The diet came out on top when it was compared with the Zone, the Ornish and the LEARN low-carb diets.
In all, 311 overweight or obese women were randomly put on one of the four diets to discover which was the most effective over 12 months.
Women who were on the Atkins diet lost on average of 4.7 kg (10.4 lb), whereas the LEARN diet group lost an average of 2.6 kg (5.7 lb), the Ornish dieters, an average of 2.2 kg (4.9 lb), and the Zone dieters, an average of 1.6 kg (3.5 lb).
The researchers, from Stanford University, also dispelled concerns that the Atkins diet was unhealthy and increased the risk of heart problems. After doing blood tests on the women, they concluded that a diet rich in saturated fats had no affect on blood lipid levels (JAMA, 2007; 297: 969-77).