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Survey: Many opt for high-protein, low-carb diets

March 4, 1999  

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Although dieters say a balanced diet is best, many choose to follow popular high-protein, low carbohydrate diets instead, according to a Gallup survey released Thursday

The survey was commissioned by the Wheat Foods Council, in cooperation with the American Bakers Association.

In a telephone survey of 1,000 primary shoppers, "Setting the Record Straight: What America thinks about Fad Diets, Nutrition Advice and Food," 52 percent of consumers had dieted to lose weight. Of those, many tended to cut back or eliminate key foods in their attempts to lose weight.

The survey said 82 percent of consumers agree that the U.S. Department of Agriculture's food guide pyramid, which is high in carbohydrates, is the basis for a healthy eating plan. However, 40 percent of those respondents said they have tried a high-protein, low-carbohydrate diet.

Forty percent of dieters polled said they gained some, all, or more weight back after trying a high-protein, low-carbohydrate diet. Fifteen percent of those who had followed the Food Guide Pyramid gained back weight.

"High-protein diets do not build muscle and burn fat as some people think," said Ann Coulson of the American Dietetic Association. "What the diet books fail to point out is that the real reason people are losing weight is that they are simply eating fewer calories."

She said losing weight and keeping it off takes time and regular exercise.

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