage of body fat, waist-hip ratio, fasting insulin and glucose levels, and blood pressure.

So, what did they find? (I thought you would never ask…)

Weight loss for each of the diets at the end of 12 months was:

  • Zone diet – about 3.5 pounds (1.6 kg)
  • Ornish diet – about 4.8 pounds (2.2 kg)
  • LEARN diet – about 5.7 pounds (2.6 kg)

And finally; (drum roll please…!)

  • Atkins dieters lost about 10.3 pounds (4.7 kg) with weight losses within that group ranging from as “little” as 6.8 pounds to as much as 13.8 pounds!

And, those “secondary outcomes” that they thought they might check while they were at it?

The researchers were forced to admit that “At 12 months, secondary outcomes for the Atkins group were comparable with or more favorable than the other diet groups.”

And finally, the researchers rather grudgingly conclude that “a low-carbohydrate, high-protein, high-fat diet may be considered a feasible alternative recommendation for weight loss.”

Folks, this is what Dr. Myatt has been telling us for years now. Check out her Super Fast Diet – which actually builds and improves on the success of the Atkins plan with over two decades of Dr. Myatt’s clinical experience and patient successes.



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