Atkins team hit back at life-shortening diet claims

THE people behind the New Atkins eating program have labelled a University of Sydney protein study suggesting a diet similar to that promoted by Atkins shortens lifespans and impacts heart health as misleading and incorrect.

Atkins Nutritionals vice president of nutrition communication and education Colette Heimowitz said the findings could cause confusion.

"While we concur with the researchers' findings that restricting carbohydrates leads to significant weight loss, all carbohydrate controlled eating approaches are not created equal and it creates both confusion and unnecessary concern when a clear distinction between recommended guidelines is not made," she said.

"The suggestion that this is a study on "Atkins-style" diets is totally incorrect.

"Atkins is a specific, scientifically proven program which stresses consumption of  moderate lean protein - from a range of sources including lean meat, pork, tofu, eggs, poultry and legumes - as well as plenty of leafy green vegetables, low sugar fruits, dairy and whole grains; while eliminating consumption of 'empty' carbohydrates from processed foods which have the greatest impact on blood sugar."

Ms Heimowitz said the study didn't reflect the Atkins dietary guidelines.

"The percentages of nutrients discussed in the University of Sydney's mice study as being potentially harmful in no way reflects the dietary guidelines of the New Atkins program," Ms Heimowitz said.

"And to conclude that 'fewer carbs' and 'higher protein' intake was associated with a shorter life span and higher incidence of heart disease - in mice - is overly simplistic, especially since there's no evidence these findings would translate in the human metabolism."

Ms Heimowitz said restricting carbohydrate intake, besides weight loss benefits, was also helping reduce the burden of cardiovascular disease and Type 2 diabetes.

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