A study that appeared in the March 6 issue of JAMA shed a favorable light on a diet that is, relative to USDA recommendations, lower in carbohydrate and higher in protein and fat.
Researchers randomly assigned overweight premenopausal women to one of 4 diets representing a range of carbohydrate intake: Atkins (low-carb), Zone, LEARN (follows USDA Food Guide Pyramid), and Ornish (high-carb). The women received instruction on the diets and were followed for a year.
"Women assigned to follow the Atkins diet, which had the lowest carbohydrate intake, lost more weight and experienced more favorable overall metabolic effects at 12 months than women assigned to follow the Zone, Ornish, or LEARN diets."
However, overall weight loss was minimal:
There was no difference in fasting glucose or insulin among the 4 groups. Women following the Atkins diet did experience a small reduction in systolic blood pressure relative to the other diets.
For the study (abstract):
Comparison of the Atkins, Zone, Ornish, and LEARN Diets for Change in Weight and Related Risk Factors Among Overweight Premenopausal Women
And the Winner Is ... Well, Nobody
Atkins Beats Other Diet Plans In Study