Low-Carb diet studies should require strict adherence

Filed under: Study — @ August 21, 2007

I am blessed to have some of the most intelligent, insightful, and introspective readers on the Internet coming to Carbwire and gracing us with their presence each and every day. It is my distinct pleasure to have so many of you not just visit, but engage in a dialog about the ideas I present to you here.

One of my faithful readers recently e-mailed me with an excellent, thought-provoking question about all these low-carb studies that have come out in recent years. You’ve seen ‘em, I’m sure, and I’ve highlighted quite a few of them at my blog, including the Stanford study from Dr. Christopher Gardner published in JAMA earlier this year and the famous Tufts Popular Diet Trial by Dr. Michael Dansinger a few years back.

Here’s what she wrote in her e-mail:

Dear Jimmy,

As one who finds low-carb dieting to be close to miraculous, I naturally love reading your blog. I’m down 64 pounds so far–not bad for a menopausal woman–though I’m sorry to say I’m still severely obese and 50 pounds from goal. But it is a great pleasure to be free of the ravenous hunger, exhaustion, and weight gain of the dreadful low-fat diets.

I do have one question and thought you may have a clue. I’ve read various medical studies about the Atkins diet the including the ones linked to the Atkins web site. I’m totally puzzled as to why these studies keep going on about its being ‘safe’ (at least briefly…), but no one involved has any significant weight loss.

The latest study I saw (Gardner’s JAMA study) showed a loss of only ten pounds in a year! That’s about what some people I know lost during Induction. Another study showed a loss of no more than 19 pounds in a year among any subject.

Tell me something: Why do none of these studies show the significant weight loss one would expect if they observed the Atkins diet in the span of a year?

So what’s up with celebrating a measly 10 pounds lost in a year, hmmm? Sure, it was more than the low-fat diet groups, but what’s going on with these people. Are they TRYING to sabotage their efforts or what?

Here’s my response:

Thanks for writing and I appreciate your questions. I was just talking to Dr. Jonny Bowden about this in an interview recently regarding the lack of weight loss in these studies like the JAMA study from Gardner where they only lost 10 pounds in a year.

Remember, compliance on such studies is absolutely horrendous and the study participants actually end up eating about 150 grams of carbohydrate–nowhere close to ANY of the acceptable phases of the Atkins diet or any low-carb diet I’m aware of.

But the good news is there were still improvements in weight and health although not as good as it could have been. The researchers said these studies mimic the real world when people don’t stick to their diet. I think they need to look into WHY people don’t comply with their diet. Livin’ la vida low-carb has been the easiest way for me to eat healthy EVER!

Don’t lose heart…this way of eating works and we know it, don’t we?! Nobody can ever take that away from us. Keep livin’ la vida low-carb and let’s be the example of what REAL low-carbers are like!

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