Anyone interested in losing weight these days has probably either tried or has thought about trying a low carb diet like the Atkins Diet or the South Beach Diet. The popularity of these diets amazes me. I suppose I can see the appeal – Hey, just cut back on pasta, bagels and potatoes and eat all the hamburgers, bacon bits and steaks you want! Krispy Kreme Donuts, which was one of the few success stories of the late nineties, is hitting hard times in part because Americans are now shunning carbohydrates.
The big question is whether the weight that was lost will remain off for two years. It has been documented that a low carb diet does result in greater weight loss after a few months compared to a conventional diet (Foster et al. NEJM 348:2082-2090, 2003), but after one year there isn’t much difference. My prediction is that in a year or two from now there will be a major backlash against these diets. My bet is that the next big trend will be high fiber diets (which makes more sense to me). In future posts, I’ll talk more about the science and mythology of diets.