I'm guessing the low-carb crowd, and their low-fat counterparts, won't be so keen on citing the latest paper from the A to Z researchers either. This report analyzed the risk of inadequate micronutrient intake (below the Estimated Average Requirement) on the various diets.
At the start of the study, before the subjects began their respective diets, there was little difference in micronutrient intakes among the four groups. The Zone group fared best, being the only one in which risk of micronutrient deficiency actually decreased during the study.
In contrast, the risk of inadequacies significantly decreased in the Zone group for vitamins A, E, K, and C with no significant increases in risk of inadequacy for other micronutrients. I don't personally endorse the Zone diet but must concede in the A to Z study it was the best of a not-so-impressive bunch. One potential shortcoming of this study of this study is that micronutrient intake was estimated from 3 x 24-hour dietary recalls obtained from the subjects via telephone interview. Popular diets are popular, not because of their nutritional superiority, but because of clever PR and eternal human susceptibility to skilfully marketed gimmicks. Anthony Colpo is an independent researcher, physical conditioning specialist, and author of the groundbreaking books The Fat Loss Bible and The Great Cholesterol Con.
Disclaimer: All content on this web site is provided for information and education purposes only. Low-carb advocates are especially fond of citing this study because the Atkins diet produced the greatest weight loss and the lowest attrition rates. At baseline, the highest prevalence of risk of inadequate intake was observed for vitamin E intakes - around 65% in all 4 diet groups. The Atkins diet, with it's energy-sapping, constipation-inducing, mineral-excreting ketogenic phase is a bad joke, as is Ornish's fat-phobic vegetarian regimen.
Ditch the fads and get back to basics - build your diet around the kind of nutrient-dense foods humans evolved on: fresh meats, tubers, vegetables, fruits and nuts. Comparison of the Atkins, Ornish, Weight Watchers, and Zone Diets for Weight Loss and Heart Disease Risk Reduction. Micronutrient quality of weight-loss diets that focus on macronutrients: results from the A TO Z study.
For some strange reason, these folks largely ignore a similar 2005 study comparing the Ornish, Weight Watchers, Zone, and Atkins diets that showed little difference in weight loss and attrition rates (weight loss was actually higher on the Ornish and Zone diets but not statistically significant; attrition was higher on Ornish and Atkins, but not statistically significant). Greater than 25% of women in all 4 diet groups also had intakes indicating risk of inadequate vitamins A and C, and magnesium.
The LEARN diet, meanwhile, is based on the USDA Food Pyramid Guide, the nutritional geometric absurdity now well known to be influenced more by industry lobbying than impartial scientific analysis. However, many of the inadequate micronutrient intakes noted correlate well with previous research findings.
And be aware that soil and hence plant nutrient levels have been declining in recent decades, making judicious nutritional supplementation a must for many people. The food choices typical of ketogenic regimens such as Atkins, for example, are low in folic acid, vitamin C, and magnesium while vegetarian diets with an emphasis on low-fat intakes greatly decrease the intake of zinc, B12 and fat-soluble vitamins such as A and E. The owner and contributors to this site accept no responsibility or liability whatsoever for any harm, real or imagined, from the use or dissemination of information contained on this site.
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