DENVER, CO. (February 27, 2009) – A recent New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) study titled “Comparison of Weight-Loss Diets with Different Compositions of Fat, Protein, and Carbohydrates” (Feb. 26, 2009), concluded that reduced-calorie diets result in clinically meaningful weight loss regardless of which macronutrients (fat, protein and carbohydrates) they emphasize. Atkins Nutritionals, Inc. (“Atkins”), however, wishes to clarify that the two lower carbohydrate diet plans offered in the study are not representative of the Atkins Diet™, as some press coverage has indicated.
The NEJM study randomly assigned 811 overweight adults to one of four diets, each with different percentages of energy derived from the three macronutrients: fat, protein and carbohydrates. Two of the four diets prescribed lowered carbohydrate intake levels, comprising 45 and 35 percent of calories, respectively.
The first two phases of the four-phase Atkins Diet – where the majority of weight loss typically occurs – specify much lower amounts of carbohydrates than those prescribed in the NEJM weight-loss diets for weight loss. Atkins™ recommends that between 10 and 25 percent of calories come from carbs in the two weight-loss phases.
“The macronutrient distribution suggested in the two lower-carb diet plans was no where near the levels that have been shown to be effective for weight loss as cited in numerous previous low-carb studies,” said Colette Heimowitz, M.Sc., Vice President, Nutrition and Education of Atkins Nutritionals, Inc. “Only after an individual has achieved his weight-loss goal – and assuming his metabolism allows – does Atkins suggest the higher carbohydrate intake level prescribed in the two lower-carb diets used in the NEJM study. These levels approximate the recommended levels a person with a healthy metabolism might achieve in the Atkins Lifetime Maintenance phase. As the name makes clear, this phase is designed to help users maintain their weight loss, not lose additional weight.”
Furthermore, participants in the study weren’t always consuming the prescribed percentage requirements of different macronutrients, thus blurring the distinctions among the four diets in the study. For example, while the lowest carb content prescribed in any diet was 35 percent (in the high-fat, high-protein diet), the lowest carbohydrate content reported as consumed was actually around 42 percent, seven percentage points higher than the recommended levels. The four diets outlined in the study produced similar weight-loss effects because in actual practice, the diets were closer in the percentages of each macronutrient than the study’s original design. Had at least one of the lower-carbohydrate diets hewed closely to the Atkins’ weight-loss protocols, the results would likely have been considerably different.
About Atkins Nutritionals, Inc.
Atkins Nutritionals, Inc., is a leading player in the $2.4 billion dollar weight control nutrition category, and offers a powerful lifetime approach to weight loss and weight management. The Atkins Nutritional Approach™ focuses on a healthy diet with reduced levels of refined carbohydrates and sugars and encourages the consumption of protein, fiber, vegetables, fruits, and good fats. Backed by research and consumer success stories, this approach allows the body to burn more fat and work more efficiently while helping individuals feel less hungry, more satisfied and more energetic.
Atkins Nutritionals, Inc., manufactures and sells a variety of nutrition bars and shakes designed around the nutrition principles of the Atkins Diet™. Atkins’ three product lines, Advantage, Day Break and Endulge, appeal to a broad audience of both men and women who want to achieve their weight management goals and enjoy a healthier lifestyle. Atkins™ products are available in more than 30,000 locations throughout the U.S. and internationally. For more information, visit atkins.com.