Comparison of the Atkins, Zone, Ornish, and LEARN Diets for Change in Weight and Related Risk Factors Among Overweight Premenopausal Women

For the 249 participants who completed the full 12-month protocol, we examined the independent effect of diet group on secondary outcomes after adjusting for 12-month changes in weight using linear regression

Christopher D. Gardner; Alexandre Kiazand; Sofiya Alhassan; Soowon Kim; Randall S. Stafford; Raymond R. Balise; Helena C. Kraemer; Abby C. King


Scholarcy highlights

  • THE ONGOING OBESITY EPIdemic, along with its health costs and consequences and the health benefits of weight loss, have been well established
  • Weight loss was greater for women in the Atkins diet group compared with the other diet groups at 12 months, and mean 12-month weight loss was significantly different between the Atkins and Zone diets
  • While questions remain about long-term effects and mechanisms, a low-carbohydrate, high-protein, high-fat diet may be considered a feasible alternative recommendation for weight loss
  • In this study of overweight and obese premenopausal women, those assigned to follow the Atkins diet had more weight loss and more favorable outcomes for metabolic effects at 1 year than women assigned to the Zone, Ornish, or LEARN diets
  • Concerns about adverse metabolic effects of the Atkins diet were not substantiated within the 12-month study period
  • Mean 12-month weight change was −4.7 kg for Atkins, −1.6 kg for Zone, −2.2 kg for LEARN, and −2.6 kg for Ornish and was significantly different for Atkins vs Zone
  • Physicians whose patients initiate a low-carbohydrate diet can be reassured that weight loss is likely to be at least as large as for any other dietary pattern and that the lipid effects are unlikely to be of immediate concern
  • Physicians should caution patients that long-term success requires permanent alterations in energy intake and energy expenditure, regardless of macronutrient content

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