Rethinking Healthcare

Study says Atkins Diet will not make you happy

Study says Atkins Diet will not make you happy

Posting in Food

There was significantly more depression, confusion, and even anger among the Atkins-style dieters than in those who just cut fat.

The next happy dieter I see will be the first.

Conventional wisdom was given me just now by my contractor, who said he dieted many times and only lost weight using the Atkins plan - no carbs, but all the fat and protein you like.

"The moment I finished I ate a pound of pasta," he recalle. And his gut still precedes him.

Anyway, Australian scientists recently completed working with 106 dieters, half of whom went low-carb and the others of whom went low-fat. As they reported in the Annals of Internal Medicine, the latter group wound up happier.

Both diets worked, they wrote, for those who completed the program, but:

These parameters decreased initially in both diet groups and then tended to remain low in the Low Fat (LF) group but rebounded toward baseline levels over time in the Low Carb (LC) group.

At the study's conclusion there was significantly more depression, confusion, and even anger among the Atkins-style dieters than in those who just cut out the fat and concentrated on calories.

Why? A report for the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences offers a clue. A brain chemical called corticotropin-releasing-factor (CRF), released when addicts go through withdrawal, is also expressed when people are coming off a junk food high. (No more doughnuts? I'm going to be sick.)

What does this mean? Perhaps it means that sugar and starch, the basic carbohydrates, are programmed as essential, while other foods are not.

Skip the burger, big guy, and eat the bun.

Share this

Dana Blankenhorn

Contributing Editor

Contributing Editor Dana Blankenhorn has written for the Chicago Tribune, Advertising Age's "NetMarketing" supplement and founded the Interactive Age Daily for CMP Media. He holds degrees from Rice and Northwestern universities. He is based in Atlanta. Follow him on Twitter. Disclosure