Accusation #2: Ignores the 34 Studies "Supporting Atkins"
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Most of the "Supporting" Studies Were Inadequately Controlled
One of the favorite ways drug manufacturers design studies to skew results in favor of their product is to choose inappropriate controls.[756] Just like a drug company might choose an inadequate dosing of the comparison drug to artificially inflate the results of their own product, many of the "supporting" studies of the Atkins Diet were compared to diets that were “low fat” in name only, and yet the Atkins Diet still failed to outperform them long-term.

In what was to become the single largest and longest controlled study of the Atkins Diet to date, researchers published "A Low-Carbohydrate as Compared to a Low Fat Diet in Severe Obesity" in the New England Journal of Medicine.[757] Both the press[758] and the Atkins Corporation[759] heralded the findings as proof that low-carb diets were in some ways superior to low fat diets. The problem is that the control group was never actually on a low fat diet. They started out eating 33% calories from fat like the rest of America,[760] and at the end of the 6 month study period in which they were supposedly switched to a "low-fat" diet, they were eating... 33% calories from fat.[761]

At the end of a year, those that remained in the "low-fat" group were eating even more fat than average--34% calories from fat,[762] yet you continued to erroneously describe this as a low fat diet. On your website "Atkins professionals" claim that the "low fat" control group "followed a calorie-restricted diet with less than 30% of calories from fat per day."[763] This is false. And even though the study was inadequately controlled, the low-carb diet, according to the researchers, "provided no weight loss advantage" compared to the group that hardly seemed to be on a diet at all.[764]

This is the same story we see in every single year-long controlled trial of low-carb diets. Not a single one showed significantly more weight lost at the end of the year on the low-carb diets than on the control "low fat" diets. And in the two year-long studies that compared low-carb diets to actual low fat diets, the low fat diets seemed to win.[765,767]

In one year-long study, those who ate as much as they wanted of a low fat vegan diet lost an average of 52 pounds--60% more than those reportedly on Atkins lost.[765,766] And in the year-long comparison of the Atkins Diet to Ornish's diet, Weight Watchers, and The Zone Diet, the Atkins Diet came in dead last in terms of weight lost at the end of the year. Ornish's low fat vegetarian diet seemed to show the most weight loss.[767] Yet you continue to list this study as "supporting Atkins."[768]

Most of the studies cited as "supporting Atkins" lasted at most a few months,[769-786] half had 15 or fewer people on the diet,[787-803] and a third lacked any control group at all.[804-814] And the majority of those that did randomize people into a control group compared low-carb diets to "low fat" diets containing between 29% and 35% calories from fat.[815-822] That is not a low fat diet.[823]

Calorie-restricted, portion-controlled, moderate fat (30%)[824] diets have a consistent history of failure to maintain long-term weight loss.[825] What better diet to use as a comparison group, then, to increase the odds that low-carb diets will show more weight loss. And still, even using inadequate controls, low-carb diets failed to outperform control "low fat" diets in every single long-term study ever done.[826-829]

A truly low-fat diet (<25%) and exercise is the only approach found to provide long-term successful weight loss, based on a study of 5000[830] Americans who lost an average of more than 70 pounds each and kept it off for more than 6 years.[831] According to one of the chief investigators of that study, "Almost nobody's on a low-carbohydrate diet."[832]
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Atkins Facts:
> What the Experts Think of Atkins
> Faulty Science
> Short-Term Side Effects
> All Long-Term Studies on Atkins a Wash
> Long-Term Side Effects
> The Safer Alternative
> References 1-1160

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