Three years after going on a diet, obese men and women on low-carbohydrate "Atkins"-type plans had gained back nearly all their weight, while those on low-fat diets continued to lose, new research finds.
Neither group ended up model-thin, however: Three years out, the low-carb dieters were a mere five pounds thinner and the low-fat group about 10 pounds slimmer than when they began. The study is published in the March 2 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine. In 2003, around the time the low-carb Atkins diet was all the rage, researchers from the University of Pennsylvania published research that found that obese men and women lost a lot more weight -- initially -- when on a low-carb versus a low-fat diet. At the six-month mark, obese dieters on the low-carb plan had lost about 13 pounds, compared to about 4.5 pounds on a low-fat diet. But what about keeping the weight off long-term? The new study suggests that as time goes on, low-carbohydrate regimens fall short. The study participants were all severely obese, with a mean body mass index of 43 (30 and above is considered obese) and a mean weight of 288 pounds.