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Low Carb Diet Triumphs in Two Year Study

Aug 6, 2008
The Dr. Atkins low-carb diet thumps traditional diets in weight loss research. The study by Ben-Gurion University of the Negev pitted the low-carb diet against Mediterranean and low-fat diets. Low-carb was declared the winner in helping the most people lose the most weight.

The research produced even bigger news. The low-card diet improved cholesterol levels more than the other diets.

The study lasted for two years, which was much longer than most diet studies. In addition, 85% of the 322 people who began the test stuck with the plan for the entire two years.

Most of the participants in the study were men and both men and women get roughly equal amounts of exercise. The average weight loss for people in the low-carb group was 10.3 pounds at the end of the two year study.

The Mediterranean diet group come in a close second as the average weight loss per person was 10 pounds. The low fat dieters finished in third place with 6.5 pounds of average weight loss.

The low-carb diet provided a big surprise for researchers when it was found that the diet also provided an important reduction in the level of cholesterol. That included an improvement in the ratio of total cholesterol to HDL. HDL is considered the "good" cholesterol.

The diet study was done in a controlled environment in Israel. The participants were employees of an isolated nuclear-research company. There were few sources of food nearby, so the study group took all of their meals in the facility's cafeteria. To maintain control of the study appropriate foods for each diet were identified by colored dots. Participants had their choice of foods marked with the color of their diet plan

The low-fat diet was designed to allow consumption of no more than 30% of calories from fat. In addition it restricted the intake of calories and cholesterol. It controlled that intake by focusing the diet on low-fat grains, vegetables and fruits.

With the Mediterranean style diet the food emphases was on poultry, fish, olive oil and nuts.

The low-carb diet plan limited consumption of carbohydrates, but set no limits for calories or fats. It was suggested that participants in that group choose from vegetarian sources of fat and protein.

Someone with total cholesterol of 200 and an HDL of 50 would have a ratio of 4 to 1. The American Heart Association recommends an optimum ratio of 3.5 to 1. A low ratio reduces the risk of hardening of the arteries. For those on the low-carb diets the ratio declined by 20%, 16 for the Mediterranean diet and 12% for those on the low fat diet.

Research published last year shows a low-carb diet wins again when it comes to blood pressure. It was found that overweight women on the Atkins low-carb plan had slightly better blood pressure and cholesterol readings when compared with women on the Zone diet and Ornish diet.

Yes, anyone who is serious about losing pounds, maintaining good cholesterol and controlling blood pressure, can have high hopes with the Atkins low-carb diet.
About the Author
Ethan Miller is the low-carb oracle. Discover the surprise benefits of low-carb dieting at his website http://www.lowcarbrescue.com
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