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Low-Carb Diet Referenced in BIDMC Study Not Related to Atkins

Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) study argues mice placed on a 12-week, low-carb/ high-protein diet showed an increase in atherosclerosis. BIDMC conclusions are refuted by scientific studies which demonstrate improved lipid protocols under a low-carb or Atkins Diet™.

Denver, CO (PRWEB) August 26, 2009 -- A recent study from Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC), Boston, published in the proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), argued that mice placed on a 12-week low carbohydrate/high-protein diet showed a significant increase in atherosclerosis, a buildup of plaque in the heart's arteries and a leading cause of heart attack and stroke. Atkins Nutritionals, Inc. ("Atkins") wishes to clarify that the macronutrient breakdown used in the study is not representative of the Atkins Diet™.

Atkins believes the study results reflect a diet that is too high in protein and too low in fat and which does not match the suggested macronutrient levels of the Atkins Diet. The carbohydrates fed to rats via "rat chow" in the study are also not reflective of the types of carbohydrates used on Atkins, which consist mainly of high-fiber, nutrient rich vegetables. In addition, these carbohydrates are usually equal to five to 10 percent of total calorie intake in the early weight loss phases of Atkins. Carbohydrate intake in the BIDMC study was pegged to 12 percent. The diet implemented in the study was not the true Atkins Diet.

Furthermore, the BIDMC study was conducted on mice, not humans. Several well-respected studies using humans as subjects have consistently demonstrated the safety of and improved lipid protocols under a low-carb or Atkins program. These include:

  • A study published by the New England Journal of Medicine, which compared low-carb, low-fat, and Mediterranean diets for overall weight loss effectiveness and effects on blood lipid profiles among 332 moderately obese people over a two-year period. Participants on the low-carb, Atkins-type diet experienced 50% better weight loss than the low-fat group, along with a significant improvement in cholesterol.(1)

  • Jeff Volek, PhD, RD has published data on normal weight men and women following Atkins with little change in body weight for four to six weeks that showed dramatic decreases in triglycerides and increases in HDL-C.(2). Volek has published extensive data in people who were near weight stability after 12 weeks on Atkins, and the Atkins Diet markedly reduced triglycerides, increased HDL-C, decreased inflammatory markers, and decreased total saturated fatty acid content of the blood.(3)

  • A study from the University of Cincinnati instructed obese women to follow either a low-fat, calorie- restricted diet or a low-carbohydrate diet for six months. The women lost significantly more weight and body fat on the low-carb diet than women on the low-fat diet at three and six months. Additionally, on the low-carb diet, blood pressure, triglycerides, cholesterol, fasting blood sugar, and insulin improved.(4)

About Atkins Nutritionals, Inc.

Atkins Nutritionals, Inc., is a leading player in the $2.4 billion dollar weight control nutrition category, and offers a powerful lifetime approach to weight loss and weight management. The Atkins Nutritional Approach™ focuses on a healthy diet with reduced levels of refined carbohydrates and sugars and encourages the consumption of protein, fiber, vegetables, fruits, and good fats. Backed by research and consumer success stories, this approach allows the body to burn more fat and work more efficiently while helping individuals feel less hungry, more satisfied and more energetic.

Atkins Nutritionals, Inc., manufactures and sells a variety of nutrition bars and shakes designed around the nutrition principles of the Atkins Diet™. Atkins' three product lines, Advantage, Day Break and Endulge, appeal to a broad audience of both men and women who want to achieve their weight management goals and enjoy a healthier lifestyle. Atkins™ products are available in more than 30,000 locations throughout the U.S. and internationally. For more information, visit

(1) Shai, I., Schwarzfuchs, D., Henkin, Y., et al., "Weight loss with a Low-Carbohydrate, Mediterranean, or Low-Fat Diet," New England Journal of Medicine , 359(3), 2008, pages 229-241.

(2) Volek, J.S., A.L. Gómez, and W.J. Kraemer. Fasting and postprandial lipoprotein responses to a low-carbohydrate diet supplemented with n-3 fatty acids. Journal of the American College of Nutrition. 19:383-391, 2000.

(3) Sharman, M.J. W.J. Kraemer, D.M. Love, N.G. Avery, A.L. Gómez, T.P. Scheett, and J.S. Volek. A ketogenic diet favorably affects serum biomarkers for cardiovascular disease in normal-weight men. Journal of Nutrition. 132:1879-85, 2002.

(4) Brehm, B.J., Seeley, R.J., Daniels, S.R., D'Alessio, D.A., "A Randomized Trial Comparing a Very Low Carbohydrate Diet and a Calorie-Restricted Low Fat Diet on Body Weight and Cardiovascular Risk Factors in Healthy Women," Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism , 88(4), 2003, pages 1617-1623.


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