I would like to express my concern over the article printed in this month's Women's Health and Fitness Australia on page 14 titled Atkins Alert.
Medical journal, The Lancet, has raised concern over Atkins-style diet regimes by publishing a report detailing the near-death of a 40 year old woman.
Super-low carbohydrate diets promoting the consumption of fats, meat, cheese and salads have been in the media spotlight for their "amazing weight loss" results.
While the weight may come off in the short-term, their long-term effects are not superior to more rational diet regimes.
The low-carb content of these diets causes ketones (acidic waste products of fat breakdown), which can cause a condition know as "ketoacidosis".
Usually seen in cases of extreme starvation or untreated diabetes - this condition causes constipation, diarrhoea, halitosis, headaches, fatigue and in extreme cases can be fatal. Perhaps this is why nutritionists have always supported more moderate diet regimes?
I won't go in to the reasons why this patient did not nearly die because she was on the Atkins diet because a Doctor more qualified than me has done it for me here.
I would also like to point out that any diet that causes ketosis does not cause ketoacidosis -- Wikipedia states:
Some diets (such as the Atkins diet) are reported to induce a mild-to-moderate state of ketosis, but this does not result in ketoacidosis if the dieter drinks an appropriate amount of water. Any diet which burns fat molecules at a significant rate results in an increased production of ketone bodies.
I am concerned that your magazine cites "facts" on your nutrition page that are incorrect and misleading. It is also interesting to note that on the very next page you recommend the benefits of both avocados and protein which are both foods promoted on a low carb diet. In fact, your diet advice in the article "12 weeks to a whole new you" recommends eating in a way that is principally low carb [if we left out the rice cakes]. I would also suggest that the"Fat Burning" supplements featured in your advertising might be more detrimental to my health than not eating what is considered the "correct' amount of carbohydrates.
I am 42 years old and have lost (and kept off for 2 years) 20kg through diet and exercise. I have tried the low calorie/low fat eating plan and found it impossible to maintain for the rest of my life principally due to the constant hunger. I am now eating plenty of eggs, chicken, fish, red meat, nuts, veges, salad and cheese and am avoiding bread, rice and pasta. I choose whole, unprocessed food rather than "low fat" diet food or processed grains. I work out every day and my body fat is around 18%.
I feel lucky to have stumbled on this lifestyle, especially when popular media, including your magazine, dismisses it as unhealthy or even fatal. I am living proof that the only "Atkins Alert" should be "this way of eating will make you feel healthier, happier and more in control than you ever have in your life".
If you feel compelled to drop Brooke a line, her email is firstname.lastname@example.org