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More Problems With The Atkins Study PDF Print E-mail
Written by Jeff Novick, M.S., R.D.   
Friday, 25 July 2008 13:03

More problems with the Atkins study...

First, as we showed last week, we know the low fat group was not a low fat group but the low carb group was also not low carb.

Here is why...

The low carb group was told to limit their total carb intake to no more than 120 grams and as according to the study data, this made up 40% of their calories.   If we do the math, 120 grams of carbs is 480 calories from carbs.    If their carbohydrate intake was 40% of their calories and equalled 480 calories,  then their total caloric intake was 1171 calories.  Think about that 1171 calories.

The average BMI of the subjects in the study was around 31, with an average body weight of around202 lbs,  In addition, the low carb group was doing the equivalent of 18/MET of exercise a week.  Now, lets put this all together.   Obese subjects went on a diet and consumed only 1171 calories  and engaged in fairly vigorous exercise on a regular basis for 6 months and only lost 6 kgs. Something is way wrong because the math does not work.

A 202 lb person burns around 2000 calories at rest., If we add in the calories burned from exercise of around 300-500 a day, they are burning about 2300- 2500.  Now lets deduct the 1200 calories from the 2300-2500 calories,  and you get an energy deficit of 1100-1300 calories day.  A deficity of this magnitude would produce a weight loss of 2.2 to 2.6 lbs a week, and around 9-10 lbs a month and 54-60 lbs in 6 months. Now, even if my numbers are slightly off, there is still a HUGE discrepancy between the reported data and the results achieved as they only lost about 14 bs.

Yet, according to the study data, they maintained these percentages and calories for 2 years and during that time, not only did not lose the expected weight in the first 6 months,  they all then began to gain weight.  So, not only do the numbers not work during the first 6 months for the amount of weight lost, they are really off for the period from 6 months to 2 years, when they actually gained weight while experiencing a huge calorie deficit. This is physiologically impossible.

There are many problems with the study and the data.

To be honest, it is beyond me how a study with so many flaws, can be published in the New England Journal of Medicine. While there are always studies of lower quality that get published, the NEJM has usually set a higher standard.

Perhaps all the ongoing and increasing influence of industry and politics is effecting them also. I hope not

It is sad to see. Hopefully someone will write an editorial pointing out all the blatant problems in the study.


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