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    Experts Call Low-Carb Trend a "Rip-Off"

    New group aims to educate Americans about need for healthy carbohydrates.

    WASHINGTON -- Health experts and consumer advocates have declared that popular low-carbohydrate diets are leading Americans to poor health and spawning a rip-off industry of "carb-friendly" products, according to Reuters.

    A new group, called the Partnership for Essential Nutrition, intends to help educate Americans about the need for healthy carbohydrates such as vegetables, fruits, beans and whole grains.

    "When unproven science becomes a sales pitch, some people get rich and the rest of us get ripped off," Jeffrey Prince of the American Institute for Cancer Research said at a news conference. "Eating vegetables, fruits, whole grains and beans, which are all predominantly carbohydrate, is linked to a reduced risk of cancer, heart disease, stroke, diabetes and a range of other chronic diseases."

    Prince said low-carb diets that advocate piling on the animal protein and fat are "increasing the risk of developing cancer, heart disease, stroke, type-2 diabetes and other chronic diseases."

    The new group includes such organizations as the Alliance for Aging Research, the American Association of Diabetes Educators, the AICR and the American Obesity Association. Its Web site (www.essentialnutrition.org/) is especially critical of programs, such as the Atkins diet, that advocate throwing the body into a condition called ketosis. During this phase the body sheds water as it tries to get rid of excess protein and fat-breakdown products.

    "Losing weight on these extreme low-carb diets can lead to such serious health problems as kidney stress, liver disorders and gout," the group advises.

    The new group published a survey of 1,017 adults, conducted by Opinion Research Corp., that showed 19 percent of dieters are trying to cut carbs. The survey found that 47 percent of them believed that low-carb diets can help them lose weight without cutting calories.

    "They are confused. They lack an understanding of the basic science," Barbara Moore, president of Shape Up America, said at the news conference. She said a "trickle-down effect" meant other Americans were now eating fewer fruits, vegetables, whole grains and low-fat dairy products.

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