Yesterday, the Journal of the American Medical Association published a study that indicated the Atkins diet leads to more effective weight loss. Of course, this made major news, but the sweeping headlines were not in the public’s best interest. Why? Here’s a snapshot of the study’s flaws:
- The study was conducted for only 12 months, a timeframe that’s not long enough to determine a diet’s effectiveness (Experts feel that at least two year’s of weight stability is needed to claim success, or permanent weight loss)
- The results suggest that subjects on the Atkins diet reached a plateau after six months and then had the fastest rate of weight gain in comparison with other diets
- The study subjects all had relatively healthy cholesterol levels, blood pressure and blood glucose, so the slight improvements in these values weren’t groundbreaking
While the study suggests the Atkins diet leads to more effective weight loss, I interpret this to be fast weight loss that’s not permanent. Further, weight is not the sole indicator of health but an element of overall wellness.
Clearly, headlines capture attention and sell newspapers, but demonizing an entire food group (carbohydrates) isn’t going to help educate a population that’s really in need of credible advice and sound counsel.