The latest research in the Journal of the American Medical Association compared two low carb and two low fat diets. Atkins restricts carbs to 20 to 50 grams or less a day. The zone divees up calories between carb, protein and fat in a 40-30-30 percentage distribution. The low fat diets included the learn diet which calls for less then ten percent of calories from saturated fat. The Ornish diet calls for less than ten percent of calories total from any fat.
All the subjects were obese pre-menopausal women…all with the same overall profile. After 12 months, the researchers found that weight loss was greater for women in the Atkins diet group—ten pounds, compared to around five pounds for the low fat diets. Atkins gave better HDL, or good cholesterol improvements, better triglyceride improvements, and while the LDL, or bad cholesterol rose early on, after twelve months, there was no difference between Atkins dieters and those in the other groups.
Add to that…blood pressure improvements were better in the Atkins group, specifically in the upper or systolic number. “Everyone has been concerned about the risk of heart disease associated with the increase of fat intake and this study may show that it is not a big a risk as many one thought but twelve months is a short time frame when you consider a lifetime,” says Judy Porcari, a nutritionist at North Shore University Hospital.
So it appears there may be a surprising winner in the diet wars--at least, if you’re looking at results one year out. “I think it is very hard to predict the long term success rates of the patients who were successful at the Akins diet, one year is a long time and they may very well be able to continue but I think it is very hard to predict the outcome three, five years out. I think a persons success rate, motivation is influenced by many, many factors and one food group is probably not going to be the be all, end all for one person,” Ms. Porcari states.
The study authors stress that if people are going to go on the Atkins diet, they should follow the actual diet, which includes all kinds of healthy proteins, not just those that are high in fat and cholesterol.