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Diet guru Atkins died an 18st fatty with heart problems; Expert's claim.

Byline: By John McEachran

DIET guru Dr Robert Atkins was 18stone when he died and had a history of heart problems and hypertension, a shock medical report revealed yesterday.

The man behind the Atkins Diet attacked for promoting high fat foods and avoiding carbohydrates died last year of a head injury after falling on ice.

His wife Veronica has always denied that the doctor, 72, had had a heart attack, which would add power to critics who claim dieters risk heart disease from its emphasis on fat.

But a medical examiner's report, while attributing death to a 'blunt impact injury of head', said Dr Atkins had a history of heart attack and congestive heart failure.

It also says that at his death, he weighed more than 18 stone obese for a 6 ft man.

Throughout his life, Dr Atkins followed his own diet advice, which is why his critics have scrutinised his health. Dr Atkins did not have an autopsy because his family objected. Instead, the medical examiner did an external examination and referred to medical records.

The report says Dr Atkins had a history of myocardial infarction the medical term for heart attack heart failure and hypertension.

In the last years of his life, Dr Atkins's 'ejection fraction', a measure of the heart's pumping capacity, was 15 to 20.

Anything below 40 is considered heart failure, and 15 is characteristic of patients waiting for heart transplants.

Stuart Trager, chairman of the Atkins Physicians Council in New York, insists that the doctor's health problems were due to cardiomyopathy, a disease probably caused by a virus, not his diet.

'He had no record of a heart attack, ' Dr Trager insisted.

The medical records were leaked to the Wall Street Journal. Mrs Atkins expressed outrage at the leak and denied any link between her husband's health and his diet.

Last month, she demanded an apology from New York mayor Michael Bloomberg after he branded Dr Atkins fat.

CAPTION(S):

FAT'S ALL: Dr Atkins's diet left him clinically obese at death
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Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Feb 11, 2004
Words:338
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