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Saturday, 31 December 2005 13:59
BNN: British Nursing News Online · www.bnn-online.co.uk
High protein diet attacked
The benefits of high-protein diets have again been questioned, with an editorial in the magazine Nature claiming diets such as the Total Wellbeing Diet, which is similar to the Atkins diet, only help a small number of people.

The Total Wellbeing Diet, which recommends that 30 to 35 per cent of a personís daily energy intake should come from protein, compared to 15 per cent in a typical Western diet, has sold half a million copies in Australia since May and has been on sale in the UK since September.

The plan recommends that people eat more fish and meat at lunch and dinner. It differs from the similar Atkins diet in that it allows dieters to eat small amounts of carbohydrates and encourages them to eat lots of fruit and vegetables.

In a study of 100 overweight women carried out by the authors, half the women were put onto the high-protein diet while the rest had a high-carbohydrate eating plan.

Both diets contained the same amount of calories, and women in both groups lost the same amount of weight.

But the researchers said women with high triglyceride levels - a marker of insulin resistance - shed far more weight on the high-protein diet.

Insulin resistance happens when the body cannot respond properly to the insulin being produced, leading to difficulty in regulating blood glucose levels.

The Nature editorial said: "The diet is being promoted as beneficial for everyone, whereas the published research indicates that it is superior to a high-carbohydrate diet only for a sub-population of overweight women with symptoms of metabolic disorder."

Patrick Holford, of the Institute for Optimum Nutrition in London, said: "The main trial showed no difference in weight loss compared with a conventional diet."

But a spokeswoman for the CSIRO said it had always published books on its scientific work and put its name to publications, and this was "no exception".

"The decision to publish was in response to many consumers asking for further details of the diet."


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