Atkins Diet

Reporter: H Wellings

Would you like to shed 12 kilos in just 2 weeks?

It seems as easy as pie with a new twist on an old formula. The most famous diet in the world - the Atkin's Diet was invented in the 1970s but it attracted alot of criticism for its emphasis on low carbohydrates and high protein like steak, eggs and butter meals. Now it's been reformulated by a group of doctors and the new Atkins diet is claimed to be easier to stick to, filling and works better.

Helen Wellings reports on the new Atkins menu, can it easily shed kilos and how healthy is it?

"It is a huge amount of weight loss in the first 2 weeks" said Nutritionist and author of Healthy Food Advice Zoe Bingley-Pullin.

"What do you do when you go out to eat, what do you do when you crave bread, pasta, rice, even some fruit or vegetables" asked Susie Burrell who is a Dietician at Westmead Childrens' Hospital.

Every meal is protein, protein, protein, lots of saturated fat. This is the traditional Atkin's diet - all you can eat of heart stoppers!

"Butter, cream, cheese, etc to try to bulk it up but overall it is a very limited way to eat, basically meat and a bit of added fat" said Susie.

No wonder the world's most famous diet has had a drastic overhaul.

"I think it was a diet that is out of date, out of current relativity to how we live our lives" Zoe said.

"It is a diet fad, it is not sustainable" said Susie.

But the stars like Jennifer Anniston, Brad Pitt, Renee Zellweger, Sharon Stone, were devotees. What's known as the Atkins Diet Revolution, invented by US GP Robert Atkins back in 1972, has been savagely panned worldwide.

"The AMA in responding to your book called the Atkins diet a bizarre regime. Well that was one of the mistakes they made" Dr Atkins said.Nevertheless, the Atkins doctrine spawned a low-carbohydrate industry worth more than $30 million in the USA alone, Dr Atkins books sold well over 15 million copies worldwide. 25 million people, 40% of Americans, tried this unorthodox weight loss program, as did millions of Australians.

"The key thing is it had extremely low amounts of carbohydrate, so less than 20 gm of total carbohydrate a day, which is as little as this small amount of salad and vegetables and unlimited amounts of fatty meats, so chicken drumsticks, you can see the fat in the steak" said Susie.

Dietitian Susie Burrell of the Childrens' Hospital Westmead says the old Atkins diet's extremely unbalanced and dangerous for our health.

"Eggs, we've shown in eggs and bacon which would be a standard breakfast option on the original Atkins diet and full cream milk and cream which is basically a high fat product so all in all, the diet was exceptionally low in carbohydrate, very high in fat and particularly saturated fat which is the one that stores in the arteries. Like butter for instance" Susie said.

Now the New Atkins diet - Three American doctors who studied the health impacts of the old formula have come up with this revised diet "The new diet is much better than the old diet, it is far more balanced because it does encourage more fruits and vegetables into the diet" Zoey said.Under the old Atkins Diet, protein is unlimited, fruit, vegetables and grains very limited, maximum 20 grams carbohydrates. Coffee is banned, processed foods, white flour, sugar, pastries. The new Atkins Diet 110 - 170 grams of meat or protein per meal. Fruit and vegetables is ok, a moderate amount of coffee is ok and only low whole-grain carbohydrates is a maximum of 95 grams per day.

The verdict - "It does actually encourage you over time to incorporate breads, pasta and cereals back into the diet. It is just making sure that you have a healthy balance of these foods so you don't go from one extreme to the next" said Susie.

CONTACTS:

Zoe Bingley-Pullin

Good Life Health Club

Level 4, 1 Martin Place,

Sydney, 2000

02 9232 1500

Book: Eat Taste Nourish by Zoe Bingley-Pullin

Released: May 2009 RRP $29.95

Zoe explains how everyone can enjoy the food they eat while nourishing their bodies and losing weight, detailing in an easy to understand way which foods are healthy and how to adopt a healthier lifestyle. The book is packed full of mouth watering but easy to prepare dishes for breakfast, lunch and dinner and she advises on how to keep hunger at bay with tasty snacks.

Susie Burrell

B.Nutr & Diet (Hons), B.Sc (psych)(Hons)

Weight Management Dietitian Extraordinaire

9845 2242/ 0414 905 239

susieb2@chw.edu.au