The Atkins low carb diet was the brain-child of Dr. R. C. Atkins who claimed that it would initiate a greater weight loss than a conventional, low calorie diet composed of a “balance” of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins.
A study was reported in the New England Journal of Medicine in 2003 in which the investigators’ aim was to conduct a controlled experiment to determine the differences in weight loss of both obese men and women who consumed either the basic low carbohydrate Atkins diet or a conventional diet of reduced total calories. The study lasted for one year.
Besides weight loss, a number of other tests also were conducted, including blood sugar, blood cholesterol, HDL cholesterol (the good cholesterol), insulin levels, and blood pressure.
The results were interesting and different than most traditional nutritionists would have expected.
As Dr. Atkins had claimed all along, after 3 months, the volunteers who ate the Atkins diet lost 7-10% of their original body weight while those who ate the conventional low-calorie diet only lost 3-5% of their original weight.
After 6 months, the results were similar to those at 3 months; however, after one year, those on the Atkins diet had regained enough weight so that differences in weight loss between the two diets were not significant.
Another interesting result supported the view of the traditional nutritionists in that total serum cholesterol was increased about 3% while those fed the conventional diet had reduced their cholesterol about 5%.
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Neither diet affected blood sugar, blood pressure, or insulin levels, although the insulin levels of those consuming the Atkins diet tended to be lower than of those consuming the low calorie conventional diet.
The final results of the study suggested that volunteers who consume the Atkins diet may initially lose weight faster than those consuming the conventional diet, but after a long period of consuming the diets, the differences may be lost.
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