The Atkins diet is back... and this time it lets you eat bread and pasta

'I'll have some bread with that': The new Atkins diet allows you to have bread

'I'll have some bread with that': The new Atkins diet allows you to have bread

A few years ago, we couldn't get enough of the Atkins Diet. Disciples filled up on red meat and cheese  -  and still lost weight.

But following health scares, the slimming plan, which shunned most carbohydrates, fell out of favour.

Today, it's back on the menu  -  only this time, with a side-order of bread.

The All-New Atkins Advantage diet is said to offer the same weight loss as the old programme  -  without the health worries.

Its controversial selling-point remains the same. The plan aims to take followers into a state of ketosis, where the body is starved of carbohydrates.

In this condition, the body breaks down its own fat as there is not a large enough carbohydrate intake. It is normally associated with anorexics or those with diabetes.

Although this makes shifting pounds relatively easy, it has unknown health consequences and has been criticised by dieticians.

Under the old plan, dieters could eat as much high-protein food such as red meat and cheese as they wanted, but most carbohydrates were banned.

However, the latest 12-week programme is split into four stages  -  and in each one, increasing amounts of carbs are allowed.

Written by U. S. authors Dr Stuart Trager and Collette Heimowitz, both affiliated with the firm Atkins Nutritionals, it includes an exercise recommendation for the first time.

Dr Trager said: 'Yes, some foods are still off-limits in the earlier phases of the new diet. But there is room for healthy carbohydrates. The exercise plan means you can have a slice of bread with your salad if you do stick to the workouts.'

Enlarge   Atkins diet

The rules advise slimmers to get the fat intake right, exercise, eat until they are full and include protein in every meal. For the first two weeks, dieters eat only 20g of net carbohydrates  -  carbohydrates minus protein  -  made up of foods such as seeds and berries.

In the period called 'ongoing weight loss', this allowance rises to between 30g and 60g and includes carbs such as oatmeal, brown rice, wholegrain pasta and wholemeal bread.

Those who want to eat more carbohydrates just balance the increased intake with exercise.

When thin enough, it's time for the 'life maintenance phase', in which white bread, sandwiches and desserts can be introduced with about 120g of carbs a day.

However, it seems likely that the latest plan will come in for similar criticism to its predecessor.

Carina Norris, a dietician registered with the British Nutrition foundation, said: 'Ketosis is not the normal way the body burns fat and we don't yet fully understand what it can do to you.'

In 2005, an Oxford University study found the diet could damage the heart. Demand dropped after founder Dr Robert Atkins died in a fall in 2003, at 72.

A report showed he had heart disease and was clinically obese.

But a new study of 293 dieters has found the original Atkins Diet was safe and effective  -  but no better than conventional diets.

Scientists asked UK volunteers to follow one of four commercial diets, including Atkins. The Australian team found no difference in the amount of weight lost, Nutrition Journal reports.

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