Researchers found that dieters following an Atkins Diet-style regimen took off more pounds in the short-term than those on a conventional diet. But before you forsake pasta and fill the fridge with pepperoni, know that the success was fleeting, proving once again that looking for a shortcut to weight loss is like chasing a rainbow.
Two separate studies published in the New England Journal of Medicine in May 2003 compared a low-carbohydrate, high-fat diet modeled after Atkins to a more traditional low-calorie, low-fat diet. One study lasted six months, the other a year. In both, dieters shed more than twice as many pounds in the first six months on the low-carbohydrate plan.
However, the longer study found a fair amount of the weight was regained by the time a year rolled around. In the end, weight-loss differences were not significant.
What's more, the dropout rates were high in both studies, making it hard for researchers to get a clear picture of the results. Keith Ayoob, a dietitian and spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association, a FoodFit Resource Association, noted in a statement that many people in the studies apparently had trouble staying with the low-carbohydrate plan.
"Twelve months is an equalizer," Ayoob said." You hit a wall. Your lifestyle starts to be affected and you get bored. A high dropout rate is a sign that extreme diets can be difficult to maintain. People start to realize they don't want to avoid their favorite foods, even in small amounts, for a long period."
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