gives new health advice following BBC ONE Real Story Diet Trial
Atkins diet company spokesman has given new health advice for anyone
following the low carbohydrate, high protein diet.
an interview with BBC ONE's Real Story with Fiona Bruce,
Collette Heimowitz, vice president of Atkins Health and Medical
Information Services and Education and Research Director, says it
is imperative that anyone following the diet should "follow
the programme to the letter" and that mixing with other diets
particular she says it could be "deadly" to mix high carbohydrate
foods with high fat foods.
advice follows an experiment on the Real Story programme (BBC ONE,
Monday 1 December, 7.30pm) in which three doctors followed the diet
for a month.
of the doctors was hospitalised and had to be given morphine to
control chronic stomach pains. He was admitted overnight and had
to be fed intravenously.
Gleeson, 42, a former A&E doctor and now a psychiatrist in London,
had to be taken to hospital by ambulance after suffering from acute
was one of three doctors taking part in a unique experiment to measure
the health benefits and risks of the diet for the BBC ONE current
tells the programme: "The pain just started getting worse and
worse. I could not find any position that was comfortable so in
the end I called an ambulance.
was concerned I would need an operation to unblock the bowel. If
there is complete obstruction of the bowel it can lead to death.
was very, very, very cold because with the pain I was sweating profusely
and then shivering with the cold. I was very, very shut down - my
fingers were blue.
actually had to have morphine. I was almost crying on several occasions
because I have never had pain like this before. I was completely
convinced that was due to the Atkins diet."
Gleeson joined the four million other Britons who have tried the
diet in the last five years. He fell ill at four weeks in.
kept a video diary for the duration of the diet and admitted to
deviating from the low carb, high fat regime on a number of occasions.
drank small quantities of alcohol and on one occasion ate ten chocolate
when the pains in his intestine became so severe, he ate bread and
drank mango juice "to try and get things moving".
few hours later, he had to call for an ambulance.
spokeswoman Collette Heimowitz said: "When
you cheat with alcohol, when you cheat with juice, when you cheat
with bread, you're switching back to a carbohydrate metabolism.
a different metabolism, so the risk factors associated with high
carb, high fat is the most deadliest of combinations and you're
not on the programme if that's what you're doing.
only reason why taking in high fat is safe is because you're burning
it as a primary source of fuel - you're burning the fat on your
body and you're burning the fat dietarily that you're taking in
and then it doesn't pose a risk.
to that alcohol, add to that juice, add to that fruit or bread -
you're not on the programme. You're burning carbohydrates and that
fat poses risk.
have to follow the programme to the letter. This is a highly structured
programme and if you're going to cheat don't do it because the deadliest
of combinations are high fat and high carb.
you're the type of individual that isn't highly motivated and doesn't
have the drive to get down to your normal weight and follow the
programme then this isn't for you."
Heimowitz added: "I would not recommend this programme to anyone
who's not committed to a total lifestyle change. This is a way of
am very concerned with people who do suffer with side effects from
this programme and I encourage them to go to their physicians and
work with their physician and if their physician says this programme
is not for you then you need to listen to your doctor.
reality of the situation is that there are individuals out there
that will only read the two chapters that talk about the induction
phase which is the most strict and unfortunately for them that's
not the way of life that we intended.
realise the responsibility and we are making aggressive efforts
to educate physicians because we know that people will do better
if they're counselled during their efforts in any weight loss programme."
the start of the Real Story trial dietician Nigel Denby carried
out various tests on the doctors.
of the major concerns of the Atkins diet is that it encourages the
body to burn good lean muscle tissue.
this happens, anyone stopping the diet will find their calorie requirements
are less and the weight will come straight back on.
the diet, 14.9% of Maurice Gleeson's body weight (or 11kg) was made
up of fat.
four weeks his fat percentage increased to 17 per cent (13.8kg).
doctor, Gill Jenkins, an air ambulance doctor and GP, found that
her levels of 'bad' LDL (low density) cholesterol had increased
from 4.88 mmol to 6.07 mmol - above a clinically safe level.
medical journalist Dr Sarah Brewer found the diet very successful.
bad cholesterol fell slightly and so did her fat tissue. She lost
11 lbs in weight and has decided to continue with the Atkins programme.
Denby said: "Gill was initially quite pleased with her weight
loss - 7lbs - but she changed her tune when we looked at the fats
in her blood.
harmful type of cholesterol had risen to such an extent that she'll
be looking for some form of treatment to correct that."
said Maurice Gleeson's results were "extremely worrying".
added: "Luckily for Maurice he was pretty fit already, but
for somebody less well than Maurice that could have been significantly
Gleeson - Psychiatrist
13st 2lbs to 12st 11lbs
cholesterol: 2.37 to 2.60 mmol/L
fat %: 14.9% to 17%
Jenkins GP and air ambulance pilot
12st 8lbs to 12st
fat %: 40.6% to 39.4%
cholesterol: 4.88 mmol to 6.07 mmol/L
Brewer Medical journalist
12st 10lbs to 11st 13lbs
cholesterol: 2.77 2.15 mmol/L
fat %: 37.4% to 36.3%
Story with Fiona Bruce, BBC ONE, Monday 1 December at 7.30pm
BBC's digital services are now available on Freeview,
the new free-to-view digital terrestrial television service, as well
as on satellite and cable.
offers the BBC's eight television channels, interactive services
from BBCi, as well as 11 national BBC radio networks.