Judy Gurlitz lost 30 pounds on a strict Atkins diet plan, part of a Duke University study comparing low carb dieting to the traditional low fat plan. In fact, in the first six months, the low carb group lost an average of 26 pounds compared to 14 among the low fat dieters.
And more good news for the low carb dieters. They say a bigger increase in HDL levels, the good cholesterol, and a bigger drop in blood fats called triglycerides than the low fat dieters.
"And I was never hungry. That was the amazing thing," says Judy Gurlitz, low carb study participant.
"The weight loss surprised me to be honest with you. And the amount of weight loss we observed was pretty impressive over six months time," says Will Yancy, M.D., Duke diet researcher.
But the low carb group suffered more side effects like bad breath, headaches, and constipation. So, what happens long term?
Well, now a second study of 130 severely overweight adults in Philadelphia has found that after a year, the weight loss differences balanced out. The low carb group kept off the weight, but the low fat dieters continued to lose, too.
And like the low carb group, the low fat folks ended up with the same benefits in raising the good cholesterol and lowering triglycerides.
"So, I think the message I'd like to get out is that peple need to keep an open mind about the diet, and we need to do more research into these other diets and consider them as options," says Dr. Yancy.
Researchers caution that because the low carb approach can impact cholesterol and blood sugar levels, people with high cholesterol and Diabetes should check with their doctor before trying the plan.
The Duke researchers note that the low carb dieters in their six month study also took supplements that are part of the Atkins diet plan, vitamins and other compounds that may have had an impact on the weight loss among the low carb group. Both studies are published in the Annals of Internal Medicine. The six month study was conducted at Duke University Medical Center. The year long study was conducted at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Philadelphia.
For more information on the study, you can (click here).