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Results of Randomized Trial of Atkins Diet

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Updated February 15, 2014

The results of the first randomized, controlled trial of the Atkins Diet were published in the May 22, 2003, issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

The three-center study was led by Gary Foster, PhD, associate professor of psychiatry and clinical director of the Weight and Eating Disorders Program at the University of Pennsylvania; Samuel Klein, MD, of Washington University in St. Louis; and James Hill, PhD and Holly Wyatt, MD, of the University of Colorado.

The study participants were comprised of 63 obese men and women who were 44 years of age and weighed an average of 216 pounds.

When compared to a conventional, high-carbohydrate, low-calorie approach, Atkins dieters lost twice as much weight at the third and sixth months of the study.

In one year, the Atkins dieters had significantly greater increases in good cholesterol (HDL) and greater decreases in triglycerides.

All of the study participants met with a registered dietitian at the beginning of the study and again at 3, 6, and 12 months. Those in the Atkins group were given a copy of Dr. Atkins New Diet Revolution and asked to follow the diet as described.

The conventional diet group was given instructional materials on a 1,200 to 1,500 calories per day (for women) or 1,500 to 1,800 calories per day (for men) diet that consisted of 60% carbohydrate, 25% fat and 15% protein based on the Food Guide Pyramid.

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