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I surprised myself with Atkins

Dr Gill Jenkins may have been misled as to the nature of the Atkins diet (News, December 8). It is purely carbohydrate restrictive.There is no limitation on green vegetables, on root vegetables apart from potatoes or on fruit apart from bananas. I personally tried it and found much to my surprise that my cholesterol fell, trigycerides fell and the hdl fraction rose.

The exclusion of sugar, soft drinks, cakes, pasta, pizza, bread and jams does not make it an easy diet but with adequate vegetables it is not constipating. Nor does it necessarily have a cholesterol-raising effect, though I expected it to.

There is no reason why a diet with normal amounts of protein should be more expensive as all you are doing is cutting out the stodge.

The point that may need to be made is the time of testing: mine were true fasting specimens after 12 hours of fast.The cholesterol at 5mmol was the lowest I have ever recorded and an hdl of 1.5 was the only time I have ever had a level above 1, the trigyceride was half my previous level. It may be that if your fats are of plant origin, as in olive oil, the effects are beneficial but Dr Atkins did not exclude plant lipids!

Dr Graham Edlin

Peckham, south London

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