So perhaps Dr Atkins was right after all? Well, sort of. At least that's what Danish nutritionists are implying with their latest research. If you want to lose weight - and keep it off - eat a diet that's high in proteins with plenty of lean meat, low-fat dairy and beans, they claim. But restrict refined starch calories such as white bread and white rice.
It all sounds very familiar, but the researchers from the University of Copenhagen, writing in the New England Journal of Medicine, say their extensive study solves the obesity puzzle once and for all. If you want to eat until you're full, without counting calories and without gaining weight, stay off the refined carbs, they say, and combine lean protein with wholegrain cereals, fresh fruit and veg.
The study involved 772 European families who - after losing an average of 11kg (24lb) on a strict eight-week, 800-calorie diet - were assigned one of five diets combining either high or low protein with high or low glycaemic index (GI) foods (high GI foods include starchy carbs and sugars).
And which of the diets fared the best? That's right, the high-protein, low-GI diet (no prizes for guessing the low-protein, high-GI diet came out the worst). Only those on the high-protein, low-GI diet managed to keep off the weight they had lost previously.
But it's a far cry from the likes of the Atkins diet and other high-protein diets such as the Dukan diet, say the researchers.
Confused? Just think more turkey and less roast potatoes and stuffing when it comes to Christmas dinner this year.