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Doctors Call Atkins Diet "Dangerous"

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WASHINGTON, Mar 19, 2004 (United Press International via COMTEX) -- U.S. and Australian nutritionists are calling the popular Atkins diet a dangerous practice and are urging public health agencies to issue public warnings.

The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine has urged the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to follow the lead of an Australian health minister and warn the public about the dangers of high-fat, low-carbohydrate diets.

The health minister, Bronwyn Pike, unveiled a new campaign to alert people to the dangers of the Atkins diet and other high-fat fad diets. The Australian government will distribute educational materials in doctors' waiting rooms, gyms and universities, to be followed by an advertising campaign.

Numerous scientific studies link consumption of meat-heavy diets with heart disease, kidney problems and possibly colon cancer. Short-term risks include fatal cardiac arrhythmias and mood disturbances. In a letter to HHS Secretary Tommy Thompson, the PCRM detailed the risks and recommended the U.S. government follow Australia's lead.

"We commend the Australian health minister in Victoria for warning its citizens of the dangers of high-fat, low-carb diets and urge Tommy Thompson to do the same," said Amy Joy Lanou, PCRM's nutrition director.

Copyright 2004 by United Press International.

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