Colette's Blog

Response to U.S. News & World Report’s Best Diets 2020 Ranking

January 2, 2020

US News & World Report just released its 2020 Best Diets list and yet again, the publication continues to use the outdated U.S. Dietary Guidelines as its baseline to rate the diets. Despite our repeated recommendations to reference current science in creating these lists, US News & World Report continues to stick with the old ways of developing recommendations. 

We want to set the record straight on what you need to know about Atkins and why low carb eating approaches are viable for anyone today. 

USNWR says: “Reported side effects are generally minor. They include weakness, nausea, dizziness, constipation, irritability and bad breath.”

What you need to know: “As your body is adapting to a ketogenic diet like Atkins 20 and Atkins 40, and your body switches to a fat-burning metabolism, a number of changes occur like switching from a sugar metabolism to a fat metabolism. As a result, until the body has a chance to adapt, some individuals may experience weakness and it usually subsides after a week or two. There are some easy tips to help your body through this transition – increase your water intake, up your electrolytes, make sure you are eating your foundation vegetables and increase your fat intake.”

USNWR says: “Atkins was near the bottom of the category that evaluates a diet’s possible health risks. Its incomplete nutrition profile and lack of long-term safety data didn’t sit well with experts. 

What you need to know: “There are more than 100 studies that show the efficacy and safety of low carb eating – the studies have been conducted for 36 years and counting. Atkins consists of optimal protein, good fats and fiber rich carbohydrates, and is not incomplete nutrition. 

And according to the 2017 study, “Effects of Popular Diets without Specific Calorie Targets on Weight Loss Outcomes: Systematic Review of Findings from Clinical Trials,” ‘Of the diets evaluated, the Atkins Diet showed the most evidence in producing clinically meaningful short-term (six months) and long-term (one-year) weight loss. Other popular diets may be equally or even more effective at producing weight loss, but this is unknown at the present time since there is a paucity of studies on the other diets.’” 

USNWR says: “The absence of studies that could convincingly demonstrate heart benefits played a role in the experts’ assessment, as did the diet’s total fat and saturated fat content.”

What you need to know: “The proof is in the science and studies, such as this one in BMJ, which showed that within the context of a low carb diet, saturated fat is not harmful. On Atkins, you consume a balance of mono and polyunsaturated and saturated fats. The key to eating delicious fats while improving your health is to keep carb intake low. Carbs are the metabolic bullies that stand in the way of fat burning. The very essence of the Atkins approach is to switch your metabolism over to using predominately fat for fuel. It is much more important to concentrate on the amount and types of carbs you consume to allow your body to burn fat. Study after study has demonstrated that when you switch over to a fat burning metabolism, dietary fats are burned for fuel rather than posing a risk related to heart disease.”

USNWR says: “Atkins Ranked #28 for the Best Diets for Diabetes.”

What you need to know: “More and more, organizations are recognizing the benefits of low carb eating for people living with diabetes. In fact, the American Diabetes Association’s 2019 “Standards of Medical Care in Diabetes,” recognizes low carbohydrate diets as a viable option for people living with diabetes and defines low carbohydrate as less than 130g carbohydrates with 25 to 30g of fiber.”

USNWR says: “These (Low Carb) Diets Provide Fewer Carbs Than Government Recommendations.” 

What you need to know: “The U.S. Dietary Guidelines are an outdated set of recommendations and are focused only on the healthy population which automatically eliminates the 72% of Americans who have a body mass index (BMI) in the overweight or obese range and 52% have pre-diabetes. There is ample research showing that by controlling carbohydrates, people can improve health markers pertaining to weight loss, cardiovascular disease and metabolic syndrome – the diet related diseases that are the most common in Americans today. 

We call on U.S. News & World Report to stop relying on the dogma of the past and start using the science of today. And we encourage you to look for ways to limit your carb intake and see how your body responds – we know you will find positive results.” 

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