Atkins Diet :: Atkins diet not nutritionally balanced
The high-protein Atkins diet has caused a “life-threatening complication” for a woman who strictly followed the diet, say US doctors.
Dr. Tsuh-Yin Chen of Lenox Hill Hospital in New York and team report the case in The Lancet.
The Atkins diet stresses lashings of meat, butter and other dairy products – high-fat foods typically limited in classic diets – but cuts potatoes, rice and pasta to negligible levels and greatly limits intake of fruit and vegetables.
The diet’s premise is that a carbohydrate-starved body will start to burn up stored fat cells, a process called ketosis.
Chen and team report seeing a 40-year-old obese woman a month after starting the Atkins diet.
She reported losing 9 kilograms after eating only meat, cheese and salads, supplemented by minerals and vitamins sold by Atkins Nutritionals Inc., the company founded by diet pioneer Robert Atkins in 1989.
The woman was admitted for emergency treatment, complaining of a shortness of breath, nausea and repeated vomiting that had lasted several days, as well as mild gastric pains.
Urine and blood analysis showed she had severe ketoacidosis, a condition in which dangerously high levels of ketone acids build up in the liver as a result of a depletion of the hormone insulin.
Ketoacidosis, which is more usually seen among diabetics and victims of starvation, can lead to a coma.
The patient responded well to rehydration and glucose infusion and left hospital after four days.
“Our patient had an underlying ketosis caused by the Atkins diet and developed severe ketoacidosis,” say the researchers, adding that mild pancreatitis or stomach infection may have contributed to the problem.
“This problem may become more recognised because this diet is becoming increasingly popular worldwide.”