The company behind the controversial Atkins diet has said it is not retreating from its position on the consumption of fat, following a US media report to the contrary.

An article in the New York Times, titled “Make That Steak a Bit Smaller, Atkins Advises Today’s Dieters”, claimed that the promoters of Atkins were now saying that people on the low-carb diet plan should limit the amount of red meat and saturated fat they consume, rather than eat as much as they wanted.

The article said that Colette Heimowitz, director of research and education for Atkins Nutritionals, has been telling health professionals in seminars around the US that only 20% of a dieter’s calories should come from saturated fat.

In response to the article, Atkins said it had not changed and that the basic tenets of the Atkins Nutritional Approach (controlled intake of refined carbohydrates, a balance of fats (including saturated fat but not trans fats) and a balance of proteins including red meat) were still true today.

“Saturated fat remains a valuable part of the Atkins Nutritional Approach,” the company said.

“There is absolutely no science to support any claims that eating red meat and saturated fat as part of your Atkins program is anything other then beneficial,” it added.

The company also criticised the media for “sensationalising” the Atkins diet as an “all-the-steak-you-can-eat” approach to dieting.

“This has never been true,” the company said, adding that followers of the Atkins diet understood that.

The New York Times article suggested that Atkins was changing its advice in order to compete with other popular low-carb diets, such as the South Beach Diet, that call for less saturated fat.