Gee, what a surprise — the Atkins diet is maligned again!
One of the primary purposes of what I do at this blog is to make people think about what they believe and why they believe it. On the subject of nutrition and health, the difference between what is fact from fiction could very well have your life depending on it. That is one of the reasons why I speak out so passionately about what I believe both from my own experiences as well as all the research I have done on healthy low-carb living.
My goal is to arm you with fact-based information, get you excited about livin’ la vida low-carb, help boost your confidence as you speak with people about this amazing way of eating, and hopefully encourage you to carry on the low-carb torch to others by standing in defense of what it has done for you and millions more. I’m thrilled to see so many new faces joining us long-term low-carbers in articulating what this remarkable nutritional approach has done for both our weight and health. It’s like we have our own little army of troops out there who are constantly on guard to protect the message from being distorted by would-be evildoers.
That’s precisely what happened yesterday in this California-based Canyon News column entitled “The Hidden Perils Of The Atkins Phenomena.” If you read it, then you’ll notice a lot of the same old tired arguments against low-carb — namely that it’s “high-protein” (nope, it’s high-fat), lacks carbohydrates (uhhh, yeah, that’s the point), an “entire food group is removed from the diet” (umm, which one would that be?), “does not receive enough calories” and encourages “less food portions…than those on a normal diet” (that’s a new one to me since most naysayers generally complain that low-carb allows TOO MANY calories), puts “enormous strain on the kidneys” (it does not if you are eating a high-fat, moderate protein, low-carb diet), “everyone” in the health world opposes it because it “contradicts all of what the health professionals stand for” (so that means it’s wrong?!), it lacks balance (oh, don’t even get me started on this one!), yadda yadda yadda!
I hit so many of these excuses in my upcoming new book, but one of my regular readers did a fantastic job in response to this garbage as he responded point-by-point to the idiocy in this column. Here’s what he wrote:
I am writing to take issue with several key premises in the article “The Hidden Perils Of The Atkins Phenomena.”
“does a high-protein, low-carbohydrate diet, commonly known as the Atkins diet, really work?”
I doubt that it does. However, Atkins and other typical low carb diets (e.g. Protein Power) are adequate protein, high fat, low carbohydrate diets. The premise is to obtain your calories from healthy fats, obtain enough protein to sustain, and reduce carbohydrate intake.
“Effectively, the Atkins diet works, perhaps disturbingly so, because an entire food group is removed from the diet.”
If by “food group” you mean processed carbohydrates, then certainly. But carbohydrates such as non-starchy vegetables and low glycemic fruits such as berries and cantaloupe are not only not removed, they are encouraged, as long as you stay within your carbohydrate limit for the day. Atkins is about learning how much carbohydrate your body can process without stimulating fat storage. For some, this is 50g/day or more.
“Furthermore, on a low-carb diet the body does not receive enough calories and so is forced to burn fat.”
Au contraire. In fact, on a low fat diet, calorie restriction must be significant, perhaps starvation level, to achieve weight loss. On a low carbohydrate diet, weight loss occurs naturally through an adequate calorie diet.
“It produces keytones as a by-product which can cause nausea, stomach cramps, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and bad breath amongst other complaints.”
It’s ketones. Low fat diets can cause all of these side effects too. All that fiber can do it. Personally I get nauseous at the sight of a donut.
“Keytones also curb the appetite so effectively that people following the Atkins diet will be less hungry; therefore, less food portions are eaten than those on a normal diet.”
Great! Sign me up.
“The press surrounding the book ‘Dr. Atkins Diet Revolution’ has not always been plain sailing and has become increasingly rocky in recent years.”
Do you have an example of a book that was published in 1972 that has had never had a negative review?
“According to the American Kidney Fund (AKF) and researchers at the University of Connecticut, high protein diets are known to place enormous amounts of strain on the kidneys, which can lead to chronic kidney disease and eventual kidney failure.”
Again, not a high protein diet but a high fat diet.
“Everyone from the American Heart Association, to the American Cancer Society and the American College of Sports Medicine seem to oppose the Atkins diet. It contradicts all of what the health professionals stand for, with unhealthy fatty foods replacing natural food such as fresh fruit, vegetables and cereals.”
Cereals are a natural food? Do you have a Rice Chex tree in your yard, or is it a Frosted Flakes bush? Cereals are a highly processed food that are the reason for our diabetic problems as a nation. Fresh fruit and vegetables are encouraged, as are natural foods such as meat.
“Fatty, sugary and salty foods are always going to litter our shelves and call out for cravings to tempt us from the fruit bowl, and none of these will ever aid us in losing weight in a healthy way.”
Sugar – now you’re talking. But shouldn’t you be blitzkrieging high protien foods since you think it’s a high protien diet you are blasting? Better go tell that bear that snapped a salmon out of the stream to stick to the lean parts or he might get heart disease.
“Balance is key. We must learn to listen to our bodies, and feed them according to our individual physical needs.”
Now we’re talking. We have no physical evolutionary need for cereal or bread.
“For centuries food was part of the survival mechanism and yet now we live in a nation obsessed with getting thin regardless of the cost to our health.”
Great — I’d go further than centuries, I would say millenia … or for our entire pre-refined-sugar pre-refined-wheat past.
Cheers. Give a low carb or paleo diet a try! But at least read the book before you turn into one of those negative reviewers who has no idea what they are talking about.
GO GET ‘EM BUDDY! I’m beginning to think I’m rubbing off on a few of you. And I LOVE it! Outstanding job! Feel free to share own response to this blast job on healthy low-carb living by e-mailing Canyon News editors at firstname.lastname@example.org. The next time you see something like this pop up in the media, feel free to share the truth like this regular reader did. When you do, drop me an e-mail with what you wrote! I’d really enjoy seeing it!
Whatever diet plans or programs you have encountered, just give it a try. So long as you know that it will not harm your system. There are a lot of ways to keep healthy and whatever is effective for you, then go for it! :-)