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   May 09

Atkins diet ‘raises risk of dying early’: Too much protein leads to weight gain, says study

High-protein, low-carb diets may not help weight loss, research suggests

Atkins-style regimes were almost twice as likely to cause weight gain

Followers were also 59% more likely to die during the Spanish study

High-protein, low-carb diets may not help weight loss and could even cause harm, research suggests

They are popular with millions of slimmers. But high-protein, low-carb diets may not help weight loss and could even cause harm, research suggests.

A study found those who followed Atkins-style regimes were almost twice as likely to gain weight as others.

They were also at greater risk of dying during the course of the research than those who ate a more balanced diet.

The Spanish scientists said that despite their popularity, there is actually no proof high-protein diets help people lose weight in the long-term.

However, there is evidence that they can cause health problems.

Protein is more filling than carbohydrate, and some diet plans advise eating lots of it to help the pounds drop off.

The Atkins diet, which promotes swapping bread and potatoes for fried breakfasts and steaks, was followed by three million Britons at the height of its popularity and variations of it are still widely used today.

The latest research, from the Rovira i Virgili University in Reus, tracked the health of men and women at high risk of heart disease for almost five years.

Particular attention was paid to how much protein they ate. Analysis showed those who ate lots of protein and a small amount of carbohydrates – an Atkins-like pattern – were almost twice as likely to gain more than 10 per cent of their body weight. They were also 59 per cent more likely to die during the study.

Those who filled up on protein but also cut back on fat appeared to be even more at risk. The European Congress on Obesity heard this group had a 66 per cent greater chance of dying.

A study found those who followed Atkins-style regimes were almost twice as likely to gain weight as others

The authors said higher rates of kidney damage could be to blame, as well as changes in blood fat levels and the way the body processes sugar.

They concluded: ‘Higher dietary protein intake is associated with long-term increased risk of body weight gain and overall death in a Mediterranean population at high cardiovascular risk.


Vitamin D supplements can aid weight loss in the obese and overweight, scientists claim.

Previous studies have shown deficiency in the nutrient is linked to obesity, the researchers at Milan University said.

They split 400 obese or overweight adults into three groups: those taking no supplements, those on 25,000 vitamin D units a month, and those taking 100,000. All participants were put on the same balanced diet. After six months, both supplement groups saw a greater weight loss and reduction in waist circumference than those who took no vitamin D tablets.

Those on 100,000 units lost 5.4kg and 5.48cm on average, while the figures were 3.8kg and 4cm for the 25,000 unit group, and 1.2kg and 3.21cm for those who had not taken any.

The authors said all obese people with a vitamin D deficiency should take supplements.

‘At the moment, no evidence supports the use of high-protein diets as a strategy to lose weight long-term. However, there is some evidence, including our study, showing the negative effect of a high-protein diet on other clinical outcomes.’

Helena Gibson-Moore, of the British Nutrition Foundation, said that high-protein diets can help short-term slimming. But she added: ‘Evidence to support the use of high-protein diets for long-term weight loss is weaker – possibly because high-protein diets can be hard to stick to.

‘There have been some concerns about the safety of high-protein diets in the longer term.

‘It’s always a good idea to check with your GP before starting a new diet, especially if you have any existing health conditions.’

Eating six times a day could be the best way to get in shape, according to a study.

California State University scientists tracked obese women who ate six small meals a day for two weeks. The group then switched to eating the same amount of daily calories, but in two large meals.

Eating little and often helped the participants lose more fat and less muscle, the journal Nutrition Research reported.

Source: Daily Mail

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