Responding to years of criticism that the Atkins regimen might lead to heart disease and other health problems, the director of research and education for Atkins Nutritionals, Colette Heimowitz, is telling health professionals in seminars around the country that only 20% of a dieter's calories should come from saturated fat.
Promoters of the Atkins diet now say that people on their plan should limit the amount of red meat and saturated fat they eat.
Atkins representatives say that diet founder Dr. Robert Atkins, who died last year, always maintained that people should eat other food besides red meat, but had difficulty getting that message out. There has been a revision in expressing how to follow the diet, not in the diet itself, they say.
But in their consumer publications, Atkins officials have never set limits on saturated fat, and Atkins is widely known as the diet that lets you eat all the meat you want.
The change comes as Atkins faces competition from other popular low-carbohydrate diets that call for less saturated fat.