Déjà vu all over again. Have you ever noticed that if negative news comes out that has anything to do with “lower-carb” or “higher-protein” diets, the media automatically assumes it has everything to do with Atkins, when in many (and very often most) cases, they are dead wrong. Well, it’s happened again.
In its most recent issue, the British Medical Journal (BMJ) issued a false and misleading statement that, according to a recent Swedish study, an “Atkins-style” diet is to blame for increased risk of cardiovascular disease among a specific female population in Sweden. But, there could be nothing further from the truth. In fact, the study itself never mentioned the term “Atkins-style”, and the diet in the study did not in any way resemble the Atkins Diet.
The BMJ is a well-respected publication, which makes it even more disappointing when it chooses to publish a misleading editorial that tarnishes the name of Atkins. This is a true disservice to the Atkins community and the thousands of people who have successfully lost weight and improved their health while following Atkins.
The observational study that the BMJ reports on simply states that “fewer carbs” and “higher protein” intake was associated with higher incidence of heart disease. No correlation to types of carbs or actual amounts consumed. In fact, the diet tested included on average 51% carbohydrates, and 51% of carb consumption is NOT even close to what Atkins recommends, even in weight maintenance. Long-term adherence to low-carbohydrate diets requires careful food choices, which the Atkins Diet teaches in all educational materials and published books. Observing that woman consumed “fewer carbohydrates” and “higher protein” does not reflect an ATKINS way of eating.
In addition, the study’s researchers' did not have data on lipid profiles, an important risk factor for cardiovascular diseases, instead they looked for a diagnosis of incident cardiovascular disease, which can have many other variables including being overweight. Stroke is associated with high triglycerides and low HDL. The Atkins Diet has demonstrated time and time again in clinical trials that HDL goes up and triglycerides plummet, an indication these woman were obviously not doing any form of Atkins. To compare epidemiology study to epidemiology study, The Harvard Nurses Health Study in the United States, found that diets lower in carbohydrates and higher in protein and fat were not associated with increased incidence of ischemic heart disease in women.
It appears that BMJ, to draw public attention to this story, misleadingly inserted the false suggestion that an “Atkins-style” diet was used in this study. They even omitted the conclusion of the Swedish researchers that diets similar to the Atkins Diet do not necessarily harm cardiovascular health. Even Professor David Haslam, current Chair of the National Obesity Forum adds, “The editorial to this Swedish research is below the standards one expects of the British Medical Journal and betrays the lack of awareness of scientific principles or the requirement of checking facts before publication. The Atkins Diet is a scientifically validated one, which is balanced and contains the foods deemed important by this paper. Furthermore, Atkins is a diet I recommend to my patients.”
As shown through countless studies and its support in the medical and scientific community, Atkins is a diet that is safe and that works, as many of you (and millions of successful dieters across the globe) have experienced firsthand. Don’t let the false and negative press detract you from achieving your goals with Atkins.
In fact, we at Atkins feel so strongly about this misleading editorial, that we have asked for an apology and corrective action from the BMJ. We are just not going to stand for it anymore and will defend the Atkins Diet to the end! Stayed tuned, as I will be more than happy to share this with you!