Long-term weight loss with a low-carb diet
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The following graph belongs to a scientific article that is frequently cited as a «proof» that low-carb diets are not better than other diets for long-term weight loss. In the picture we see that the diet that achieves the best weight loss results is clearly the low-carb diet (the one with the «Atkins» label):
The low-carb diet is obviously the best one, but, what happens with the weight loss in the «Atkins» group? Is it true that with a low-carb diet you lose weight the first months but then you gain it back? No. Let’s have a look at the carb intake of that group (percentage of calories due to carbs versus month):
The conclusion is pretty obvious: the more you withdraw the diet and eat more carbs, the more you gain weight back:
few carbs, weight loss, lots of carbs, weight comes back
Low-carb diets are ineffective in the long-term, if in the long-term you eat high-carb instead of low-carb! Using that fact as a proof that low-carb diets don’t work in the long term is outrageous.
One of the authors of the study, Cristopher Gardner, a vegetarian for decades, aknowledges that the low-carb diet is not only the best one for weight loss but also for all the health markers analyzed. In his own words:
» I don’t know. I’m not pushin’ it yet, I’m just thinking about it. You’ve gotta realize what a bitter pill this was for a 25 year vegetarian to have to write, in a paper, that Atkins did better than the other diets. You know, I should get a little extra credibility for saying that, because I was going totally the other way when I started this study.» Minute 53. Christopher Gardner
The diet labelled as «Ornish» was really the «national guidelines» diet. Therefore, the low-carb diet was found better than the officially recommended diet for weight loss and health markers improvement. No surprise there.
Had they adhered more to the diet, the weight loss would not have decreased with time. Those most adherent to the low-carb (see Fig1) diet achieved a mean weight loss of 8.2Kg after the 12 months.