All of the media is reporting this week that in a four-way showdown, the Atkins diet works best. But the real news is: Diets don't seem to work at all.
We all knew that. Eating appropriate portions -- the RightSize of calories, fats, proteins and cabrohydrates -- is the only way.
From All Things Considered, March 6:
The research finds that women assigned to the Atkins diet – the diet with the lowest carbohydrate intake – lost slightly more weight than women on other diets.Brownell, director of the Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity at Yale University, said in USA Today, "To me, the overall message is that everything works about the same, and that's not very well. This study screams out for the need to emphasize prevention of weight gain."
The study, published in the The Journal of the American Medical Association, compared four diets.
— The Atkins diet, which is high in protein and low in carbs.
— The Zone diet, which is low-carb but not as low as Atkins.
— The LEARN diet — which stands for "lifestyle, exercise, attitudes, relationships and nutrition." It's low in fat, high in carbohydrates, and most commonly recommended by health professionals.
— The Ornish diet, which is high in carbohydrates, but very low in fat.
In the study, 311 women who were 15 to 100 pounds overweight were assigned to one of the four diets. After one year, Gardner assessed the women's health and weight.
Gardner found that the Atkins group – the low-carb group — lost twice as much weight as women following the other diets. But twice as much wasn't very much.
On Atkins, the average weight loss after a year was 10 pounds. On LEARN, Zone and the Ornish diets, women lost three to six pounds. With all diets, the participants' health improved: All of the women who lost weight also lowered their cholesterol, triglycerides and blood sugar.