Atkins Diet set for PR push as products hit UK stores

LONDON - The promotional machine behind the controversial Atkins Diet is preparing to launch a consumer PR blitz to promote a range of branded products due to hit UK stores early next year.

Smee's Public Relations, which is promoting Atkins Nutritionals -- the US company behind the low-carbohydrate, high-protein diet -- in the UK, has also launched a search for more UK-based spokespeople "who believe in the low-carbohydrate philosophy", as it bids to better promote the brand in this country.

Smee's, which was hired on an above- and below-the-line remit in February, is aiming to better "inform and educate" health professionals, consumers and retailers through the "dissemination of scientific evidence supporting Atkins' s theories", according to Smee's head of PR Joanna Tomlin.

The Atkins plan involves eating large quantities of protein foods, such as meat and cheese, but not carbohydrates, such as bread and potatoes.

Celebrities such as former Spice Girl Geri Halliwell have reportedly tried the Atkins Diet, which has been criticised by experts, who have warned that the eating plan may damage dieters' health. Earlier this year, former Brookside actress Claire Sweeney blamed a kidney infection on the diet.

Tomlin said a "more proactive" approach to promote scientific evidence that supports the diet was planned, adding: "We plan to focus on the science that backs up the Atkins approach". Tomlin said "more than 400" studies "supported the principles of the Atkins Nutritionals approach", which is explained in a series of books, such as Dr Atkins New Diet Revolution.

She added that "one-to-ones" with opinion-formers had been ongoing since February, although there had been "more of a push recently".

In addition, Tomlin said consumer PR activity to promote Atkins's low-carbohydrate products that will launch in the UK in the new year was also planned. She declined to disclose the products that would be available in the UK, but in the US Atkins products include low-carb cereal bars and sauces.

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