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Health Team

Study Finds Unexpected Results of Low-Carb Diets

Posted March 6, 2007 5:26 p.m. EST
Updated March 6, 2007 8:16 p.m. EST

A new study published in the Journal of American Medicine shows low-carbohydrate diets coming out ahead of three other diets when it comes to cholesterol and blood pressure.

The study consisted of about 300 middle-aged women and compared the Atkins Diet to three other higher carbohydrate diets -- the Zone Diet, LEARN Diet and Ornish Diets.

"By the end of the year, on average within the Atkins group, the average woman lost 10 pounds compared to the other three groups where the average loss wascloser to 5 pounds," said study author Christopher Garner, Ph.D., of Stanford University.

Low-carb diets concern many health professionals because they emphasize more protein, which usually means more fat. More fat is a threat to cholesterol levels and blood pressure.

The Atkins study group, however, showed healthy blood pressure and cholesterol levels.

Garner said the key might be the diet's simplicity: cutting out simple, refined carbohydrates -- the white bread, the white rice, the high-fructose corn syrup in soda pop.

Atkins dieters replaced soda with water, which Garner said, helps with weight loss.

Though the study shows Atkins is a safe and effective approach to weight loss, Rex Healthcare registered dietician Natalie Newell still has concerns.

"You're eliminating a majority of the grain products, fruits and even some vegetables," she said. "So, the major concern I looked at was 'What are you eliminating from your diet?' Vitamins and minerals that come from fruits and vegetables are very important."

Before considering any diet or weight loss program, it is important to consult with a doctor as well as a registered dietician.