You know someone's life has made a lasting impact on the world when their contributions to society are still being talked about many years after that person is gone. That's precisely what has happened to the founder of the world's most popular low-carb nutritional approach.
The late great Dr. Robert C. Atkins of Atkins diet fame was prematurely taken from us on April 17, 2003 after a tragic slip and fall accident on some ice in New York City which resulted in a massive head injury that he was unable to recover from at the age of 72. It was a sad day for the millions of people who were positively touched by this remarkable man and you should read this touching tribute from Lora Ruffner and her readers at Low-Carb Luxury.
Although I had not yet chosen to begin livin' la vida low-carb at the time of his death and never had the chance to actually meet Dr. Atkins in person, I have since grown to love and appreciate all that this incredible man has done for me even after his untimely demise. My life will forever be changed for the better because of the lessons I learned from the Atkins diet and nobody will ever convince me otherwise.
Even still, there are some out there who are so threatened by this man who has been gone for four years and four months that they feel compelled to continue spreading lies, innuendo, and propaganda about how Dr. Atkins died claiming he was obese, had a heart attack, and that it was all because of his "unhealthy" diet. The best example of these kind of repugnant statements comes from Mr. Low-Fat Diet himself, Dr. Dean Ornish. Will he ever learn to give it a rest?
When you hear these kinds of personal attacks against someone like Dr. Atkins long after their passing, it's got to make you wonder what all the fearmongering and fuss is REALLY about and why they don't just move on with their own agenda and message. Could it be they realize that people's lives are STILL IMPROVING TO THIS DAY on that there Atkins diet, so they have to grasp at straws to try to discredit it in any way?
I can almost hear Dr. Atkins saying from the grave, "Go ahead, make my day!"
In my recent interview with Veronica Atkins in May 2007, the faithful and loving wife of Dr. Atkins for much of his career, she expressed how much all these rumors surrounding her husband's tragic death hurt her personally and that these distortions of the truth are obviously being spread by "fanatics" who are "unwilling and uninterested in seeking the truth."
"They certainly showed their true colors when they illegally obtained copies of Dr. Atkins' medical records following his death and then leaked false information to the press claiming he was obese," Mrs. Atkins told me in the interview. "When my husband was admitted to the hospital following his accident, he weighed 195 pounds--a healthy weight for a 6’ 2” tall man. The extra weight he gained during his hospital stay was due to an accumulation of body fluids related to his treatment and linked to organ failure."
But, despite this...
"This group chose to distort the facts to suit their agenda, which is very disturbing indeed," she added.
It's on secret that Dr. Atkins suffered from a heart condition called cardiomyopathy stemming from a viral infection and most realize it had nothing at all to do with his healthy low-carb diet. In fact, if you go back through statements he made throughout his 30+ years in the diet industry, then you will hear him speak quite candidly about this personal condition he suffered from and the many hours of research he personally undertook to study it to help others with it. You won't hear this anywhere else.
Nevertheless, the neverending drumbeat of personal vilification of Dr. Atkins goes on in 2007 and I'll sometimes get an e-mail like the following one inquiring about the circumstances surrounding his death and whether it had anything to do with his diet.
I'm always happy to respond to these questions because it's an opportunity to share the truth. Here's what an Ohio man wrote to me this week:
I really enjoy your blog! Congratulations on the fine success you continue to enjoy.
I just started up Induction after a three-year lapse...recent blood profile was getting pretty bad and first thing out of the doc's mouth was Lipitor. I said no thanks, would rather try diet changes. So here I am, 7 pounds down in less than a week, walking 2 fast miles a day, and feeling fine!
My questions for you: Is there any truth to the stories circulating a few years ago that Dr. Atkins had arteriosclerosis and other circulatory conditions? I know the family addressed his post-coma weight gain, but can't find where they addressed these reports. Any info? If this is already answered on your blog I overlooked it, I'm sorry. Thanks for your time.
Actually, I had addressed this previously at my blog, so I replied:
It's so GREAT to hear from you and I'm happy that you have chosen to start livin' la vida low-carb. GO BOY! :D
Your question is indeed one I have addressed previously at my blog in the following post:
"Dr. Atkins Death Debate Resurrected"
There are some pretty radical low-fat loving, anti-meat individuals groups who will continue to rail against this way of eating because it threatens them and their chosen way of life. It's great that they have chosen be a vegetarian or a vegan. But that doesn't work for all of us as you well know.
EXCELLENT QUESTION and I appreciate hearing from you. Contact me anytime! :)
This precipitated a follow-up response and question from my reader:
Thanks for the quick reply. Okay, I did not see that article you wrote previously so thanks for pointing it out.
Can you tell me, if you know, what the nature of the infection Dr. Atkins had that led to these conditions? Did his family or Atkins Nutritionals, Inc. representatives ever say?
Unless that issue is buried once and for all, there will be no end to the ammunition his enemies will have to claim that the diet could lead to long-term damage to the cardiovascular system, even if it takes 30 years to do it.
And I'll confess, it's given me a bit of cautious doubt myself, despite the benefits I've seen so far in my own weight and energy (the next blood test is several weeks away yet). I'm one of those "examine all sides first, then decide" people! Thanks again.
Man, if I had a dollar for everyone that asks me this question... ;)
Here was my reply:
Yes, Dr. Atkins had issues that were present in his own health LONG before he even started his research on low-carb diets. Read this statment from Veronica Atkins for more detailed information.
To me, it's as simple as this--looking at Dr. Atkins and his health is not going to prove or disprove what livin' la vida low-carb has done for me (although there is a long-term study that found low-carb diets are not unhealthy for heart health with lots more research to come over the next few years). The fact is it IS working for me and I've never been healthier in my entire life. It sounds like the same thing has happened for you, too. CONGRATULATIONS!
Ultimately, the decision about continuing on with this way of eating is yours. But ask yourself one question--How else am I going to eat healthy if I don't eat low-carb?
Something to think about, my friend. THANKS again for your e-mail.
The bottom line that I try to tell people is don't let anyone try to talk you out of your low-carb lifestyle when you know it is what's right for you. This is YOUR life and health, so anyone who disparages your decision to eat a healthy low-carb diet can just go suck on an egg (which is very low-carb, by the way!). :D
You could tell it was like a light bulb went off in my reader's head when he wrote his final e-mail to me:
Thank you! I never saw that statement from Veronica Atkins before and it is entirely satisfactory to me. Thanks for pointing me to it!!!
As for the occasional anti-meat fanatics you get dropping by, just remember, "You will never reason a man out of something he wasn't reasoned into in the first place."
I personally wouldn't waste time on them. They won't dispute Atkins on any medical, scientific or otherwise objective basis because they can't. But in their minds they don't really NEED to, either.
As you know, they view eating anything with a face as morally wrong. That (in their minds) ends all need for rational, mature discussion. No success you have will make one bit of difference to them, except to make them angrier; you are still WRONG and EVIL for eating meat, period.
Hence the losers who threaten you with the heart attack bogeyman. That you tolerate them as well as you do is impressive...I have no patience for such fools.
Continued success to you!
Ah, another satisfied low-carb convert...welcome to the fray, my friend! He really needs to read what Dr. Barry Groves had to say about the sacrosanct meat-hating minions in my exclusive interview with him earlier this week. Classic Barry and 100% right on!
I couldn't resist sharing why I engage these anti-meat activists:
Awww, but it's so much fun to yank their chain every once in a while...they're
threatened by people like me and you. :D YOU GOTTA LOVE IT! THANKS again!
So, you see, even though it has been years since Dr. Robert C. Atkins has departed from us, we're still talking about him. And they'll still be talking about him in 2008, 2009, 2020, and beyond! His legacy will live on for a very long time because you and I both know he was right after all! :)
I welcome anyone to e-mail me with your questions about the low-carb lifestyle anytime by writing to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. It's my pleasure to hear from my readers and I make it a priority to answer every single request for information about livin' la vida low-carb! THANKS for reading and I'm always thrilled to correspond with you.