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Mari K. Madlem of Claremont, California

Jody Gorran This 51-year-old hairstylist began a high-protein, low-carbohydrate diet in May of 1998. She was on the diet for six months. Before starting the diet, her cholesterol level was 160. It went up to 258 while she was on the diet. Madlem also experienced kidney stones and had her gall bladder removed.

The following statements were made by Mari Madlem at a news conference on Nov. 20, 2003, at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.

Mari Madlem: “Actually, I had been on and off the Atkins diet since 1998, and I had no history of any type of kidney problems or my gall bladder in my family, and I've always been athletic. In fact, I'm training for a marathon now.”

“And I experienced, after six months on the diet the first time I went on it, gall bladder disease, and I had to have my gall bladder removed. And off and on I went on the Atkins diet again, and then in 2000, I very strictly went on the Atkins diet, and my homocysteine levels went sky-high, and I developed kidney stones, which is very painful. And those were pretty much the major problems that I had was my gall bladder and then the kidney stones.”

“I never thought that they were related to the Atkins diet because everything that I would do to try to find out more information about the correlation between kidney stones and Atkins with the Atkins information in their book, it didn't say anything, that I would be getting kidney stones. And yet, when I logged onto their web page, I found that actually it's a common occurrence because of the calcium loss.”

“And that's another thing. You can say, well, a lot of things cause gall bladder disease. A lot of things cause kidney stones. But I don't have any history of these things happening. It was only after I went on the Atkins diet that I experienced the most painful kidney stones. So, if you're having kidney stone problems and you're on Atkins, there could be a strong correlation.”

Statement during question and answer period: “Well, a comment that I'd like to make is that maybe we can't sit here and prove today that it's the Atkins diet that is causing deaths, but I think that people need to be aware of the dangers associated with a diet like that and the possibility that they could die. I mean, I think that that's the most important thing. When I talk to people, all they care about is losing weight. They're not thinking about their health. They think that they're helping their health by losing weight, by eating this high-fat food and mass quantities of meat and cheese and things like that. I mean, just logically, it doesn't make sense.”


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