The UK's Food Standards Agency has said it has not issued an official health warning about the Atkins Diet, following media reports which claimed the agency had issued advice linking the low carbohydrate diet to cancer and heart disease.

In the healthy eating section of its website, the FSA provides consumer advice about low-carbohydrate diets.

"Cutting out starchy foods, or any food group, can be bad for your health because you could be missing out on a range of nutrients. This type of diet also tends to be unrealistic and dull, and not palatable enough to be tolerated for a long time," the advice reads.

"Low-carbohydrate diets tend to be high in fat, too, and eating a diet that is high in fat (especially saturated fat from foods such as meat, cheese, butter and cakes) could increase your chances of developing coronary heart disease."

The FSA today issued a statement saying that the consumer advice is not an official health warning, but "just a reminder of long-standing nutritional advice about the importance of eating a balanced diet, which should include carbohydrates."