A new study comparing the Atkins diet, a Mediterranean diet and a low-fat diet published on July 17 inThe New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM), is likely to inspire headlines saying that the Atkins diet is better for your waistline and your health than a low-fat diet.
However, as a lead investigator on numerous peer-reviewed studies of low-fat diets, and the author of several books about the benefits of healthy low-fat lifestyles, I believe this study is extremely flawed. Here's why:
The NEJM study, which was funded in part by the Atkins Foundation, reported that participants who ate a low-carb (Atkins) or Mediterranean diet (restricted calorie, moderate fat intake) for two years lost more weight, and saw more of an improvement in their glucose and cholesterol levels, than those who were on a low-fat, restricted calorie diet. However, participants in the study who were on the "low-fat" diet decreased their total fat intake from 31.4 percent to 30.0 percent, hardly at all.