Atkins Diet Experts Opinions

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Many health experts and health organisations criticise this diet as an unhealthy one which is too high in saturated fats and too high in protein. Health experts also criticise the diet because it does not provide enough of the nutrients required to keep the body healthy (it cuts out whole food groups at certain phases) and this diet is also centred around high meat and saturated fat intake, which are not healthy. All opponents to this diet state that more studies, especially longer term and larger-scale ones, need to be undertaken to really understand the health benefits or harmful effects of this diet.

The following is what health experts and health organisations have to say about the Atkins diet:

  • American Heart Association does not recommend this diet
  • Cleveland Clinic is not an advocate of this diet
  • American Cancer Society does not recommend this diet
  • John Hopkins School of Medicine does not recommend this diet
  • Current clinical trial underway to determine safety over 4 years
  • The Australian Heart Foundation does not endorse this diet
  • Nutrition Australia does not recommend this diet
High protein diets are not recommended by most health experts today, but more clinical trials are required to determine safety of this diet over the longer term

References

  1. The American Heart Association (AHA) currently (as at 10 January 2008) does not recommend any of the high protein diets that are popular today, as the AHA believes that these diets can cause a multitude of health problems and may not even provide all the nutrients required to keep the human body healthy. The AMA recommends no more than 35% of total daily calories from fat (of which only 7% of calories should be from saturated fats)
  2. St Jeor ST, Howard BV, Prewitt TE, Bovee V, Bazzarre T, Eckel RH for the AHA Nutrition Committee. Dietary Protein and Weight Reduction: A Statement for Healthcare Professionals From the Nutrition Committee of the Council on Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Metabolism of the American Heart Association. An AHA Science Advisory. Circulation, 2001;104:1869-1874. Accessed on 10 January 2008
  3. The Cleveland Clinic. The Lowdown on Low Carbs, 10 January 2004. Accessed on 10 January 2008. The Cleveland Clinic's review of the Atkins diet is to suggest that it does not contain enough nutrients and may be difficult to sustain long term, which encourages yo-yo dieting. The Cleveland Clinic is one of the major hospitals in the USA and is well-respected for their health advice and research
  4. Balckburn GL, Phillips JCC, Morreale S. Physician’s guide to popular low-carbohydrate weight-loss diets. Cleveland Clinic Journal of Medicine, September 2001, Volume 69, Issue 9, pp761-781. Accessed 10 January 2008
  5. The American Cancer Society (ACS). Weighing In on Low-Carb Diets, 2007. Accessed on 10 January 2008. The ACS nutritionist Colleen Doyle, MS, RD states that a low carbohydrate diet, such as the Atkins diet, can be a high-risk option when it comes to health, warning people on this diet that their eating habits may increase the risk of developing cancer later in life
  6. Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. Weight Loss and Dieting - The Shortcomings of Fad Diets: Nutrition and Weight Control Special Report, 6 April 2006. Accessed on 10 January 2008. The John Hopkins School of Medicine questions the benefits of high protein diets, expresses concern about the health risks of these diets and recommends more studies, especially longer term, to determine the viability and health benefits or risks of these diets
  7. National Institutes of Health - ClinicalTrials.gov. Effectiveness of a Low Carbohydrate Diet Versus a High Carbohydrate Diet in Promoting Weight Loss and Improved Health. Ongoing clinical trial from April 2005 - June 2009 with 240 participants. This study will look at the effects of a low carbohydrate diet versus a high carbohydrate diet on weight loss over a longer period (of four years). The study also aims to measure the risk of cardiovascular disease (blood cholesterol and triglyceride levels as well as blood pressure levels), bone health, kidney function and endocrine (insulin and glucose in particular) mechanisms over the course of the study in both groups. The sponsor of this clinical trial is the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM)
  8. The Australian Heart Foundation does not recommend very low carbohydrate diet, especially if they are higher than the recommended 7% of saturated fat, as long term diets due to the possible health risks, especially of the heart and cardiovascular system
  9. Nutrition Australia does not recommend this diet because of the the imbalance of protein, fat and carbohydrate and the lack of dietary fibre. Nutrition Australia also states that "the safety and effectiveness of the Atkins Diet may be best described as unresolved" as there is no conclusive evidence yet that it is safe and effective over the long term

 

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