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January 5, 2005

The Dietary Approach to Obesity: Is It the Diet or the Disorder?

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliation: Division of Endocrinology, Metabolism, and Diabetes, Department of Medicine, University of Colorado at Denver and Health Sciences Center, Aurora.

JAMA. 2005;293(1):96-97. doi:10.1001/jama.293.1.96

Individuals seeking to lose weight have many diet choices, ranging from very low-fat (Ornish) to very high-fat (Atkins). However, despite great popularity and millions of dollars of sales, good-quality comparative data on the safety and effectiveness of these diets remain elusive.1,2 The study by Dansinger et al3 in this issue of JAMA could be the randomized trial many have been waiting for to help determine which diet works best. Yet, even after considering a number of important limitations, the primary outcome of weight loss at 1 year was modest and there was no difference between the low-carbohydrate approach of Atkins, the high-protein low-glycemic load approach of Sears (the Zone diet), the very low-fat approach of Ornish, and the low-calorie/portion-size approach of Weight Watchers.