Are low-carbohydrate diets safe?

Atkins Nutritionals in the UK announced that it is shutting down operations because of financial problems, and its US counterpart filed for bankruptcy. Perhaps this is an indication that the low-carbohydrate fad has run its course.

The Atkins Diet recommends restricting carbohydrates, and substituting protein or fatty foods. Nobody has long-term data to show whether long- term severe carbohydrate restriction is safe. Dr. Atkins did make the public aware that taking in refined carbohydrates, such as high-flour and sugared foods, over many years increases risk for heart attacks, strokes and diabetes. However, early on, he gave the impression that all carbohydrates are unhealthful and that unlimited saturated fat is healthful. In his later years, he corrected these misconceptions. Most scientists feel that only carbohydrates that cause a high rise in blood sugar are harmful, and that unrefined carbohydrates in whole grains, vegetables, fruits, beans, seeds and nuts are healthful.

Checked 10/6/05

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