Long-term weight loss with a low-carb diet

(versión en español: hacer click aquí)

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):

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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.

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