The study, "Effect of a Low-Carbohydrate Diet on Appetite, Blood Glucose Levels, and Insulin Resistance in Obese Patients with Type 2 Diabetes," compared a very low-carbohydrate diet with a regular diet. It is published in the March 15, 2005, issue of Annals of Internal Medicine and is the subject of a video news release.
During the first study week, participants, who were obese and had mild type 2 diabetes mellitus, ate a regular diet in which they could eat anything and as much as they wanted. They ate about 3,000 calories and 300 grams of carbohydrates per day and remained at entry weight.
In the following two weeks, when restricted to 20 grams of carbohydrates per day, as specified in the Atkins induction diet, and despite readily available protein and fat foods, the participants voluntarily ate about 1,000 fewer calories per day, a calorie intake considered appropriate to their height.
Participants' blood sugar improved on the low-carb diet, with better insulin sensitivity and lower blood triglycerides and cholesterol levels.
"We proved that people lose weight on the Atkins diet because they eat less (consume fewer calories), not because they get bored with the diet or lose body water or because the carbohydrate calories are treated differently by the body than fat or protein calories," said Guenther Boden, MD, a Laura H. Carnell Professor of Medicine and chief of the division of endocrinology/diabetes/metabolism at Temple University School of Medicine.