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Archive - Thursday, 15 July 2004
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What doctors told me about Atkins
Before starting a diet, consult your doctor. The warning is given on every eating plan and diet sheet.
But how many people actually visit their doctor for a check-up before embarking on new eating regime?
Sidney Harris, author of The Truth About Food - the Anti-Atkins Diet, decided to find out.
Mr Harris, from Hove, wrote to more than 600 GPs to ask them how many patients consulted them before starting a diet.
He also asked if they would recommend the Atkins Diets to their patients.
The answer was a resounding "no" to Atkins and the medics revealed that fewer than five per cent of dieters consult their doctor before cutting out calories.
Mr Harris, whose book condemns the Atkins Diet as "a form of self-cannibalism", says the results of his survey are further proof the diet is not good for you.
He said: "We had an excellent response to the survey which shows more than 90 per cent of doctors would not recommend the Atkins Diet to their patients.
"And, despite the recommendations to always see a doctor before dieting, people rarely do.
"Warning people to see a doctor is an easy get-out for the diet people. They know people will just go out, buy the book and start dieting."
Mr Harris sent out the questionnaires to London doctors because of the diversity of the area. He said he was thrilled at the results from the survey.
One of the doctors who responded, Dr OG Agbim, a Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons, said the Atkins Diet was unnecessary because "nature got it right to begin with" and suggested all doctors' surgeries should consider stocking Mr Harris's book.
Mr Harris wrote his book in an attempt to combat the near-hysteria over the Atkins Diet, which he believes can seriously damage your health.
The book, published by As-Is, has almost sold out of its first 25,000 print run. A second edition, with comments from the doctors and new findings, is planned for Christmas.
Mr Harris is also closely watching the progress of Florida businessman Jody Gorran who is suing the Atkins company, claiming the 1999 version of the diet made his cholesterol soar from 146 to 230 in two months and eventually caused a heart artery to become 99 per cent clogged.