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The Atkins Method has been one of the most popular diets since it was first published in 1972. But a recent study has shown that it is damaging to the body to such an extent that is can increase the chances of heart disease.
Researchers from Sweden have been looking into the long-term effect on people who have followed the diet, in a study which has spanned 25 years. The diet is based on a low intake of carbohydrates and a high intake of protein and fat, which changes the rate of the metabolism leading to short-term weight loss.
This method of dieting is particularly popular in Sweden, where a quarter of the population had adopted it in some form. But the study has shown that in the long term cholesterol levels and BMI of people following the diet would increase.
In the description of their findings, researchers said: “Supportive opinions in media for high-fat diets seem to have had an impact on consumer behaviours. Initially beneficial and thereafter deleterious changes in blood cholesterol paralleled these trends in food selection, whereas a claimed weight reduction by high-fat diets was not seen in the most recent years.”
The Atkins Diet is not marketed as a long-term nutritional guideline but as a short-term measure for immediate weight loss in people looking to slim down as quickly as possible. The high publicity that the diet has received is due in part to the number of celebrities who have publicly endorsed it, including Jennifer Aniston and Renee Zellweger.