Atkins Diet; TOP IRISH NUTRITIONIST MARGOT BRENNAN SAYS WEIGHT LOSS 'FAD' COULD BE DEADLY

The Mirror (London, England), September 1, 2003 | Go to article overview

Atkins Diet; TOP IRISH NUTRITIONIST MARGOT BRENNAN SAYS WEIGHT LOSS 'FAD' COULD BE DEADLY


Byline: JENNY McQUAILE

A LEADING Irish nutritionist has branded the controversial Atkins Diet dangerous and, in rare cases, deadly.

Margot Brennan from the Irish Nutrition and Dietetic Institute said the diet the stars swear by is a "fad" and only leads to temporary weight loss.

She told the Irish Mirror: "This diet can be particularly dangerous in many ways.

"It is just another fad but if you lose weight so fast then it never stays off.

"It has to fail because people haven't addressed why they are putting on the weight in the first place.

"A study recently proved it causes an increase in kidney stones which are very rare in women.

"One consultant went so far as to say that if you want to reconstruct a kidney stone then just put a woman on the Atkins diet.

"Kidney stones simply shouldn't be there. They can cause blockages and this can cause a lot of problems and they are horrendously painful to pass out of the body.

"In the worst case scenario, the stone could block the whole kidney and the person could die, but this is very rare."

It is estimated that at least three million people in Ireland and Britain are on the diet - and in a recent survey 69 percent said they would recommend it, despite the health fears.

But a YouGov poll for UTV's Tonight with Trevor McDonald also found that half of Atkins dieters believe there should be more medical research into the long-term effects.

Reports that American teenager Rachel Huskey died unexpectedly from heart failure while following Atkins have further raised fears.

Dr Stuart Trager, of the Atkins Centre in the USA, defends the diet and claims it was not a factor in Rachel's death. He said: "Looking at all the research we can find there is no reason to assume...the reason Rachel died is because she was following a low-carb diet." But Margot is more sceptical. She said: "The Atkins diet works by eating away at the fat in the body and a by-product of burning fat is ketones. …

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