Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Low-Carb Is Also Good for Weight Loss

People who follow the low-carb lifestyle report that they feel better when they are doing low-carb. But do they also lose weight?

A study published in March 2007 in the Journal of the American Medical Association says that they do. The A to Z Weight Loss Study, where "A" represents Atkins and "Z" represents Zone, compared those two diets as well as the standard American diet (called LEARN) and the Ornish diet. 311 free-living, overweight/obese (body mass index, 27-40) nondiabetic, premenopausal women were randomized into the four diets and were followed for a year.

The graph above shows clearly that the group doing the Atkins low-carb diet had significantly greater weight loss at 6 months and 12 months than all of the other three groups.

Two other items are interesting. The first is that at 12 months, the Atkins low-carb group had lower systolic and diastolic blood pressures, lower blood glucose, lower triglycerides and higher HDL (good) cholesterol than the other groups, although the differences did not always reach statistical significance. To see a table of the actual numbers, look here.

The second interesting item is that 88% of the women who did the Atkins low-carb diet completed the study. By contrast, the 12-month retention rate among each of the other three groups was about 77%. One of the commonly-used objections to low-carb dieting is that people won't stick with it. In the A-Z Study, over the course of a year, the Atkins low-carb group retained more of its subjects than the groups following the Zone diet, the LEARN diet or the Ornish diet.

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