High protein diet doctor Atkins in coma in hospital

April 16, 2003 in Nutrition Topics in the News

High protein diet doctor Atkins in coma in hospital

Diet doctor Robert Atkins remained in a coma and on life support almost a week after slipping on an icy sidewalk in New York and hitting his head, his spokesman said early this week.

Atkins, 72, promoter of a popular but controversial high-protein, low carbohydrate diet, was taken to the hospital last Tuesday morning after falling near the Atkins Center for Complementary Medicine in Manhattan.

Spokesman Richard Rothstein said Atkins was "in a coma and on life support" at the Weill Cornell Medical Center. Atkins underwent surgery after his fall on the sidewalk, which was still icy after an unusual spring snowstorm that hit the New York region last Monday.

Atkins developed the "Atkins Diet" -- now referred to as "the Atkins Nutritional Approach" -- that blames carbohydrates, a major energy source, for weight gain.

Instead of carbohydrates and sugar, Atkins followers are allowed plenty of fat and protein from foods such as meat, eggs and cheese. The system claims to change the body from burning carbohydrates to burning fat.

But critics say diets with lots of meat and high in protein are linked to diseases such as osteoporosis and heart disease and have not proven to achieve long-term weight loss.

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