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THE SKINNY ON ATKINS by Michael Greger, MD



 
 
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Old March 31st, 2005, 01:01 AM
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Default THE SKINNY ON ATKINS by Michael Greger, MD


Dr. Jai Maharaj wrote:
Forwarded message

THE SKINNY ON ATKINS

By Michael Greger, M.D.*

Reprinted from the June 2004 issue of Dr. Greger's
Nutrition Newsletter. To subscribe, send a blank email to


WHAT THE EXPERTS THINK OF ATKINS

Bringing Home the Bacon

Atkins conceded that the "WORST [emphasis his]" feature
about his diet is the "rapidity with which you gain
[weight] if you abandon it." "But the BEST feature," he
claims, "is that you don't HAVE to go off this diet..."246

The reason people fall of the wagon, Atkins claimed, is
because of "carbohydrate addiction." What he calls
"addiction," though, others might call our natural urge
to eat the fuel our bodies evolved to live
on--carbohydrates. Patients inevitably cheat and then
tragically blame themselves instead of the diet for this
failure.

Low carb diets, like all fad diets, tend to fail.247 Even
Atkins admitted that there is "no formal documentation"
of long-term weight loss on his diet. He'd been
supposedly seeing patients for decades on his diet; why
didn't he do a study?

When challenged on just that point Atkins replied, "Why
should I support a study? It's all in my book." When it
was pointed out that the book was "all anecdotal," Atkins
said mainstream medicine's demand for proof simply
functioned to "maintain it at its current level of
ineptitude."248

In February 2000, the USDA brought Atkins in to discuss
his diet. When asked why he doesn't conduct his own
study, he pleaded poverty: "But I haven't been able to
fund a study." To which the Director of Nutrition
Sciences at Albert Einstein College of Medicine, replied,
"Ten million books in print and you can't fund a study?"

The Director continued: "You market the vitamins. You
sell the vitamins. You market this. This is not for the
public good. This is a money-making proposition."249 The
Chair of the Board of Atkins' own New York County Medical
Society made a similar charge when Atkins' book was first
published, alleging it was "clearly... unethical" and
"self-aggrandizing."250 The New York Board of Health
later tried, unsuccessfully, to revoke his medical
license.251

Why has the U.S. government been lax in testing the
Atkins Diet at any point in the last 30 years? One reason
may have been that it might be difficult to get approval
from an ethical review committee to put people on the
diet long term, given what is known about the dangers of
a meat-laden diet. As one medical review concluded,
"There is no evidence that low carbohydrate diets are
effective for long-term weight management, and their
long-term safety is questionable and unproven."252

The current Director of Nutrition at Harvard advises that
all physicians should produce a handout warning about all
of the adverse effects of the Atkins Diet. Not only
should the handout explain explicitly that the diet may
increase one's risk of heart disease, cancer, and stroke,
but also that "Other health risks include... dizziness,
headaches, confusion, nausea, fatigue, sleep problems,
irritability, bad breath, and worsening of gout and
kidney problems; osteoporosis, since a high ratio of
animal to vegetable protein intake may increase bone loss
and the risk of hip fracture in elderly women; a rise in
blood pressure with age...and rapid falling blood pressure
upon standing up (orthostatic hypotension), which can...
put older patients at higher risk for falls."253 After
running through the adverse effects associated with
ketosis, the American institute for Cancer Research
wrote, "Those are the short-term effects. The long-term
effects are even more dire."254

LONG-TERM SIDE EFFECTS

"Massive Health Risk"

The Atkins' Diet downfall is also its one saving
grace--people may not be able to tolerate it for long
enough to suffer the long-term consequences. The American
Heart Association states: "Individuals who follow these
diets are therefore at risk for compromised vitamin and
mineral intake, as well as potential cardiac, renal
[kidney], bone, and liver abnormalities overall."255

In Europe, hospitals have already started banning the
Atkins Diet256,257 after the British government's Medical
Research Council, backed up by the British Nutrition
Foundation and the British Dietetic Association,258
condemned the Atkins Diet as "negligent"259 "nonsense and
pseudo-science"260 posing a "massive health risk."261

An article out of the Cleveland Clinic Journal of
Medicine entitled "Physician's Guide to Popular Low
Carbohydrate Weight-Loss Diets" noted that the Atkins
Diet "can jeopardize health in a variety of ways."262 Let
us count the ways.

Malnutrition

Atkins followers risk a number of serious nutrient
deficiencies.263 In fact some people have become so
deficient on low carb ketogenic diets that they almost
went blind because their optic nerves started to
degenerate.264,265

When cutting calories, it's especially important to eat
nutrient-dense diets, but the Atkins Diet presents a
double whammy; it restricts the healthiest foods, like
fruit, and unrestricts some of the unhealthiest, like
meat. Shortly after Atkins' original book was published,
the highly prestigious Medical Letter on Drugs and
Therapeutics concluded that the Atkins Diet was
"unbalanced, unsound and unsafe."266 As noted in a
Medical Times review, Atkins has created a "ridiculously
unbalanced and unsound" "hazardous" diet.267 Twenty-seven
years later the Medical Letter offered an update noting
that the safety of the Atkins Diet had still "not been
established."268

A diet like Atkins maximizes the consumption of disease-
promoting substances like the cholesterol, saturated fat,
and industrial pollutants in meat, yet restricts one's
intake of fiber and the literal thousands of antioxidants
and phytochemicals found exclusively in the plant kingdom
(like the carotenoids, lycopenes, bioflavenoids, phytic
acid, indoles, isothiocyanates, etc.) that have "anti-
aging, anti-cancer and anti-heart disease properties."269
As a 2004 medical review concluded, the Atkins Diet is so
"seriously deficient" in nutrition that "there is real
danger of malnutrition in the long term."270

Where might then one get one's vitamins on the Atkins
Diet? From the Atkins website, of course, on sale now for
just over $640 a year.271 Add some antioxidants and the
tab is up to $1000.272 That is of course in addition to
the estimated $400273-$1400274 the pricey Atkins
food--meat and cheese--costs every month (unless one
chooses to live off hot dogs).

Realizing his diet is so deficient in nutrients, Atkins
prescribed no less than 65 nutritional supplements in
part to help fill the nutritional gaps created by his
diet.275 A "proper Atkins Dieter" Atkins wrote, "follows
the entire program, including the supplements."276 In his
last edition Atkins even had a chapter entitled
"Nutritional Supplements: Don't Even Think of Getting
Along Without Them."277 Perhaps this is because his
corporation sells them.

"Who needs orange juice," Atkins wrote, "when a Vitamin C
tablet is so handy?"278 Oranges, of course, contain much
more than vitamin C. As Sue Radd, a world leader on
phytonutrient research, put it "There's not one vitamin
pill in the world that can give you everything you
need."279 A review in the Cleveland Clinic Journal of
Medicine agreed that the Atkins Diet is "deficient in
nutrients that cannot be replaced by supplements and are
excessive in nutrients that may increase the risk of
mortality and chronic disease."280

Responding to the criticism that the Atkins Diet was
deficient in fruits and vegetables, Atkins-funded
researchers responded that people in Atkins could include
a limited quantity of some vegetables "and even small
amounts of fruit." Even during later, more liberal phases
of the diet, though, Atkins warned readers that eating
fruit will "always be somewhat risky." The Atkins
researchers continued, "It would be prudent to take a
multivitamin/mineral supplement."281 A low carb diet is a
low nutrition diet.

Cancer

Atkins followers also risk cancer. Studies at Harvard and
elsewhere involving tens of thousands of women and men
have shown that, for example, regular meat consumption
increases colon cancer risk as much as 300
percent.282,283 As one Harvard School of Public health
researcher noted, because of the meat content, two years
on the Atkins Diet "could initiate a cancer. It could
show up as a polyp in 7 years and as colon cancer in
ten."284

It's tragically ironic that after McDonald's CEO
apparently dropped dead of a heart attack in 2004, their
new CEO was in the operating room with colo-rectal cancer
only 16 days later.285

Women with the highest intake of animal fat seem to have
over a 75% greater risk of developing breast cancer.286
The American Cancer Society has officially condemned
diets high in animal grease, concluding "a low carb diet
can be a high-risk option when it comes to health."287

Kidney "Scarring"

Atkins followers also risk kidney damage.288 Like his
advice for pregnant women, Atkins once wrote "The diet is
safe for people even if there is a mild kidney
malfunction."289 We now know this to be false.

In a press release entitled "American Kidney Fund Warns
About Impact of High-Protein Diets on Kidney Health,"
Chair of Medical Affairs, Paul W. Crawford, M.D., wrote,
"We have long suspected that high-protein weight loss
diets could have a negative impact on the kidneys, and
now we have research to support our suspicions." Dr.
Crawford is worried that the strain put on the kidneys
could result in irreversible "scarring in the
kidneys."290

Three months later, the newest edition of the New Diet
Revolution was released in which Dr. Atkins stated: "Too
many people believe this untruth [that too much protein
is bad for your kidneys] simply because it is repeated so
often that even intelligent health professionals assume
it must have been reported somewhere. But the fact is
that it has never been reported anywhere. I have yet to
see someone produce a study for me to review..."291

Although evidence that such diets could be risky for
one's kidneys existed years before he made that
statement,292 the definitive study showing just how
dangerous his diet could be to a dieter's kidneys was
published a month before Atkins died. The Harvard Nurse's
Study proved that high meat protein intake was associated
with an accelerated decline in kidney function in women
with mild kidney insufficiency.293 The problem is that
millions of Americans--as many as one in four adults in
the United States--seem to already have reduced kidney
function, but may not know it, and would potentially be
harmed by high meat diets like Atkins.294 And the
"excessive" amount of protein which furthered kidney
damage in the women in the Nurses Study is only about
half of what one might expect to get on the Atkins
Diet.295

The American Academy of Family Physicians notes that high
animal protein intake is also largely responsible for the
high prevalence of kidney stones in the United States.
Kidney stones can cause severe pain, urinary obstruction,
and kidney damage. Plant protein did not seem to have a
harmful effect.296

American Kidney Fund's Dr. Crawford concluded, "Chronic
kidney disease is not to be taken lightly, and there is
no cure for kidney failure. The only treatments are
kidney dialysis and kidney transplantation. This research
shows that even in healthy athletes, kidney function was
impacted and that ought to send a message to anyone who
is on a high-protein weight loss diet."297

Peeing Your Bones Down the Toilet

A 2003 review of the safety of low carbohydrate diets
reeled off an alarming list of potential problems:
"Complications such as heart arrhythmias, cardiac
contractile function impairment, sudden death,
osteoporosis, kidney damage, increased cancer risk,
impairment of physical activity and lipid [cholesterol]
abnormalities can all be linked to long-term restriction
of carbohydrates in the diet."298

There is a particular concern that children who go on the
Atkins Diet might suffer permanent physical and mental
damage as a result of starving their bodies of critical
nutrients. As one U.S. child nutrition specialist
explained, "The effect can be to dull the mind, stunt
growth, and soften bones...I wouldn't want to risk it by
putting my child on a low carbohydrate diet."299

The concern with bone health arises from the fact that
muscle protein has a high sulphur content. When people
eat too much of this meat protein, the sulphur forms acid
within our bodies which must somehow be neutralized to
maintain proper internal pH balance. One way our bodies
can buffer the sulphuric acid load caused by meat is with
calcium borrowed from our bones. People on high meat
diets can lose so much calcium in the urine that it can
actually solidify into kidney stones.300 Over time, high
animal protein intakes may leach enough calcium from the
bones to increase one's risk of osteoporosis. People may
be peeing their bones into the toilet along with the
ketones.

The Harvard Nurse's study, which followed over 85,000
nurses for a dozen years, found that those who ate more
animal protein had a significantly increased risk of
forearm fracture. While plant-based proteins did not show
a deleterious effect, women eating just a serving of red
meat a day seemed to have significantly increased
fracture risk.301 Other studies have linked meat
consumption to hip fracture risk as well.302

Although Atkins conceded, "kidney stones are a
conceivable complication,"303 Atkins dismissed any
assertion that his diet might endanger bone health.
Researchers decided to test his claim directly.

In 2002, researchers from the Universities of Chicago and
Texas published a study that put people on the Atkins
Diet and measured 1) how acidic their urine got and 2)
just how much calcium they were losing in their urine.
They reported that the Atkins Diet resulted in a
"striking increase in net acid excretion." After just two
weeks on the Atkins Diet, the subjects were already
losing 258mg of calcium in their urine every day. They
concluded that the Atkins Diet "provides an exaggerated
acid load, increasing risks for renal calculi [kidney
stone] formation and bone loss."304 In addition, the
Atkins Diet is actually deficient in calcium in the first
place--even if one includes his 65 supplements.305 Luckily
there's a 66th, available on his website.306

"Eaters of Raw Flesh"

We don't have any long-term published data on the bone
health of Atkins followers (or any other health parameter
for that matter). One might look to the Inuit peoples--the
so-called "Eskimos"--for hints, though. (The word Eskimo
comes from the word Eskimaux--"eaters of raw flesh.")307
They seem to be the only population on Earth
approximating the Atkins Diet, living largely off Atkins
dream foods like blubber.

Despite having some of the highest calcium intakes in the
world, the Inuit also have some of the worst rates of
osteoporosis.308 Although calcium intakes vary widely,
people in some villages get over 2500mg a day, almost 5
times what most Americans get, due to their eating many
of their fish whole, bones and all.309 So for example, in
one of their recipes for "Ice Cream," although the "2
cups moose grease" the recipe calls for is not high in
calcium, the "1 dressed pike" added to the recipe gives
the Atkins-friendly dessert a respectable 130mg of
calcium per serving.310 The "unusually rapid bone loss"
found in every study ever published on Inuit bone health
is blamed on the "acidic effect of a meat
diet."311,312,313,314,315

While the near-Akins level of animal protein intake seems
to be dissolving their bones, due to the near-Atkins
level of animal fat intake, the Inuit women have some of
the highest levels in the world of PCBs in their breast
milk. Their blood is swimming with mercury and other
toxic heavy metals. "They're at the top of the food
chain," says Dr. Russel Shearer, an environmental
physical scientist with the Canadian Department of Indian
Affairs and Northern Development, and therefore
"accumulate the highest levels of these contaminants."316
In the last edition of his book, Atkins did finally
acknowledge the threat posed by the industrial pollutants
in animal foods and urged his followers to choose organic
free-range meat.317

Atkins Distorted His Record on Cholesterol

Although ketogenic diets have caused a number of "serious
potentially-life-threatening complications,"318 perhaps
the greatest danger of the Atkins Diet, according to the
American Medical Association, lies in the heart.

Atkins claimed a worsening of cholesterol levels
typically only occurs "when carbohydrates are a large
part of the diet."319 We've known this to be false since
1929 when the Institute of American Meatpackers paid to
see what would happen if people lived on an all-meat
diet. The blood plasma of the unfortunate subjects was so
filled with fat it "showed a milkiness" and one of the
subject's cholesterol shot up to 800!320

Atkins revelations like "Reverse heart disease with filet
mignon!"321 notwithstanding, in the head-to-head
comparisons of the four popular weight-loss diets,
Ornish's vegetarian diet was the only one that showed a
significant decrease in LDL levels--the so-called "bad"
cholesterol. Even researchers paid by Atkins concede that
high saturated fat diets like Atkins tend to increase LDL
cholesterol.322 They have to concede the truth, though,
since they publish their work in peer-reviewed scientific
journals. Dr. Atkins, though, died without ever
publishing a single paper in any scientific journal about
anything, and thus had more freedom to bend the truth.

"The truth," Atkins wrote, "is that every one of a score
of studies on [very low carb diets] showed a significant
improvement in cholesterol." He accused those who say
otherwise of simply not doing their homework. Any claim
that cholesterol doesn't significantly improve in "every
one of scores of studies" is, he wrote in the last
edition, "one of the many examples of untruths being
perpetrated because the accusers don't bother to read the
scientific literature."323 Of course he then goes on to
recommend no less than 17 supplements for the "prevention
of cholesterol elevations" on his diet.324

But what about his claim that "every one of a score of
studies showed a significant improvement in cholesterol."
When the AMA and the American Heart Association question
this "fact," is it just because they "don't bother to
read the scientific literature?" That statement of his,
in the latest edition of his book, presents a clear
opportunity to test the veracity of his claims. And the
actual truth is almost the exact opposite.

Unfortunately, Dr. Atkins didn't include citations to
back up his "score of studies" statement. In fact, when
pressed for a list of citations in general, Dr. Atkins
told an interviewer that "It and the papers I quoted were
in a briefcase I lost some time ago."325 Researchers have
located about a dozen studies, though, that measured the
effects of low carb diets on cholesterol levels. Did they
all "show a significant improvement in cholesterol?" No.
In fact, seemingly with only one exception, every single
controlled study showed just the opposite--LDL cholesterol
either stagnated or was elevated by a low carb diet, even
in those that showed weight
loss.326,327,328,329,330,331,332,333,334,335,336,3 37,338
,339

During active weight loss--any kind of weight loss
(whether from chemotherapy, cocaine use, tuberculosis or
the Atkins Diet) cholesterol synthesis temporarily
decreases340 and LDL cholesterol levels should go
down.341 Yet, with all the saturated animal fat in the
Atkins Diet tending to instead push levels up, in most
studies the bad cholesterol doesn't fall like it should
have. The saturated fat in effect cancelled the benefit
one would expect while losing weight. And what happens
when people on the Atkins Diet stop losing weight? People
can't lose weight forever (Stephen King novels aside).
The fear is that their LDL cholesterol level might then
shoot through the roof.342,343

Sometimes even during the active weight loss, however,
LDL cholesterol levels became elevated on the Atkins
Diet. One study on women, for example, showed that just
two weeks on the Atkins Diet significantly elevated
average LDL levels over 15%.344 In a trial of men on the
Atkins Diet, even though they lost an average of 17
pounds after 3 months, their LDL cholesterol jumped
almost 20%.

The May 2004 Annals of Internal Medicine study showed
that a third of Atkins Dieters suffered a significant
increase in LDL cholesterol. The goal is to have a double
digit LDL--an LDL under 100 (mg/dl).345 In the study one
person's LDL shot from an unhealthy 184 to a positively
frightening 283 (which means their total cholesterol was
probably somewhere over 350).346 With so many people on
these diets, that could mean Atkins is endangering the
health of millions of Americans.347 LDL cholesterol is,
after all, one of the most important risk factors for
heart disease, the number one killer in the United States
for both men and women.348

In another clinical trial, despite statistically
significant weight loss reported in the Atkins group,
every single cardiac risk factor measured worsened after
a year on the Atkins Diet (measures included LDL,
triglycerides, total cholesterol, HDL, total-to-HDL
cholesterol ratio, homocysteine, Lp(a), and fibrinogen).
While the LDL in the Atkins group increased 6%, the LDL
cholesterol levels in the whole-foods vegetarian group
was cut in half--dropping 52%. When the pro-Atkins
journalist who wrote the misleading New York Times
Magazine piece was confronted as to why he didn't include
the results of this landmark study, which directly
contradicted what he wrote in the article, all he could
do was to accuse the researchers of just making the data
up.349

It's interesting to note that the one exception of a
published study of the Atkins Diet showing a significant
LDL lowering had no control group, put subjects on
cholesterol-lowering supplements and was funded by the
Atkins corporation itself. Even in that study though, the
drop was modest--only a 7% drop (compared, for example, to
the 52% drop on the vegetarian diet)--and didn't include
two subjects who quit because their cholesterol levels
went out of control.350

Yet studies like this have been heralded as a vindication
of the Atkins Diet by the mainstream media.351 As
journalist Michael Fumento, co-author of Fat of the Land,
pointed out, "How peculiar when the most you can say for
the best-selling fad-diet book of all time is that it
probably doesn't kill people."352 To which I might add,
"in the short-term." Based on an analysis of the Atkins
Diet, long-term use of the Atkins Diet is expected to
raise coronary heart disease risk by over 50%.353 "The
late Dr. A," Fumento quips, "still gets an F."354

Less often reported in the media is the fact that one of
the research subjects placed on the Atkins Diet in the
2003 "vindication" study was hospitalized with chest pain
and another died.355 Similarly, in the widely publicized
May 2004 study, less widely publicized was the fact that
two people in the low carb-diet arm of the study couldn't
complete the study because they died. One slipped into a
coma; the other dropped dead from heart disease.356 As
the Director of Nutrition at the Harvard School of
Medicine has written, "there is still much danger in the
widespread fad enthusiasm for these diets."357

The Atkins corporation boasts of the supposed ability of
the Atkins Diet to significantly raise the level of HDL,
or "good" cholesterol in a consistent manner.358 HDL
transports cholesterol out of one's arteries to the liver
for disposal or recycling. Only a minority of controlled
studies on Atkins-like diets, however, have shown such an
effect,359,360,361,362,363,364,365,366,367,368,369 ,370
,371,372 but more importantly, the type of HDL increase
seen sometimes on the Atkins Diet isn't necessarily
healthful.373 When one eats more garbage (saturated fat
and cholesterol) one may need more metabolic garbage
trucks (like HDL) to get rid of it. Eating a stick of
butter may raise one's HDL, but that doesn't mean chewing
one down is good for one's heart. In any case,
significantly lowering one's LDL seems more important
than significantly raising one's HDL,374 though the
studies done on low carb diets typically show neither.

Because of these "well-known hazards," the Chair of the
Nutrition Department at Harvard when Atkins' book was
originally published warned physicians that recommending
the Atkins diet "borders on malpractice."375

The Proof is in the SPECT Scan

Until the year 2000, all anyone had to evaluate the
impact of the Atkins Diet on the heart was changes in
cardiac risk factors like cholesterol. But then a
landmark study was published which, for the first and
only time, actually measured what was happening to
peoples' arteries on this kind of diet. The results were
shocking.

Richard Fleming, MD, an accomplished nuclear
cardiologist, enrolled 26 people into a comprehensive
study of the effects of diet on cardiac function. Using
echocardiograms, he could visualize the pumping motion of
the heart, and with the latest in nuclear imaging
technology--so-called SPECT scans--he was able to actually
directly measure the blood flow within the coronary
arteries, the blood vessels that bring blood to the heart
muscle and allow it to pump. It is when one of these
coronary arteries gets blocked that people have a heart
attack.

Fleming then put them all on a low saturated fat, high
carbohydrate diet--the kind that has been proven to not
just stop heart disease, but to in some cases actually
reverse it, to open up the arteries.376 A year later the
echocardiograms and SPECT scans were repeated. By that
time, though, 10 of his patients had, unbeknownst to him,
jumped on the low carb bandwagon. All of a sudden, Dr.
Fleming had an unparalleled research opportunity dropped
in his lap. Here he had extensive imaging of 10 people
following a low carb diet and 16 following a high carb
diet. What would their hearts look like at the end of the
year? We can talk about risk factors all we want, but
compared to the high carb group, did the coronary heart
disease of the patients following the Atkins Diet
improve, worsen, or stay the same?

Those sticking to the whole-foods vegetarian diet showed
a reversal of their heart disease as expected. Their
partially clogged arteries literally got cleaned out, and
blood flow to their hearts through their coronary
arteries increased 40%. What happened to those who
abandoned the high carb diet, though, and switched over
to the Atkins Diet and started chowing down on bunless
cheeseburgers? Their condition significantly worsened.
All that saturated fat and cholesterol in their diet
clogged their arteries further--the blood flow to their
hearts was cut 40%. The only study on the Atkins Diet to
actually measure arterial blood flow showed widespread
acceptance of a high saturated fat diet like Atkins could
be heralding a future epidemic of fatal heart attacks.
Validation that "If you were trying to damage your
heart," wrote the Center for Science in the Public
Interest, "you couldn't do much better than to eat a
cheeseburger."377 Maybe filet mignon doesn't work after
all.

The blood flow scans have been posted online so people
can see the evidence for themselves:

http://my.webmd.com/content/pages/1/3075_903

"We worry about this," explains Dr. James W. Anderson,
Professor of Medicine and Clinical Nutrition at the
University of Kentucky School of Medicine, "because many
of the people who love these diets are men aged 40 to 50,
who like their meat. They may be 5 years from their first
heart attack. This couldn't be worse for them. Did you
know that for 50% of men who die from heart attacks, the
fatal attack is their first symptom? They will never know
what this diet is doing to them."378

Emerging evidence also suggests that ketogenic diets may
"create metabolic derangement conducive to cardiac
conduction abnormalities and/or myocardial
dysfunction"--in other words cause other potentially life-
threatening heart problems as well. Ketogenic diets may
cause a pathological enlargement of the heart called
cardiomyopathy, which is reversible, if the diet is
stopped in time.379 The Atkins corporation denies that
Dr. Atkins' own cardiomyopathy induced-heart attack,
hypertension, and blocked arteries had anything to do
with his diet.380

Saturated Fat and Cholesterol Are Bad for You

The Atkins Diet restricts foods that prevent disease and
promotes foods that promote disease.381 No matter what
Atkins or other diet books tell people, the balance of
evidence clearly shows that the intake of saturated
animal fat is associated with increased risk of
cancer,382,383 diabetes, and heart disease.384 For over
40 years medical reviews have also shown the detrimental
impact of dietary cholesterol consumption.385 Even
independent of the effects on obesity, meat consumption
itself has been related to an increased risk of coronary
heart disease386

The best dietary strategy to reduce one's risk of dying
from the number 1 killer in the U.S. is to reduce one's
consumption of saturated fat and cholesterol. The
evidence backing this, according to the American Heart
Association, is "overwhelming."387

Decreasing America's intake of saturated animal fat is
the primary reason why Johns Hopkins, supported by 28
other public health schools, launched the Meatless
Mondays campaign trying to get Americans to cut meat out
of their diet at least one day out of the week.388 Dr.
Jean Mayer, one of the most noted nutrition figures in
history-- author of over 750 scientific articles,
President of Tufts University, recipient of 16 honorary
degrees--warned those going on "this faddish high-
saturated-fat high-cholesterol [Atkins] diet" that they
may be "playing Russian roulette with your heart and with
your blood vessels."389 "The Council," wrote the American
Medical Association in their official critique of the
Atkins Diet, "is deeply concerned about any diet that
advocates an 'unlimited' intake of saturated fats and
cholesterol-rich foods."390

In return, Atkins accused the American Medical
Association of being in the pockets of carbohydrate
manufacturers. "If you look at the financial records of
the AMA and the Harvard School of Nutrition," said Atkins
in an interview, "and see the list of their benefactors,
advertisers, and endowers you'll see why they insist on
our eating carbohydrates." 391

Interestingly, the Atkins corporation seems like it's
already backpedaling. A front page article in the New
York Times revealed that the Atkins corporation was
quietly telling people to restrict their bacon and butter
intake, urging people to keep saturated fat intake under
20% of calories,392 Of course it seems every major health
organization on the planet recommends less than half
that, but it does show at least that Atkins Inc. may be
recognizing the dangers of their diet.393

The Atkins corporation claimed that their saturated fat
guideline was nothing new and that Atkins never said
people could eat as much meat as they wanted. They blamed
the media for just misconstruing the Atkins Diet as an
eat-as-much-meat-as-you-want diet.394 Really? Atkins
wrote, "There is no limit to the amount of... [any kind of
meat in any quantity] you can eat... You eat as much as you
want, as often as you want" (emphasis in original.)395 In
fact he specifically boasts that his diet "Sets no limit
on the amount of food you can eat."396 Maybe the media
got it right.

The Director of Research and Education at Atkins
Nutritionals claims that "Saturated fat isn't as much of
an issue when carbohydrates are controlled; it's only
dangerous in excess when carbs are high." Dr. Frank M.
Sacks, a professor of cardiovascular disease prevention
at the Harvard School of Public Health, scoffed at such a
claim. "What they are saying is ridiculous," he said. The
revision to 20% saturated fat, he added, "has nothing to
do with science; it has to do with public relations and
politics."397

Closing Off His Heart to the Atkins Diet

One can still go to the Atkins website, though, and read
how innocuous saturated fat is. One reader asks, "Is it
OK for me to consume more than 20% of my calories in the
form of saturated fat?" The answer given is
"Absolutely."398

With this kind of advice, 53-year-old businessman Jody
Gorran stayed on the Atkins Diet, and continued to
recommend it to his friends even though his cholesterol
had shot up 50%. Before starting the Atkins Diet, his
cholesterol was excellent, he had no history of heart
disease, and an unrelated CT scan showed that his
coronary arteries were clean.399

For Jody Gorran it took two years on the Atkins Diet
before the crushing chest pain started. By then one of
his coronary arteries was 99% blocked and his heart
function was suffering for it. An immediate cardiac
catheterization and stent placement may well have saved
his life. In the opinion of his cardiologist, Gorran
might well have otherwise had a massive heart attack and
died within a short period of time. Mr. Gorran is now
suing the Atkins corporation, alleging that they "knew,
or should have known," that what they were saying about
their diet and heart disease risk were false. He is
trying to get the corporation to include warning labels
on its books, website, and products that a low
carbohydrate diet "may be hazardous to your health--check
with your physician."400

This is not the first time Atkins was sued. When the book
first came out, a million dollar class action suit was
brought against Atkins and his publisher to recover
medical expenses incurred by the diet's side effects.401
A Brooklyn Assemblyman on Atkins who nearly died after a
heart attack sued Atkins and the publisher for publishing
the book "without regard to the safety, truth or accuracy
if the statements contained in the book."402 As revealed
in the book Nutrition Cultism, on three separate
occasions Atkins was sued and the cases were settled out
of court in favor of the plaintiffs.403

"The point is," Gorran said in an NBC News interview,
"Dr. Atkins lied to the public. He didn't care. For his
ego or for corporate greed, that's what this thing's
about."404 "A successful diet has to be more than simply
losing weight" Gorran said on Good Morning America, "A
successful diet should not kill you."405

Rachel

Most people aren't able to remain on the Atkins Diet long
enough to develop osteoporosis, kidney damage or
hardening of the arteries. Sixteen year-old high school
student Rachel Elizabeth Huskey only lasted seven weeks.

Rachel had a crush on a boy in her church. So she started
the Atkins Diet to lose weight. In part because she was
so nauseated on the diet, she lost 16 pounds. She was
hoping being thinner would make her more popular at
school. After a brief carbohydrate relapse, she restarted
it again "very strictly"406 but could only stick with it
this time for 9 days

In history class, amidst cheering fellow students for
acing a tough question, she collapsed without warning.
And then she died. Frenzied attempts to resuscitate her
failed.407 Her doctors blame the Atkins Diet.

The kidney uses minerals like potassium and calcium to
help rid one's body of toxins like ketones. People on the
Atkins Diet are urinating these minerals away. And
critically low levels in the blood of these electrolytes
can lead to fatal cardiac arrhythmias--lethal heart
rhythms. Rachel was on the Atkins Diet and was found on
autopsy to have critically low blood levels of both
potassium and calcium and she died of a cardiac
arrhythmia. Rachel was previously in good health and had
no history of any medical problems.

After ruling out other potential causes, the medical team
of child health specialists that investigated her death
couldn't help but conclude in their published report,
"Sudden Cardiac Death of an Adolescent During Dieting,"
that the Atkins Diet was the most likely cause of her
death.

The chief executive of the Atkins corporation denied
there was a link between the diet and Rachel's death, but
implied she should have consulted her doctor before
starting the diet.408 In fact, concern over just such an
event led the Director of the Nutrition Department at the
esteemed Cleveland Clinic to declare that for people on
the Atkins Diet, "Careful monitoring of electrolytes is
absolutely essential..." Those who aren't professionally
monitored on this kind of diet "are at the greatest risk
for dangerous complications."409

Dr. Paul Robinson, the Director of Adolescent Medicine at
the University of Missouri involved in the investigation
of Rachel's death, is afraid that "we're having lots of
near misses that we don't know about."410 "You wonder,"
he said, "whether there are other people dying and we
don't know about it."411

One would think a teenager collapsing and dying after
just 9 days on the diet might have ruined people's
appetite for Atkins, but her death was hardly reported in
the American press. When her parents held a press
conference to tell their story for the first time and
warn others that Atkins "killed our little girl,"412 it
was reported in London, Scotland, New Zealand, Australia
and South Africa. But out of the 34 reports that made it
into the papers around the world about this Missouri
teen, only 3 appeared in the U.S.413 Despite repeated
warnings from the American Heart Association, enthusiasm
for the Atkins Diet did not seem to wane.

While tending her daughter's immaculately-kept grave,
Rachel's mom told a reporter her thoughts on the diet: "I
want people to know you can actually die doing something
as stupid as this."414

Down on Atkins Down Under

Australia seems to be the only nation in which action is
actually being taken at a State level. The Victorian
Health Minister, supported by the Australian Heart
Foundation and the Australian Medical Association, issued
a warning to alert people to the dangers of the Atkins
Diet and other high-fat fad diets.415 The government is
warning the public about the potential short-term
effects--constipation, dehydration, bad breath, low energy
and poor concentration--and potential long-term effects
such as the increased likelihood of cancer, heart
disease, depression, and osteoporosis. "When we know
something is bad for people, like smoking," the health
minister explained, "then we let people know what the
health risks are."416

Initially, the government will distribute educational
materials in doctors' waiting rooms, gyms and
universities, probably followed by advertising in bus
shelters and in the media.417 Australia's chief physician
urged all governments to follow suit.418

The Atkins empire said that this was the first government
to launch a public health campaign against them. The
British government did issue a warning against low
carbohydrate diets, saying they were "bad for your
health" though it didn't specifically name Atkins.419 The
"US Federal Government officials," Atkins corporate
representatives said, "had a much more positive
response..."420 Perhaps "low carb" foods aren't a $30
billion dollar business down under.

Only Under Monthly Clinical Supervision

In a medical journal article entitled "Bizarre and
Unusual Diets" the authors warn that the Atkins Diet had
such questionable safety that it should "only be followed
under medical supervision."421 But what do doctors know
about nutrition? Even though the United States Congress
mandated that nutrition become an integrated component of
medical education,422 as of 2004, less than half of all
U.S. medical schools have a single mandatory course in
nutrition.423 That explains the results of a study
published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition
that pitted doctors against patients head-to-head in a
test of basic nutrition knowledge. The patients won.424
People off the street seem to know more about nutrition
than their doctors.

Doctors can monitor for adverse effects, though. "The
Atkins program falls short in insufficiently warning
dieters," another review of popular weight loss diets
warns, so that they "need to be monitored by a physician
to ensure his or her safety."425 According to the Chair
of the Nutrition Department at Harvard Medical School,
people on Atkins "should be monitored for orthostatic
hypotension... dizziness, headaches, fatigue, irritability,
gout and kidney failure." And laboratory work should
include "blood tests (glucose, blood urea nitrogen,
sodium, potassium, chloride, and bicarbonate), urinalysis
(specific gravity, pH, protein, and acetone) and a lipid
profile. Vital signs... should be monitored at least
monthly during a low carbohydrate weight-loss
program."426

I suppose the expense of monthly visits would be in
addition to the $10,000-$20,000 the food and supplements
are estimated to cost every year.427,428,429,430

THE SAFER ALTERNATIVE

Where Atkins Deserved Credit

Once, when Dr. Ornish was being interviewed on Dateline
NBC, his interviewer swore that he had lost 50 pounds on
an Atkins Diet, ate a steak every day and felt great. He
asked Ornish "How bad could it be?" When Ornish turned
the tables and questioned the host, it came out that,
before going on Atkins, the guy seemed to be living off
french fries, fried onion rings, cheesecake, and at least
five soft drinks per day, everyday. He had since cut all
those out and started exercising religiously. Ornish
pointed out that the reason he's now feeling better was
probably in spite of the steak, not because of it.431

While Atkins used to tell people to eat unlimited
quantities of hydrogenated shortening like Crisco,432
thankfully he flip-flopped and now warns about the
"dangers of trans fats." Just cutting out deep fried
foods (most often fried in 100% vegetable--and 100%
hydrogenated--oil) from one's diet should alone improve
one's cholesterol profile. Atkins also encouraged
everyone to cut out caffeine, eat more heart-healthy nuts
and omega-3 fatty acids and does consider daily exercise
a critical "non-negotiable" component to his plan.433

Anyone completely cutting out sugary soda, pastries, ice
cream, cookies, cake, candy, kids' cereals, and
Snackwells is probably going to feel better. But does one
need a 300-page diet book to tell us that? Anything that
can give Krispy Kreme's corporate profits that glazed
look434 is a good thing for America's health.

For those who don't remember, Snackwells were Nabisco's
line of low-fat and fat-free junk food that went from
zero to a billion dollars in revenues in four short
years, in effect becoming America's most popular cookie.
When Snackwells' fat-free Devil's Food Cookie Cakes first
appeared, demand was so high that Nabisco had to ration
them out to stores and fights broke out, forcing store
managers to keep boxes of the cookie under lock and
key.435

People were mistaking low-fat for low-calorie. The
intention of the government's recommendation to cut down
on fat was to get people to cut down on items like meat
and switch to foods that are naturally low in fat--like
beans, whole grains, fruits and vegetables. These don't
have much of a profit margin, though, so the food
industry took advantage of the new guidelines to market
low-fat junk food like Snackwells cookies, swapping fat
for sugar. Each cookie was basically just white flour, no
fiber and two spoonfuls of sugar. Even bags of jellybeans
started boasting "fat-free." A similar phenomenon is now
happening with low carb junk food. A new Atkins-friendly
ice cream, for example, has almost twice the calories of
regular ice cream (and of course twice the fat).436 "It's
Snackwells all over again," noted one WebMD Medical News
article.437 Junk food--low fat or low carb--is still junk
food

People also may feel better on the Atkins Diet because he
tells people to stop drinking cow's milk. Even the
National Dairy Council admits438 that literally most
people on the planet are lactose intolerant (and may not
even know it).439 That change alone should make a segment
of the people trying Atkins feel better. Other easy born-
again Atkins converts might be those with an actual dairy
allergy or the one out of every few hundred Americans who
is allergic to wheat.440

Even at his strictest, Atkins "allowed" two small salads
a day. Although they can only be a cup of "loosely"
packed greens each, that's sadly more salad than many
non-Atkins Americans may get. Then again, of course,
Atkins' "spinach salad" recipe calls for an entire pound
of bacon and 5 eggs. No croutons, of course--"use crumbled
fried pork rinds instead."441

Atkins even recommended eating one's greens organic,
dark, and leafy,442 although the word "kale" does not
seem to frequent the book sleeve. Unfortunately people
may ignore the few reasonable suggestions that Atkins
made, and just use his low carb phenomenon as an excuse
to eat whatever they want.

The Answers are No and No

There seem to be two Atkins Diets: one that he describes
in his books (particularly in later editions), and the
one the public thinks he describes in his books. How many
Atkins Dieters, for example, only eat free-range organic
bacon? This may be one of the reasons why we haven't seen
even higher rates of serious side effects--so few people
may be actually following the diet.

A recent study of 11,000 people found that only one in
four of those claiming to be on a low carb diet were
actually significantly cutting carbs at all.443 Another
survey, commissioned by former Surgeon General C. Everett
Koop's organization Shape Up America!, found that most
people claiming to be on Atkins, or another of the low
carb fad diets, didn't seem to even know where carbs were
found.444 Most didn't know, for example, that tomatoes
were high in carbs. Thankfully, about half of them didn't
know apples had a lot of carbs, and 1 in 6 even thought
steak was a carbohydrate.445 Thankfully most people on
Atkins are actually not on Atkins.

Despite the softening of his stance on whole grains and
many vegetables, Atkins still made saturated fat-laden
meat and dairy the centerpiece of his diet. The Atkins
Diet therefore remains dangerous even when "used as
directed."

Isn't it possible to do the Atkins Diet healthfully,
though? Isn't there some way to modify it to make if
safer? Those exact questions were asked of the editors at
the Tufts University Health and Nutrition Letter by one
of the University's Vice Presidents.

After trying their best, the editorial staff at the Tufts
Letter couldn't help but conclude, "So, as to whether
it's possible to follow the Atkins Diet healthfully or
tweak it to make it safe and healthful, the answers are
no and no"(emphasis in original).446

Too Good to Be True

What kind of diet can cause birth defects? Or blindness?
Or requires 65 supplements? Or monthly medical checkups,
where the monitoring of electrolytes is considered
"absolutely essential?" Is it too much to ask that one's
diet facilitate instead of debilitate physical activity?
(Here in Boston there has yet to be a night of pork-rind
loading before the Marathon.) What kind of diet may
require prescriptions to deal with the side effects? What
kind of diet has side effects at all?

Rational people go on irrational diets because "they're
desperate," says Kelly Brownell, Director of Yale
University's Center for Eating and Weight Disorders. "If
you're a person with an overweight body living in a thin-
obsessed world... something that offers a miracle is highly
attractive."447

The Director of Nutrition at the Center for Science in
the Public Interest is dumbfounded that the high-fat
regimes have caught on. "With all the evidence that
saturated fat promotes heart disease, it's almost
unbelievable to me that people could successfully tell
people to eat bacon, eggs, ground beef, cheese and
cream," she says. "It really shows that people care more
about how they look than how healthy they are."448

Obesity shouldn't be a cosmetic or moral issue, but it
does remain a health issue. Obesity, as defined by the
Institute of Medicine, is "an important chronic
degenerative disease that debilitates individuals and
kills prematurely."449 Obesity continues to contribute to
hundreds of thousands of deaths in the U.S. every
year.450,451,452,453 Losing weight is important, but the
goal should be to lose weight in a way that enhances
health rather than in ways that may harm it. People also
use cocaine, amphetamines and tobacco to control their
weight--not health promoting solutions to the problem.

The Consumer Guide concluded that the Atkins Diet "owes
its appeal, like pornography, to the naughtiness of the
approach, to the titillation we all feel in doing
something which we think is not right."454 Diet gurus
like Atkins--the "bad boy of diets"455--gave "his readers
what they wanted to hear," says James Hill, Director of
the University of Colorado Center for Human Nutrition.
Asks one Atkins disciple: "Who wouldn't like a diet that
allows fried eggs and bacon and all the steak you can
eat?"456 "But what people want to hear," Dr. Hill adds,
"is killing them."457

Atkins is Based on a Half-Truth

Despite U.S. attempts to stall458 and sabotage459 the
World Health Organization's report on diet (as they tried
to do with tobacco),460 in May 2004 the WHO Global
Strategy on Diet, Physical Activity and Health was
unanimously endorsed by all 192 Member States of the
United Nations. The report blames the growing pandemic of
global chronic disease in part on "greater saturated fat
intake (mostly from animal sources), reduced intakes of
complex carbohydrates and dietary fiber, and reduced
fruit and vegetable intakes," in other words, they blame
the global epidemic of obesity, cancer, heart disease and
diabetes on exactly the kind of diet Atkins' books
recommend. As the Harvard Health Letter put simply, the
Atkins Diet "is not a healthy way to eat."461 The World
Health Organization is calling for limiting the
consumption of saturated animal fats462 and "increasing
the consumption of fruits, vegetables, legumes [beans,
peas and lentils], whole grains and nuts."463

The evidence to support their position is
"overwhelming."464 After 11 years following 11,000
people, for example, researchers found that eating whole
grains may help people live longer. That did not seem to
be the case for refined grains, though.465 And the Atkins
Diet is based on that half-truth.

Atkins was right in going "against the grain" in the case
of refined carbohydrates like white flour and sugar. But
he was wrong to restrict good carbs--the carbs found in
whole unrefined foods--like the WHO's "fruits, vegetables,
legumes, whole grains and nuts." A bunless burger is not
the answer to a fat-free doughnut.

Just because jellybeans and Wonder Bread are not health-
promoting foods does not mean one has to switch to pork
rinds and bacon. Let's not throw the wheat germ out with
the wheat.

You Can Have Your Carbs and Eat Them Too

What evidence do we have that "good" carbs are good?
Every single long-term prospective cohort study ever
performed on the foods that the Atkins Diet
restricts--fruits, vegetables, nuts and whole grains--show
that they protect people from the nations' biggest
killer: heart disease.466 Harvard studied 75,000 women
for a decade and the results suggest that the more whole
grains people eat--like brown rice and whole wheat
bread--the lower their risk of having a heart attack.467
Harvard studied 40,000 men for a decade and suggested
that eating whole grains may cut one's risk of developing
diabetes by more than half.468 The only thing wrong with
whole grains, perhaps, is that they may not sell as many
books.

Atkins seemed to think that fruit was the worst thing
since sliced bread. Fruit consumption alone, however, has
been linked to lower rates of numerous cancers469 and may
reduce heart disease mortality, cancer and even total
mortality.470 The World Health Organization blames low
fruit and vegetable consumption on literally millions of
deaths worldwide.471 Everyone should eat more fruits and
vegetables as if their lives depended on it.

The National Cancer Institute's recommendation is now up
to nine servings of fruits and vegetables every day.
While Atkins preached to restrict fruit and vegetable
intake, what Americans really need is more fruits and
veggies, not less.472

Lose Weight without Losing Your Health--or Your Life

Life-long weight control is a marathon; fad diets are
sold on the 100-yard dash. The UC Berkeley School of
Public Health's #1 rated473 newsletter's "Bottom Line" on
Atkins: "Bottom Line: If you follow the Atkins Diet, you
will lose weight--but it could be dangerous beyond a few
weeks. All fad diets get you to cut down on calories,
usually by limiting the kinds of food you can eat, so of
course you lose weight. Most, like the Atkins Diet, deny
that 'calories count,' but nonetheless trick you into
cutting way down on calories by distracting you with
strange rules and psychological/biochemical babble. As
with all crash diets, keeping the weight off is the hard
part. Virtually all crash dieters eventually gain the
weight back, unless they learn the basics of healthy
eating, which crash diets do not teach."474 Diets are not
something to be followed for days, weeks, or months. They
should form the basis of everyday food choices for the
rest of one's life.

So what are the "basics of healthy eating?" According to
the American Dietetics Association, "The overwhelming
majority of studies reported to date including both
epidemiological and laboratory approaches, suggest that
eating carbohydrate-rich foods such as vegetables,
fruits, legumes and whole grains, and limiting saturated
fat intake, over a lifetime, is associated with
substantially reduced risk for vascular disease and some
cancers."475 It may be no coincidence that the longest-
living people in the world, even by some accounts
outlasting the Okinawa Japanese,476 are the California
Seventh Day Adventist vegetarians.477

Every study over six months in duration of the Atkins
Diet found that the Atkins Diet failed to significantly
outperform the exact diet Atkins blamed our entire
obesity epidemic on.478 Why not, then, choose a healthier
diet?

Fewer than 20% of Americans trying to lose weight follow
what's considered the optimal diet plan for weight
control, the one most proven to be safe and effective for
losing weight, keeping the weight off and promoting
health--a diet low in saturated animal fats, and high in
fruits, vegetables and high-fiber-containing
carbohydrates like beans and whole grains.479 How
convenient that the most healthful diet also seems to be
the one most successful in controlling one's weight.480

To lose weight, one can cut down on calorie intake by
restricting the amount of food one eats, or one can
transition away from eating junk food--foodstuffs long on
calories but short on nutrition--toward eating food that
is nutrient-dense, but relatively calorie-dilute: foods
like fruits, vegetables, beans and whole grains. One can
add nuts to the list as well, since despite their caloric
density, a 2003 review concluded eating nuts every day
might actually help one maintain or even lose weight.481
People placed on nutrient-dense, calorie-dilute plant-
based diets tend not to complain of hunger, but of having
"too much food."482,483,484

The healthy alternative to the Atkins Diet is not a fat-
free diet, but a fad-free diet. The optimal diet is one
centered around good carbohydrates (unrefined), good fats
(like nuts) and the best sources of protein, which,
according to the Harvard School of Medicine, are "beans,
nuts, grains and other vegetable sources of protein..."485
in other words, by eating a whole-food plant-based diet
one can control one's weight without risking one's
health--or one's life. We don't have to mortgage our
health in order to lose weight.

Conclusion

"Nobody wants to hear this," groaned Dr. James W.
Anderson in an interview. Anderson is a Professor of
Medicine and Clinical Nutrition at the University of
Kentucky School of Medicine. "People lose weight, at
least in the short term. I am not arguing with that. But
this is absolutely the worst diet you could imagine for
long-term obesity, heart disease, and some forms of
cancer. If you wanted to find one diet to ruin your
health, you couldn't find one worse than Atkins'."486

Thankfully, the low carb mania may have peaked. According
to the June 14, 2004 issue of Fortune magazine, data show
that the number of Americans on a low carb diet has
fallen 25% since January. As one Wall Street analyst
explained, "Have you ever tried low carb bread?"487

* Michael Greger, MD, is a graduate of the Cornell
University School of Agriculture and the Tufts University
School of Medicine. Dr. Greger has been publicly speaking
about mad cow disease since 1993. In 1997 he was invited
as an expert witness to defend Oprah Winfrey in the
infamous meat defamation trial. He has contributed to
many books and articles on the subject and continues to
lecture extensively. Dr. Greger can be contacted at 857-
928-2778, or .

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332 Journal of Pediatrics 142(2003):352.

333 New England Journal of Medicine 348(2003):2074.

334 Annals of Internal Medicine 140(2004):778.

335 New England Journal of Medicine 348(2003):2082.

336 Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism
88(2003):1617.

337 Annals of Internal Medicine 140(2004):769.

338 Journal of Nutrition 134(2004):880.

339 Journal of Nutrition 133(2003):2756.

340 Journal of Nutrition 129(1999):1545.

341 American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 56(1992):320.

342 Journal of the American Medical Association
290(2003):912.

343 Journal of the American Dietetics Association
100(2000):1301.

344 Journal of Nutrition 133(2003):2756.

345 Expert Panel on Detection, Evaluation, and Treatment
of High Blood Cholesterol in Adults, National Cholesterol
Education Program. Second report of the Expert Panel on
Detection, Evaluation, and Treatment of High Blood
Cholesterol in Adults (Adult Treatment Panel II).
Circulation. 1994;89:1329-1445.

346 Annals of Internal Medicine 140(2004):769.

347 Reuters 26 May 2004.

348 Circulation 89(1994):1329.

349 The Washington Post 27 August 2002.

350 American Journal of Medicine 113(2002):30.

351 "Pair of Studies Vindicate Atkins Diet." Associated
Press 21 May 2003.

352 National Review Online 6 June 2003.

353 Journal of the American College of nutrition
19(2000):578.

354
http://www.fumento.com/fat/media.html

355 New England Journal of Medicine 348(2003):2074.

356 Annals of Internal Medicine 140(2004):778.

357 Cleveland Clinic Journal of Medicine 69(2002):864.

358 Federal Document Clearing House Congressional
Testimony 3 June 2004.

359 Journal of Nutrition. 132(2002):1879.

360 Journal of Pediatrics 142(2003):253.

361 Journal of Pediatrics 142(2003):352.

362 New England Journal of Medicine 348(2003):2074.

363 Annals of Internal Medicine 140(2004):778.

364 New England Journal of Medicine 348(2003):2082.

365 Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism
88(2003):1617.

366 Annals of Internal Medicine 140(2004):769.

367 Journal of Nutrition 134(2004):880.

368 Journal of the American College of Nutrition
23(2004):177.

369 Journal of Nutrition 2003 Sep;133(9):2756-61.

370 American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 63(1996):174.

371 Journal of the American Dietetics Association
77(1980):264.

372 American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 30(1977):160.

373 Journal of Clinical Investigation 85(1990):144.

374 Harrison's Advances in Cardiology. McGraw Hill, 2002.

375 Medical Opinion 1(1972):13.

376 Journal of the American Medical Association
280(1998):2001.

377 Nutrition Action Newsletter January-February 2001:1.

378 CBS Healthwatch December 1999.

http://cbshealthwatch.medscape.com/m...ry&DietI mg=1

379 Neurology 254(2000):2328.

380
http://atkins.com/about/recentnews/wsjresponse.html

381 American Institute for Cancer Research Newsletter
67(2000)11.

382 World Cancer Research Fund/American Institute for
Cancer Research. Food, Nutrition, and the Prevention of
Cancer: a global perspective. World Cancer Research
Fund/American Institute for Cancer Research, 1997.

383 Journal of the National Cancer Institute
95(2003):1079.

384 Report of a Joint WHO/FAO Expert Consultation. Diet,
Nutrition and the Prevention of Chronic Diseases. WHO
Technical Report Series 916, 2003.

385 Geriatrics (1961):407.

386 Preventive Medicine 13(1984):490.

387 Circulation 98(1998):935.

388
http://meatlessmondays.org/about.html

389 Washington Post 14 April 1973.

390 Journal of the American Medical Association
224(1973):1418.

391 Berland, T and L Frohman. CONSUMER GUIDE Rating the
Diets. Publications International, Ltd., 1974.

392 The New York Times 18 January 2004.

393 Circulation 89(1994):1329.

394 The New York Times 18 January 2004.

395 Atkins, RC. Dr. Atkins Diet Revolution. David McKay
Company, Inc., 1972.

396 Atkins, RC. Dr. Atkins New Diet Revolution. Avon
Books, 1999.

397 The New York Times 18 January 2004.

398
http://atkins.com/Archive/2004/2/3-915798.html

399 JODY GORRAN, Plaintiff, v. ATKINS NUTRITIONALS, INC.
and PAUL D. WOLFF, Solely in his Representative Capacity
as Co-Executor of the Estate of Robert C. Atkins, M.D.,
Defendants.

400 JODY GORRAN, Plaintiff, v. ATKINS NUTRITIONALS, INC.
and PAUL D. WOLFF, Solely in his Representative Capacity
as Co-Executor of the Estate of Robert C. Atkins, M.D.,
Defendants.

401 The Chronicle (Houston, TX) 9 March 1973.

402 New York Times 23 March 1973.

403 Herbert, V. Nutrition Cultism. George F. Stickley
Co., 1980.

404 NBC News Transcripts. Today Show. 28 May 2004.

405 ABC. Good Morning America 28 May 2004.

406 MSNBC. DONAHUE 13 November 2002.

407 Daily Mail (London) 23 August 2003.

408 PR Newswire 11 November 2002.

409 Cleveland Clinic Journal of Medicine 68(2001):777.

410 Newhouse News Service 5 February 2004.

411 The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney, Australia) 24 August
2003.

412 Daily Mail (London) 23 August 2003.

413 Using Lexis-Nexis, searching all English language
news, no date restriction: "Rachel Huskey" and "Atkins
Diet" on 17 May 2004.

414 Daily Mail (London) 23 August 2003.

415 Herald Sun (Melbourne, Australia) 13 April 2004.

416 Herald Sun (Melbourne, Australia) 15 March 2004.

417 Herald Sun (Melbourne, Australia) 15 March 2004.

418 The Mercury (Australia) March 16, 2004.

419 The Express 22 September 2003.

420 Herald Sun (Melbourne, Australia) 16 March 2004.

421 The Practitioner 222(1979):643.

422 American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 72(2000):868S.

423 Today's Dietician February 2004:21.

424 American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 58(1997):319.

425 Clinics in Sports Medicine 18(1999):691.

426 Cleveland Clinic Journal of Medicine 68(2001):761.

427 "Diet-Pak"
http://atkins.com/shop/get-started.html/pg=2

428 "Anti-Oxidant"
http://atkins.com/shop/products/AntiOxidant.html

429 USA Today 3 May 2004.

430 CBS News. The Early Show 25 May 2004.

431 The Diet War: Low-Fat vs. High-Protein with Dean
Ornish. 16 July 2002.

http://my.webmd.com/content/article/53/60634.htm?lastselectedguid={5FE84E90-BC77-4056-A91C-9531713CA348}

432 Atkins, RC. Dr. Atkins Diet Revolution. David McKay
Company, Inc., 1972.

433 Dr. Atkins New Diet Revolution 3rd edition. M. Evans
and Company, Inc. 2002.

434 The Evening Standard (London) 28 May 2004.

435 Fumento, M and JE Manson. The Fat of the Land: Our
Health Crisis and How Overweight Americans Can Help
Themselves. Penguin, 1998.

436 Consumer Reports 69(2004):12.

437 WebMD Medical News 10 May 2004.

438 National Dairy Council.

Lactose Intolerance and Minorities: The Real Story.

http://www.nationaldairycouncil.org/...nce.asp?page=4

439 Journal of the American Dietetic Association
96(1996):243.

440 Gastroenterology 110(1996):A1.

441 Atkins, RC. Dr. Atkins Diet Revolution. David McKay
Company, Inc., 1972.

442 Dr. Atkins New Diet Revolution 3rd edition. M. Evans
and Company, Inc. 2002.

443 The NPD Group Reports on Low Carb's Impact on
America's Diet 5 April 2004.
http://www.npd.com/press/releases/press_040405.htm

444 Shape Up America news release 29 December 2003.

445 Newhouse News Service 5 February 2004.

446 Tufts University Health and Nutrition Letter
21(2003):1.

447 The Washington Post 23 November 1999.

448 The Washington Post 23 November 1999.

449 Institute of Medicine. Weighing the Options. National
Academy Press, 1995.

450 American Heart Journal 147(2004):841.

451 New England Journal of Medicine 338(1998):1.

452 Annals of Internal Medicine 138(2003):24.

453 Journal of the American Medical Association
289(2003):187.

454 Berland, T and L Frohman. CONSUMER GUIDE Rating the
Diets. Publications International, Ltd., 1974.

455 Harvard Health Letter 28(2003):1.

456 Tampa Tribune (Florida) 19 October 1999.

457 Reason March 2003.

458 Developing Countries Attack U.N. Strategy On Obesity.
UN Wire.
http://www.unwire.org/UNWire/20040210/449_12957.asp

459 U.S. Opposes WHO's Anti-Obesity Campaign. UN Wire.
http://www.unwire.org/UNWire/20040116/449_12157.asp

460 Centre for Science in the Public Interest letter to
Mr. Ed Aiston, Director General International Affairs
Directorate.
http://cspinet.org/canada/who_glstrat.html

461 Harvard Health Letter 28(2003):1.

462 World Health Organization. World Health Assembly
Raises Global Public Health to New Level.
http://www.who.int/mediacentre/releases/2004/wha4/en/

463 World Health Organization. Frequently Asked Questions
About the WHO Global Strategy on Diet, Physical Activity
and Health.
http://www.who.int/dietphysicalactivity/faq/en/

464 Circulation 98(1998):935.

465 Journal of the American College of Nutrition
19(2000)326S.

466 Journal of the American Medical Association
288(2002):2569.

467 American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 70(1999)412.

468 American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 76(2002):535.

469 Cancer Causes and Control 7(1996):178.

470 British Medical Journal 313(1996):775.

471 World Health Organization. Fruit, Vegetables and NCD
Prevention.
http://www.who.int/dietphysicalactiv...acts/fruit/en/

472 National Cancer Institute.
www.9aday.cancer.gov/

473
http://www.berkeleywellness.com/html/wl/wlAbout

474 University of California at Berkeley Wellness .April
2000.

475 Journal of the American Dietetics Association
100(2000):1300.

476 Harvard Health Letter January 2002.

477 Archives of Internal Medicine 161(2001):1645.

478 CNN. Larry King Live. 11 July 2003.

479 US Department of Health and Human Services. Office of
the Surgeon General. The Surgeon General's Call to Action
to Prevent and Decrease Overweight and Obesity. 2001.

480 Obesity Research 9(2001):1S.

481 American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 78(2003):647s.

482 Journal of the American Medical Association
274(1995):1450.

483 Obesity Research 4(1996):347.

484 Archives of Internal Medicine 164(2004):210.

485 Willett, WC, Skerrett, PJ, and Edward L. Giovannucci.
Eat, Drink, and Be Healthy: The Harvard Medical School
Guide to Healthy Eating. Simon & Schuster, August 2001.

486 CBS Healthwatch December 1999.

http://cbshealthwatch.medscape.com/m...ry&DietI mg=1

487 Fortune 14 June 2004:152.

End of forwarded message from

Jai Maharaj
http://www.mantra.com/jai
Om Shanti

Hindu Holocaust Museum
http://www.mantra.com/holocaust

Hindu life, principles, spirituality and philosophy
http://www.hindu.org
http://www.hindunet.org

The truth about Islam and Muslims
http://www.flex.com/~jai/satyamevajayate

The terrorist mission of Jesus stated in the Christian bible:

"Think not that I am come to send peace on earth:
I came not so send peace, but a sword.
"For I am come to set a man at variance against his
father, and the daughter against her mother, and the
daughter in law against her mother in law.
"And a man's foes shall be they of his own
household.
- Matthew 10:34-36.

o Not for commercial use. Solely to be fairly used for the
educational purposes of research and open discussion. The contents of
this post may not have been authored by, and do not necessarily

represent
the opinion of the poster. The contents are protected by copyright

law
and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.
o If you send private e-mail to me, it will likely not be read,
considered or answered if it does not contain your full legal name,
current e-mail and postal addresses, and live-voice telephone number.
o Posted for information and discussion. Views expressed by

others
are not necessarily those of the poster.


Now why would a vegan post this oldie by another vegan physician in the
carnivorous section of Usenet?

  #2  
Old March 31st, 2005, 01:30 AM
Mark McArthey
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default

"Dr. Jai Maharaj" wrote in message
news:[email protected]
diet long term, given what is known about the dangers of
a meat-laden diet.

[removed cross-posting]

Every time I see "meat-laden diet" my eyes glaze over. What is it about
this diet that people just refuse to understand? I eat far healthier than I
ever have in the past. Tonight I had 2 fillets of cod with chipotle and
onion and a good helping of broccoli. And, yes, that is a typical meal.
Maybe *that's* why they refuse to fund a study... they couldn't keep bashing
it if they actually polled some real people.
Mark


  #3  
Old March 31st, 2005, 01:34 AM
Mark McArthey
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default

As one Wall Street analyst
explained, "Have you ever tried low carb bread?"487

[removed cross-posting]
And those Wall Street analysts are really who I'm listening to for diet
advice but, yes, I have tried lowered carb bread and I love it. My kids
love it, and my wife loves it. We've bought it pre-LC and will continue to
buy it.
I guess I really don't understand the issue.
Mark


  #4  
Old March 31st, 2005, 02:19 AM
Tom G
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default


"Mark McArthey" wrote in message
...
"Dr. Jai Maharaj" wrote in message
news:[email protected]
diet long term, given what is known about the dangers of
a meat-laden diet.

[removed cross-posting]

Every time I see "meat-laden diet" my eyes glaze over. What is it about
this diet that people just refuse to understand? I eat far healthier than

I
ever have in the past. Tonight I had 2 fillets of cod with chipotle and
onion and a good helping of broccoli. And, yes, that is a typical meal.
Maybe *that's* why they refuse to fund a study... they couldn't keep

bashing
it if they actually polled some real people.
Mark


Maybe if the experts thought more about what the diet leaves out, they
may see it in a different light. What nutrients am I missing by eliminating
white flour, white rice, noodles, potatoes, and sugar, along with high salt
and transfats? They call these foods normal eating?






  #5  
Old March 31st, 2005, 02:30 AM
[email protected]
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default

"Every time I see "meat-laden diet" my eyes glaze over. What is it
about
this diet that people just refuse to understand? I eat far healthier
than I
ever have in the past. Tonight I had 2 fillets of cod with chipotle
and
onion and a good helping of broccoli. And, yes, that is a typical
meal.
Maybe *that's* why they refuse to fund a study... they couldn't keep
bashing
it if they actually polled some real people.
Mark "

Couldn't agree more. For dinner I just had a salad with olive
oil/vinegar dressing, baked cajun catfish with a side of zuchini and
squash, a cup of LC 2% fat chocolate milk, and a LC cookie. Yet
somehow when ever Atkins gets mentioned, the sensationalists love to
tie it to loads of red meat and fat.

  #6  
Old March 31st, 2005, 05:13 AM
Rich
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default


"warehouse" wrote in message
ps.com...

Now why would a vegan post this oldie by another vegan physician in the
carnivorous section of Usenet?


Don't know. Why would you waste 79k of bandwidth by repeating the whole
thing in your message just to add a two line response?

Rich


  #7  
Old March 31st, 2005, 05:29 AM
Kevin Stevens
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default

In article .com,
" wrote:

Couldn't agree more. For dinner I just had a salad with olive
oil/vinegar dressing, baked cajun catfish with a side of zuchini and
squash, a cup of LC 2% fat chocolate milk, and a LC cookie. Yet
somehow when ever Atkins gets mentioned, the sensationalists love to
tie it to loads of red meat and fat.


I had a blackened chicken and steak combo. Just helping even it out.

KeS
  #8  
Old March 31st, 2005, 06:35 AM
Cubit
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default

Here is the problem with the report of adverse cardiovascular effects in the
SPECT scans. 3/4 of the participants were not doing the diet correctly. By
adding fats and protein while continuing carbohydrates, the results are to
be expected....


"warehouse" wrote in message
ps.com...

Dr. Jai Maharaj wrote:
Forwarded message

[snip]

A recent study of 11,000 people found that only one in
four of those claiming to be on a low carb diet were
actually significantly cutting carbs at all.443 Another
survey, commissioned by former Surgeon General C. Everett
Koop's organization Shape Up America!, found that most
people claiming to be on Atkins, or another of the low
carb fad diets, didn't seem to even know where carbs were
found.444 Most didn't know, for example, that tomatoes
were high in carbs. Thankfully, about half of them didn't
know apples had a lot of carbs, and 1 in 6 even thought
steak was a carbohydrate.445 Thankfully most people on
Atkins are actually not on Atkins.



  #9  
Old March 31st, 2005, 06:38 AM
Glassman
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default


"Rich" wrote in message
news:[email protected]

"warehouse" wrote in message
ps.com...

Now why would a vegan post this oldie by another vegan physician in the
carnivorous section of Usenet?


Don't know. Why would you waste 79k of bandwidth by repeating the whole
thing in your message just to add a two line response?

Rich



Now that's kind of spooky.... I thought the same thing.

--
JK Sinrod
Sinrod Stained Glass Studios
www.sinrodstudios.com
Coney Island Memories
www.sinrodstudios.com/coneymemories


  #10  
Old March 31st, 2005, 06:42 AM
Glassman
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default

Yes I eat lots of meat and fat, and not ashamed of it. I also eat salad
and veggies and nuts and berries. After 7 years of a LC lifestyle I have
perfect bloodwork, echo-cardiogram, and colonoscopy. How can anyone
challenge real world results with this ongoing cutting and pasting of
slanted reports?

--
*7 years & 50 lbs permanently off Atkins Guy

--
JK Sinrod
Sinrod Stained Glass Studios
www.sinrodstudios.com
Coney Island Memories
www.sinrodstudios.com/coneymemories


 




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