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Atkins, under pressure, tweaks its formula

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The New York company behind the Atkins diet, the eating regime that advocates a full English breakfast over fruit and pasta, is changing its tune.

Under pressure from British officials, Atkins Nutrionals has unexpectedly warned dieters to limit their intake of red meat and saturated fat, the Times of London reported Monday.

Promoters of the plan, which champions a liberal attitude to many fatty foods, now say only 20 percent of a dieter's calories should come from saturated fat.

But recent scientific studies indicate potential dangers ranging from painful kidney disorders to heart disease.

The British Nutrition Foundation and the British Dietetic Association both advise against the diet, and the U.K. Food Standards Agency recently issued a health warning about low-carb diets.

An Atkins spokeswoman said the revision had been made because the company wanted health experts and dieters to feel comfortable with this diet -- even though the revision appears to contradict the standard rationale for diet.

The diet purports to work on the principle that cutting out carbohydrates will reduce concentrations of insulin, which converts sugars to energy and stores any excess as fat.

Copyright 2004 by United Press International


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