Atkins-Like Diets May Increase Risk of Heart Disease

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"We need a really good study that analyzes food intake, follows up on food intake and looks at disease outcome," she said. The Swedish study, she said, used food questionnaires, which can be unreliable. The study also did not separate the effects of healthier proteins and carbohydrates.

The authors acknowledged the study's limitations, but stressed that the research sends an important message.

The findings, they wrote, "draw attention to the potential for considerable adverse effects on cardiovascular health of these diets when they are used on a regular basis, without consideration of the nature of carbohydrates (complex versus refined) or the source of proteins (plant versus animal)."

But Atkins Nutritionals Inc. released a statement criticizing BMJ for sending out a press release referring to the diets in the study as "Atkins-style." The study, they said, was not specifically of the Atkins Diet, which "emphasizes a healthy balance of proteins and good fats, and includes vegetables, fruits and even whole grains."

The Atkins Diet, said CEO Monty Sharma, is "a healthy, scientifically proven diet that includes healthy carbs, doesn't cut out any food groups, and is being passionately supported by millions of successful dieters across the globe."

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