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Last Updated: Wednesday, 16 March, 2005, 17:58 GMT
UK Atkins diet company to close
Weighing scales
Millions of Britons are thought to have tried the diet
British dieters' fascination with the Atkins diet could be over, with the company appointing an administrator for the UK arm of its business.

It will be appointed after Atkins Nutritionals UK was hit by lower-than-expected sales of its own branded dietary products.

More than three million Britons are thought to have tried a version of the low-carbohydrate, high-protein diet.

An Atkins spokeswoman said she hoped it would not mean an end to UK efforts.

'Money owed'

Jeremy Willmont, of chartered accountants Moore Stephens, is expected to be appointed administrator.

white bread
Forget soldiers, bread is the enemy for Atkins dieters

"Atkins Nutritionals UK are taking steps to place the company into administration," he said.

"They are in the process of making an approach to the High Court for an administrator to be appointed," he said.

The decision to close Atkins Nutritionals UK could leave manufacturers of its products being owed huge sums for unpaid bills.

One company which dealt with marketing for Atkins Nutritionals UK said it was owed 150,000 for work it had carried out.

'Responsible'

"The trouble was they tried to grow too quickly but their sales never reached the levels they expected and competitors have done a much better job," a member of staff said.

"Product sales have been bad for some time but they had been putting a bit of a spin on it."

Tamara Richardson, senior vice president international for Atkins Nutritionals, said the decision to bring in administrators did not signal an end to the company.

"We owe people and people owe us," she said. "We felt the decision we have taken is the responsible thing to do.

"We hope there may be a way through this so that the brand will continue to be available to consumers," she said.

Court approach

Atkins Nutritionals sells more than 20 products for followers of the eating plan.

Atkins Nutritionals UK are taking steps to place the company into administration
Jeremy Willmont
Moore Stephens

The diet has been criticised by some dieticians, who believe it may be unsafe. The Diet encourages adherents to eat as few sugars and carbohydrates as possible, substituting them for protein or fatty food.

There has been no research into the long-term effects of following the Atkins Diet - and evidence is scarce about the long-term impact of low carbohydrate diets in general.

But the company that promotes the diet insists that it is healthy provided the diet instructions are followed properly.

There have been reports that interest in the high-protein, low-carbohydrate diet has waned in recent months.

Celebrity followers

A poll conducted last year suggested that an estimated three million people in the UK had tried the controversial diet.

Followers can eat unrestricted amounts meat and other high protein food while restricting carbohydrates.

Many scientists and nutritionists, however, say that, if used long-term, its higher fat content could lead to kidney problems - and some have even suggested that it could increase the risk of bowel cancer.

Nutritionists say that the best way to lose weight is by a combination of a calorie controlled diet which contains a balance of all the major food groups, and regular exercise.




SEE ALSO:
Atkins sees fatter profits ahead
15 Nov 04 |  Business
Scientists endorse Atkins diet
17 May 04 |  Health


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