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December 6, 2004

New Data Fuels Atkins Meltdown

“Only a minority of successful weight losers consume low-carbohydrate diets.” That’s the conclusion of the Brown Medical School study presented by Suzanne Phelan to the recent meeting of the North American Association for the Study of Obesity. Low-carb and low-fat diets went head-to-head in the 2,700 subject survey aimed at finding out which regimen delivers longer-lasting results.

While neither diet had an edge with regard to initial weight loss, low-fat was the clear winner for long-term losers. These findings are certain to fuel the backlash against low-carb diets. According to a recent poll by the market research firm InsightExpress, more than half of Americans who have tried an Atkins-style diet have given up.

Lasting weight loss is only one of a myriad of reasons to opt for low-fat and eschew low-carb. Decades of research link saturated and trans-fat consumption with raised cholesterol levels and increased risk of cardiovascular disease. Conversely, low-fat diets can lower the risk of several types of cancer, including gastrointestinal, respiratory and reproductive. Since obesity increases your vulnerability to such ailments, low-fat diets offer a double dividend.

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