Atkins responds to recent attacks from industry-funded groups

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To combat the confusion generated by recent attacks from industry-funded groups such as the Partnership for Essential Nutrition (partly funded by Weight Watchers) and the Produce for Better Health Foundation, Atkins Health & Medical Information Services is urging Americans to once again look to the Atkins Lifestyle Food Guide Pyramid(TM), a learning tool which graphically portrays the foods you eat when properly following the Atkins Nutritional Approach(TM) (ANA).

The pyramid clearly reflects the nutritional approach as stated by Dr. Robert C. Atkins since 1972, focusing on a truly balanced nutritional approach -- including a variety of proteins, good fats and nutrient-dense carbohydrates, such as leafy greens, other vegetables and low-glycemic fruits. These groups by misrepresenting Atkins as not including vegetables and low-glycemic fruits do a great disservice to the millions of Americans who have benefited by following the Atkins program, which is one of the few scientifically-validated weapons in the battle against America's obesity epidemic.

In early 2004, the Atkins Physicians Council (APC) briefed federal officials and members of the Bush Administration on the Atkins Lifestyle Food Guide Pyramid(TM). The pyramid represents a controlled-carbohydrate nutritional approach that could serve the needs of many of the more than 100 million Americans who are losing the battle against obesity.

"We recognize that there is no single nutritional solution for Americans battling overweight, obesity, diabetes and heart disease, but clearly the existing Food Guide Pyramid and future versions that might continue to rely solely on low-fat, portion-control or calorie-counting approaches will not be helpful to many of the approximately 60 percent of our population who have been unsuccessful using these same strategies over the past few decades," explains Stuart Trager, M.D., medical director of Atkins Nutritionals, Inc.

To further support the Atkins pyramid, there are over 28 peer-reviewed clinical studies that support the principles behind the Atkins Nutritional Approach(TM), each of which demonstrates that, on average, subjects experience improvements in both weight loss and health. These studies have now been performed for up to one year, and the efficacy and safety of the approach is constantly being reaffirmed.

"As physicians, we need to provide the full spectrum of effective and safe options to the millions of Americans who are in need of an individualized weight-management plan they can follow," said Dr. Trager. "USDA surveys have shown that while 80 percent of Americans recognize the existing Food Guide Pyramid, very few heed its advice. Designing more practical and realistic versions of the pyramid, including those based on controlling carbohydrates, will go a long way to empowering people with effective tools and choices to battle this epidemic of obesity."

The visual imagery of the Atkins pyramid and its accompanying information were designed to provide clarity for those who misunderstand the Atkins program and mistakenly believe that eating many vegetables and fruits is not an integral part of doing Atkins properly. Dr. Trager also points out that this is the first pyramid to take into account the impact of increasing physical activity on optimal nutrition. "What better positive reinforcement for the many health benefits of improved fitness than the ability to enjoy an even broader range of food options simply by increasing exercise?"

"It's time to work together to focus on science-based medicine and nutrition," insists Mary C. Vernon, M.D. Dr. Vernon, another member of the APC, is also the current vice president of the American Society of Bariatric Physicians. "When it comes to re-educating the American public this is a wake up call that is well over due."


The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News Medical.
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