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Nutrition Journal Highlights Atkins Diet Nightmare

Jody GorranJody Gorran suffered a severe coronary blockage and a near-fatal cardiac event after going on the Atkins diet. Now, his story is being told in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association.

In July, the journal published PCRM researchers’ case study of Mr. Gorran, a previously healthy 51-year-old who developed high cholesterol, atherosclerosis, and erectile dysfunction after going on the Atkins diet.

Shortly before starting the Atkins diet, Mr. Gorran had a heart scan showing no cardiac disease. But within one month of going on the low-carbohydrate, high-fat diet, Mr. Gorran’s LDL (“bad”) cholesterol level nearly doubled. He developed crushing chest pain and eventually ended up in an emergency room with a near total blockage of a coronary artery. Two months after discontinuing the diet, his health problems were resolved.

Jody Gorran's angiogramMr. Gorran sued Atkins Nutritionals in 2004, alleging that the diet caused his severe health problems. PCRM provided legal representation in the lawsuit, which was the subject of a recent article in the Journal of Law and Health.

After a steady decline in popularity, the Atkins company filed for bankruptcy protection in 2005. Following extensive reorganization in bankruptcy, Atkins Nutritionals has emerged as a purveyor of protein bars, pulling back from its aggressive promotion of the high-fat, meat-heavy diet formulated by founder Robert Atkins.

The Atkins diet strictly limits carbohydrate and emphasizes fatty, high-cholesterol foods. Numerous scientific studies, including recent findings by researchers at Oxford University, have linked low-carb diets to heart disease and other serious illnesses.

Long-term results from the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition showed that high-protein, low-carb diets increase mortality risk. In that study, researchers assessed the diets of about 23,000 healthy Greek adults. Those consuming diets highest in protein and lowest in carbohydrate had a 22 percent greater risk of death, compared with those consuming diets highest in carbohydrate and lowest in protein.

PCRM, the American Heart Association, and the American Dietetic Association have issued warnings about the Atkins diet.

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