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Atkins Diet vs Eco-Atkins new study

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  • Atkins Diet vs Eco-Atkins new study

    I found this new study interesting and thought it might be interesting to others here. There has been a large scale study that compared the traditional Atkins diet (with meat as the protein source) vs. the so called Eco-Atkins diet (I've never heard of it) where vegetable proteins (tofu etc) were the source of dietary proteins while both remain Atkins style low carbohydrate. Long story short, mortality from all causes was increased in the meat based Atkins diet whereas the vegetarian Eco-Atkins diet showed a reduction in mortality from all causes.

    Here are links:

    Discussion of the study by Dean Ornish: (needless to say, he's giddy as you'd expect)

    I'm not sure how to interpret the results myself and hope others will put things in perspective.


  • #2
    Without reading the study (internet is dead slow right now!) I imagine that they weren't eating grass-fed, free-range, organic meat. Probably not eating healthy fats, either...
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    • #3
      I wonder (though there's no way to tell from the study) if the vegetarian version included more actual vegetables.

      It's nice to cover protein source (though I'd also like them to subdivide animal into say, primarily fish vs. poultry vs. red meat) but I really wonder about carbohydrate sources since I'd consider that key too.

      Plus there's the "conventional meat or higher quality?" question. Considering the study started in 1980 when there wasn't a lot of attention paid to grass-fed or organics... hrm.
      "Trust me, you will soon enter a magical land full of delicious steakflowers, with butterbacons fluttering around over the extremely rompable grass and hillsides."


      • #4
        The abstract doesn't say much. There are many questions about the animal diet that need answering:

        What was the definition of low-carb?

        What were the proportions of fat and protein in these animal diets?

        How inflammatory were the diets?

        Any lifestyle differences between the groups? Smoking, alcohol intake, physical activity.

        Remember, most Americans who are eating a plant based diet have made a conscious decision to do so. Can the same be said about most animal eaters. What other decisions have the plant eaters made?
        Four years Primal with influences from Jaminet & Shanahan and a focus on being anti-inflammatory. Using Primal to treat CVD and prevent stents from blocking free of drugs.

        Eat creatures nose-to-tail (animal, fowl, fish, crustacea, molluscs), a large variety of vegetables (raw, cooked and fermented, including safe starches), dairy (cheese & yoghurt), occasional fruit, cocoa, turmeric & red wine


        • #5
          Hmm... tofu = eco friendly.

          Interesting assumption...


          • #6
            2010 SEP 23 - ( -- Headlines make news, but don't read too much into current headlines about a recent study titled "Low-Carbohydrate Diets and All-Cause and Cause-Specific Mortality," published in the September 7, 2010, issue of Annals of Internal Medicine. Although the headlines may say the study suggests that long-term adherence to a low-carb diet based heavily on animal protein may reduce lifespan, Dr. Funga, who was the lead author of the study, says that her research "is not representative of popular low-carb eating plans." She goes on to note that her study "is observational and based on a limited pool of health professionals rather than a large-scale, clinical trial based on a varied population. Other issues in the design of the study, such as depending on food frequency questionnaires, impact its conclusions." So why all the fuss? Headlines make news but headlines can be misleading; and that's why Atkins wants to clarify study conclusions and correct any misperception.

            -- The "Low-Carb" Diet Is Not Representative of Atkins. The so-called

            "low-carb" diet referenced in Dr. Funga's research is not

            representative of Atkins. In the journal's editorial, Drs. Yancy,

            Maciejewski, and Schulman, of Duke University Medical Center commented

            on Dr. Funga's study. They wrote, "The participants in the highest

            decile of low-carbohydrate diet score (that is, those eating the least

            amount of carbohydrate) actually had a moderately high carbohydrate

            Keywords: Atkins Nutritionals, Inc., Consumer Goods, Food - Major Diversified.

            This article was prepared by Food Business Week editors from staff and other reports. Copyright 2010, Food Business Week via
            My Journal


            • #7
              "Eco" Atkins- Pffffft!

              Does anyone actually have faith in so called medical studies any more? I know I don't. The only "study" I trust is millions of years of evolution and how my body reacts itself- and my health has improved 100% by eating a very low carb diet rich in meat and saturated fat. it it wasn't for Dr. Atkins I'd probably be blind and on dialysis now. Don't listen to what anyone else says, listen to your own body. If I believed in studies I'd be eating whole grains at every meal.
              Last edited by StoneAgeQueen; 12-12-2010, 06:10 AM.


              • #8
                Originally posted by StoneAgeQueen View Post
                The only "study" I trust is millions of years of evolution and how my body reacts itself- and my health has improved 100%...
                That's where I've gotten to. Well said.


                • #9
                  I have just read an excellent analysis of the "China Study" and its flaws. This study actually found that a diet high in plant protein increased the risk for cancer more than a diet high in animal protein. Also a diet has too many variables to consider; you can probably find correlations but have to be careful to make assumptions about them being the "cause". I guess many typical followers of Atkin`s eat at MCDonald`s, just ordering the burger without the bun for it is convenient and people needn`t figure out so much. Vegetarians (for I am not suggesting that this lifestyle is healthy in it self) do depend much more on meal-planning, homemade-stuff, they are often much more interested in health topics and go to the doctor more frequently. This applies, of course, to the conventional Atkin`s eater and to the "ideal" Vegetarian. I think following a Paleo diet is a step further. People who are doing so have already invested a lot of time to really learn about proper nutrition. They do not need to worry.
                  Plus, I think many Atkin`s dieters eat too little fat. Protein without the fat is harmful to the body while the "vegetarian Atkin`s dieters" probably had too little protein for that making a matter...
                  Just my thoughts...


                  • #10
                    Dr. Michael Eades has often pointed out that "observational" studies are basically useless from a scientific point of view. The 'prove' absolutely nothing, and this was an observational study.

                    Moreover, the concept of 'low carb' is usually around 150-200g daily, since the conventional wisdom is that the human person 'needs' at least 150g daily to function. If the person is eating that level of carb, along with saturated fat --mostly omega 6, it's not surprising that mortality is higher.

                    The abstract also suggests that subjects 'reported' their food intake, and again Dr. Eades often points out that any nutritional data that is self-reported is useless. A true scientific study would be based on subjects who were hospitalized with their diets carefully monitored--which is why there are so few done.

                    This 'report' is mainly propaganda by the 'eco-Atkins' lobby--i.e., the anti-meat people.


                    • #11
                      Och piffle. I know you're not allowed to go around saying "this is nonsense, now let me find out why it's nonsense", but "this is nonsense".

                      Since this is a long term (26 year) study, what can we tell about the participants? Well I would guess that the veggies were more health-conscious and therefore avoided things like soda, smoking and did a bit of exercise, ate a bit of fish; and the meat eaters were less health conscious. I know it's not an original insight, but it could be true in this case, no?

                      I'm guessing if we could get the full text we may be able to tease out the odd raggedy gaping hole in the study.
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                      • #12
                        I've got a copy of the full article. Looks like they were trolling the Nurses and Health Professionals studies for data. I don't have time to read the entire thing, if anyone wants to take a whack at it, PM me your e-mail.

                        A few quickies from a 30 second skim:
                        Data based on dietary recall questionnaires, for both studies these were gathered from participants not more than yearly, some of them several years apart. Don't know about you, but I have trouble remembering what I ate yesterday little less a year from now.

                        Low carb deciles, lowest seems to be an average of 37.2% carbs - not what I'd call low carb.

                        Overall lowcarb, animal LC, and plant LC: the lower the carbs consumed the lower the incidence of CHD.

                        Yes, the plant LC folks did show a lower all cause mortality. For women, 10th decile: Animal - 1328, plant - 1122. For how long this study was and the number of "participants", not a huge gap.

                        This "study" wasn't specific to the LC diet, it was just a data troll to get publishing credit.


                        • #13
                          Here is an excellent link to a very thourough article examining the flaws in the study you have mentioned:
                          This lady has already written an analysis of the China study and its flaws; this lady really does a great job!