Studies show: Long-term adherence to the Atkins diet is below average because some people find its requirements too restrictive, according to Consumer Reports. Weight loss over the long term is average, and it earned Consumer Reports's poorest rating for nutrition analysis.
Experts say: Atkins is hard to stick with in the long run. The problem is that "people who do it for a long time really start craving carbs, and [Atkins] doesn't encourage a balanced kind of eating," Hill says.
Bottom line for all diets: Research shows that "it doesn't matter what kind of diet you're doing as much as it matters your adherence to the diet and your willingness to make dietary changes," Cheskin says. One day, scientists hope to develop a way to prescribe diets based on a person's metabolism, health risks, and dietary preferences. That may mean, for example, "if you're prone to diabetes, maybe a low-fat, low-carb diet" that works for you individually, Cheskin says. "We're in the infancy of really understanding which diets are better for which people."