Woman’s World finds itself wrapped up in controversy again over Eco-Atkins
You know what they say, imitation is the highest form of flattery. But that familiar saying only applies if in attempting to imitate you don’t completely pervert the intent of the original idea. But that’s exactly what has been done to the original Atkins low-carb approach by a very aggressive group pushing a vegan-styled diet they call “Eco-Atkins.”
We first heard about “Eco-Atkins” back in June 2009 when a study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine allegedly found that a plant-based lower-carb, low-calorie diet was a much better option for weight and health improvements than the well-known high-fat, low-carb nutritional approach advocated by the late, great Dr. Robert C. Atkins. The researchers observed 44 overweight men and women with high LDL cholesterol and put half of them on a calorie-restricted diet high in vegetable proteins from gluten, soy, nuts, fruits, vegetables, cereals and vegetable oils or on a calorie-restricted high-carb, low-fat diet including low-fat dairy and whole grain products for a period of four weeks. Both groups lost the same amount of weight, but “Eco-Atkins” lowered LDL and blood pressure.
Nevertheless, many people in the health media don’t let the facts get in the way of their determined agenda to blast away at the Atkins diet anytime they get a chance (even though privately most health reporters and people in the medical profession already know that carbohydrate-restricted diets that are meat-based or otherwise are extremely good for weight loss and health improvements). What’s really funny to me is they keep talking about Atkins all the while claiming that the diet is irrelevant and nobody’s doing it anymore because it’s so “dangerous” and “unhealthy.” Well, if it’s THAT fringe and out of step with the mainstream of contemporary nutritional thought, then why does everyone keep talking about it? Obviously there’s enough interest or the conversation would have moved on by now.
The latest excursion into beating up on the Atkins diet comes from the editors at Woman’s World magazine
. As one of the most widely-read publications for women in America today, they frequently highlight new diets for women to try. You might recall they had to print a mea culpa to their readers in February 2008 just eight months after featuring a big cover story on the now-infamous Kimkins diet which was later found to be a fraud run by a morbidly-obese woman who had claimed in a podcast interview I conducted with her in 2007 that she had lost 200 pounds. Oops! Well, the latest issue of Woman’s World isn’t much better as they put the focus squarely on this “Eco-Atkins” diet nonsense.
Click on the above images to read their column on “Eco-Atkins”
As you can see, they describe this as a “safe, healthy new turbo Atkins!”
“Wish you could get the extreme results of the Atkins Diet without an icky overload of meat and fat?” the column asks. “Thanks to some brilliant Canadian scientists, now you can!”
The author of the study, Dr. David J.A. Jenkins, said the concerns over the meat-based Atkins is what happens to cholesterol levels. So he wanted to try a vegetarian Atkins diet instead to create the “Eco-Atkins.” The article claims a group of readers who tried “Eco-Atkins” for one week lost “up to nine pounds and 10 inches in a single week. Wow!” But then they featured a 28-year-old success story named Marie Nichols who allegedly produced these exact numbers all by herself. Which was it, Woman’s World: a group of readers or Marie who attained the 9-pound weight loss and 10-inch reduction in one week?
Plus, how many people were in the group? How big were they when they started? Were the inches lost all over their body or just in the waist? If Marie produced that kind of success by herself, then did everyone else in the group produce a net zero result? Inquiring minds want to know. Otherwise, that line in the story is completely useless without this kind of context added. Do they think women will actually buy this load of crap using such shifty and purposely ambiguous language?
The Woman’s World columnist added that this success was “more than readers lost when we asked them to try old-fashioned Atkins.” Now wait just a minute. Did they actually follow the Atkins diet by the book reading Dr. Atkins’ New Diet Revolution, for example, or did they just cut back on carbs and eat meat, eggs, and cheese all day? It makes a difference if you do it the right way and we’ve yet to see a real study that compares “Eco-Atkins” with traditional Atkins. I think the original would blow this new kid on the block out of the water in a controlled study setting. Any low-carb researcher want to take this one on?
Looking at the “Eco-Atkins” diet plan, it’s virtually unfamiliar to most low-carbers:
- Consume 130g carbohydrates daily - Avoid all animal products and cholesterol - Eat fake veggie-burgers, soy sausage, and vegetarian chicken nuggets - Your fat intake is half what it would be on regular Atkins - Soy is a major staple of your diet - Foods like oatmeal, peanut butter, and tofu included in your meals
Let me ask you, how many people on a healthy low-carb lifestyle eat like this? Anyone? It seems just a wee bit suspicious that a meat-free vegan low-carb diet would be promoted as a “better Atkins” and my intuition about these things was confirmed when I saw the name of a radical vegan activist named Dr. Neal Barnard who founded a front group for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) in 1985 called Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM)
. This anti-Atkins organization includes radical vegan activists like Dr. T. Colin Campbell who wrote the oft-quoted vegetarian bible The China Study and Dr. John McDougall who often debated Dr. Atkins about his diet. Interestingly, Newsweek magazine reported in February 2004 that 95 percent of PCRM membership have no medical education at all! This group has a single-minded concerted agenda with one purpose: force the entire population to go on a meatless vegetarian/vegan diet. Paraphrasing the immortal words of the late Charlton Heston, you’ll have to pry the Porterhouse steak from my cold, dead hands!
With that context in place, what did Dr. Barnard have to say in this Woman’s World article on “Eco-Atkins?” Not surprisingly, he states that this particular version of Atkins “contains no cholesterol and no animal fat. Omitting them tends to cause a massive drop in cholesterol.” You know what, Dr. Barnard, you are exactly right! Yep, we do see a “massive drop” in cholesterol happen when you avoid meat and instead turn to vegetables as your primary source of sustenance. Unfortunately, the reduction is in your HDL “good” cholesterol which ends up producing frightening results for your lipid panel.
However, if you increase the fat and even the saturated fat as well as the cholesterol content of your diet while bringing those carbohydrates down by about 100 grams to near 20g as Dr. Atkins outlined in his books, then you would see an extremely healthy rise in HDL, a significant dip in triglyceride levels (something we almost NEVER hear you low-fatties talk about), and all the health and weight improvements that you show on your beloved “Eco-Atkins” while eating those animal-based foods that you claim are so bad for people to consume. Admit it! This “Eco-Atkins” movement is nothing more than a sick Halloween costume you vegans came up with to take advantage of the Atkins name while sanctimoniously claiming to improve it by removing the meat.
NEWSFLASH! That’s NOT the Atkins diet or anything close to it. Nobody is going to be fooled by this ridiculous and desperate attempt by the vegan extremists to find relevance in a world of nutritionally-savvy people who can see right through their ruse. The claim in the column that “Eco-Atkins” is better because it is a “very ‘green’ diet” since it supposedly doesn’t use as many natural resources like meat and dairy do is just plain false. All you need to do is read the book The Vegetarian Myth: Food, Justice, and Sustainability by Lierre Keith to learn why growing vegetables is doing more harm to the environment than meat ever will! The facts speak for themselves.
Atkins spokesperson Colette Heimowitz responds to Woman’s World column
So, what does Atkins Nutritionals think about this “Eco-Atkins” focus in Woman’s World magazine? I asked Atkins Nutritionals VP Nutrition Communication & Education Colette Heimowitz to share the official response from her company to this story and she shared a letter to the editor she sent to them this week which I will reprint for you:
In your October 19th issue, a turbo “Eco-Atkins” diet is recommended as a safe and healthy way to lose nine pounds in one week.
While a clever, politically correct name, this short-term (four weeks) vegetarian diet study recommends 130 grams of carbohydrates daily, an amount simply too high in carbs to be named “Atkins” and not appropriate for most overweight and obese individuals with insulin resistance.
Those following the lower-carb program in Dr. David J. A. Jenkins’ study consumed up to 43% of their daily calories as carbohydrate. Can you imagine how much better they might have done had they limited their carb intake to be more in keeping with the first or second phases of the Atkins Nutritional Approach, in which people usually achieve most of their weight loss?
After all, 42% of daily calories as carbs is the high end of what the most metabolically advantaged people typically consume in the fourth and final phase of Atkins: Lifetime Maintenance. Gradually increasing the amount of healthy carbohydrate foods as she moves from phase to phase allows each individual to learn the amount of carbohydrate she can reasonably consume while continuing to lose weight—and then to maintain her new weight.
Vegetarians can follow all four phases of Atkins. Initially, tofu and other soy products, eggs and aged cheeses are the main sources of protein for vegetarians and provide all the essential amino acids. Vegetables, avocado and olives—all good sources of fiber—and olive and other healthy oils provide essential fatty acids and a variety of other healthful nutrients. After two weeks, vegetarians can add other protein foods, including cottage cheese and plain yogurt, as well as nuts and seeds for greater variety. Our website includes many vegetarian recipes for suitable for various phases.
What do you think about Woman’s World magazine giving this vegan imposter diet using the good Atkins name this kind of publicity? Are we to just sit idly by while healthy Atkins low-carb living is co-opted and hijacked by the vegans or do we stand up against what is a very desperate attempt by them to get back into the conversation of healthy nutrition again? Share your thoughts in the comments below and send your concerns to Woman’s World magazine about this to dearWW@bauerpublishing.com. Let them know what you think about this perversion of our beloved Atkins diet plan.