Dangers of High-Protein, Low-Carb Diets

From the January 2004 edition of Dr. Fuhrman’s Healthy Times:

Proponents of high-protein diets such as the Atkins diet have brought dangerous fad-dieting to new heights, in spite of mounting reports of deaths attributed to them. High protein diets—those in which calories come predominantly from animal foods—increase the risk of cancer and heart attack and have been linked to cardiomyopathies, electrolyte imbalances, and kidney damage. Dr. Robert Atkins himself had a heart attack from a cardiomyopathy a year before his death, and his autopsy results still remain hidden from the public.

In addition to increased risk of disease from Atkins and other animal-food-heavy diets, research has shown that these faddish eating plans are not very effective—most adherents do not achieve long-term, permanent weight loss. Unfortunately, this has not lessened the popularity of these diets. Well-funded publicity campaigns have succeeded in getting the media to “report”glossed-over, one-sided information. Until news outlets begin to report more accurately, more and more tragedies are going to occur.

Girl dies while dieting

Most recently, a sixteen-year-old girl who had no history of medical problems died after two weeks on the Atkins diet. When the paramedics arrived, she was pulse-less, and the electrocardiogram revealed ventricular fibrillation (a usually fatal loss of normal heart rhythm). Her emergency room evaluation showed electrolyte imbalances that occurred as a result of eating a diet of meat, cheese, and salads for two weeks. She was doing the diet together with her mother.

An ongoing tragedy
Sadly, even as additional dangers are revealed and reported, more and more people misled by one-sided advertising and publicity—are being put at needless risk. At the same time, proven healthful weight loss recommendations are being ignored. Unless Americans quickly learn the facts about these harmful diets, many pointless deaths will continue to occur.

For more on the Atkins Diet check out DiseaseProof's week-long investigation:

Also, be sure to visit AtkinsExposed.org for studies discounting the merits of the Atkins Diet.

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Comments (6) Read through and enter the discussion with the form at the end
Todd Bradley - October 24, 2006 1:32 PM

You wrote, "Dr. Robert Atkins himself had a heart attack from a cardiomyopathy a year before his death, and his autopsy results still remain hidden from the public."

Isn't that a little sensationalist? You make it sounds like there's a conspiracy to conceal these records. Unless the coroner suspects foul play, the autopsy results should be kept private to the family of the deceased! I certainly don't want my autopsy results released into the public domain after I die.

april - August 30, 2007 10:13 AM

my children eat a lot of protein but it is in combination with fruits, veggies, carbs, etc. their diet is well rounded but has high protein. what is too much protein that can be linked to organ damage?

mike starks - December 4, 2007 11:30 PM

What a joke! I lost 65lbs eating 500g of fat and 3500 calories by avoiding carbs. I lived the low fat/calorie lifestyle for many years and it did not work. I promise you my health is better than yours. Please show us CONCLUSIVE evidence about deaths linked to Atkins. Also, you may want to read the Harvard Nurse study. 8 years and 49,000 nurses prove that low fat diets do not work. Now that's conclusive evidence.

Rebecca Foxworth - April 28, 2011 6:52 PM

I wouldn't want my autopsy results to be revealed to the public after I died, either. Then again, I haven't proclaimed that I have found a better way of eating, had hundreds of thousands of people follow my advice, then died suddenly of heart failure. I haven't left behind a legacy of copyrighted works from which my family will benefit financially. I haven't influenced a generation's thinking with potentially false information. The honest and forthright thing to do would have been to perform an autopsy and release the results to the public. If the autopsy showed a perfectly healthy heart, sales of Atkins books and products would have skyrocketed. If the autopsy showed a diseased heart, the next generation of health-seeking Americans would have been properly informed. To not perform an autopsy on someone who lived his life as a scientific experiment in the form of nutrition and diet is unconscionable, and makes the family look as though they most certainly have something to hide, whether they do or not.

Saab - May 22, 2011 9:08 PM

Low/no-carbohydrate diets are for lazy and weak-willed people.

CDLver - September 21, 2011 5:08 AM

Don't forget about Stephen Byrnes, a Weston Pricer who suffered a fatal stroke before reaching 40. Weston Pricers are the most disgusting meat/dairy industry shills around. They make the Center for Consumer Deception seem sane, rational, and credible.

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