AR-News: Sizing up the popular diet plans

Andrew Gach unclewolf at olypen.com
Fri Jul 4 11:51:23 EDT 2003


Among leading weight-loss programs, Weight Watchers is the best and the
Atkins diet is the worst, registered dietitians said in response to a
Chicago Sun-Times survey.

Dietitians who specialize in weight management gave Weight Watchers an
average total score of 20.4, of a possible 25. Among the seven programs
rated, Atkins finished last, with 7.9 points. The lowest possible score was
5.
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Diet books by the late Robert Atkins have sold more than 15 million copies.
The Atkins diet restricts carbohydrates, such as bread, potatoes, pasta,
rice and cereals, while allowing high-fat and high-protein foods such as
pork chops and ham-and-cheese omelets. The idea is to lose weight without
feeling hungry.

But dietitians said Atkins doesn't provide a balanced diet and is difficult
to maintain.

"I have not seen one long-term success story with Atkins in 25 years of
experience," one dietitian wrote. "Many report short-term successes, but,
when you look at their weight one year, two years or five years later, most
often they have kept off none or regained more than the initial weight."

Other dietitians offered scathing comments on Atkins: "Any diet that
restricts fruits, vegetables and whole grains is dangerous because these
foods protect against many diseases ... goes against all of our current
dietary recommendations ... throws years of solid research out the window
... terrible!"

Atkins dieters lost more weight than conventional dieters in two recent
studies published in the New England Journal of Medicine. Among people who
were more than 100 pounds overweight, Atkins dieters lost 12.8 pounds after
six months, compared with 4.2 pounds by conventional dieters. In the second
study, Atkins dieters lost 9.7 pounds after 12 months, compared with 5.5
pounds by conventional dieters.

Both studies were flawed, though, by dropout rates of nearly 40 percent.
Also, the weight loss in the first study was modest compared with how much
dieters needed to lose. And the Atkins advantage in the second study
steadily diminished the longer dieters were followed.

http://www.suntimes.com/cgi-bin/print.cgi




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