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Atkins Diet -- It's the Calories continued...

Plus, slashing carbs and gulping fat may be dangerous to more than just your heart health. Barnard points to research recently published in the American Journal of Kidney Disease, based on studies of 10 healthy people put on the Atkins diet. "Because their focus is kidney disease, they wanted to look at calcium loss. It was awful: On the induction diet, calcium losses were 65% above normal, and even on the more moderate maintenance diet, calcium losses averaged 55% above normal," Barnard says. "Osteoporosis is a bad enough problem as it is. If you do something that increases calcium losses, you're just asking for hip fractures."

So for now, the jury's still out on Atkins. "If it turns out that the diet is safe and effective, maybe we have something to learn from it," says Foster. "But we just don't know enough about it yet."

Published Dec. 26, 2002.

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