Atkins Missing in Actions

The most formal study of lasting weight loss, though, is the highly respected National Weight Control Registry, funded by the National Institutes of Health. For over 10 years, the Registry has tracked the habits of thousands of successful dieters. They now have 5000 Americans confirmed to have lost an average of 70 pounds and who were able to prove they have kept it off for an average of 6 years.[238] After a decade of rigorously tracking those who most successfully lost weight–and kept it off–one of the chief investigators revealed what they found: “Almost nobody’s on a low carbohydrate diet.”[239]

These researchers, led by a team at Brown University and the University of Colorado, found that the people most successful in losing and maintaining their weight were eating high carbohydrate diets–five times as many carbs as Atkins proscribed in the “weight loss” phase of his diet.[240] Of the thousands of people in the National Weight Control Registry, less than 1 percent follow a diet similar to the Atkins program. “We can’t find more than a handful of people who follow the Atkins program in the registry,” said one chief investigator, “and, believe me, we’ve tried.”[241]

Fifteen million Atkins books sold and investigators can only find a “handful” of followers who could qualify for the Registry? To qualify, all dieters have to do is prove they lost just 30 pounds and kept it off for at least one year. Twenty-six million Americans[242] supposedly on “hard-core” low carb diets and “almost nobody” on Atkins has even qualified?

Maybe for some reason only dieters eating lots of carbohydrates hear about the Registry? No, the National Weight Control Registry has been plugged in Dr. Atkins’ own book for years and is promoted on the official Atkins website.[243] The reason why anecdotes of Atkins dieters maintaining their weight loss crop up in Atkins books and websites but seemingly nowhere else may be because there isn’t much oversight when posting information to the web, whereas the Registry demands proof.[244]