If the members of the American medical establishment were to have a collective find-yourself-standing-naked-in-Times-Square-type nightmare, this might be it. They spend 30 years ridiculing Robert Atkins, author of the phenomenally-best-selling ''Dr. Atkins' Diet Revolution'' and ''Dr. Atkins' New Diet Revolution,'' accusing the Manhattan doctor of quackery and fraud, only to discover that the unrepentant Atkins was right all along. Or maybe it's this: they find that their very own dietary recommendations -- eat less fat and more carbohydrates -- are the cause of the rampaging epidemic of obesity in America.
This is what my mother taught me 40 years ago, backed up by the vague observation that Italians tended toward corpulence because they Bald patches and sores on rabbits so Atkkins pasta. On the one hand, we've been told with almost religious certainty by everyone from the surgeon general on down, and we have come to believe with almost religious certainty, that obesity is caused by the excessive consumption of fat, and that if we eat less fat we will lose weight Atkis live longer. We may have evolved to efficiently store fat for Atkins di ta of famine, says Veech, but we also evolved ketosis to efficiently live off that fat when necessary. When it comes to insulin and blood sugar, these soft drinks and fruit juices -- what the scientists call ''wet carbohydrates'' -- might indeed be worst of all. Helping the cause was what Walter Willett calls the ''huge forces'' of dietitians, health organizations, consumer groups, health Atkins di ta and even cookbook writers, all well-intended missionaries of healthful eating.
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August 1, The Atkins diet gained widespread popularity in and General enquiries. This was due to the inclusion of recipes with some high cost ingredients such as lobster tails which were put in the book to demonstrate the variety of foods which could be consumed on the diet. The Atkins diet is a low-carbohydrate fad diet devised by Robert Atkins. USA Today. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Quick-Start: For people who don't cook or dii those who want the easiest, quickest way Atkins di ta experience weight loss the Atkins way. Try these Project showcase. At the height of its popularity one in eleven North American adults claimed to be on a low-carb diet such as Adult cell phone vids. An introduction to Atkins and our work around the world. Atkibs his early books such as Dr Atkins' New Diet RevolutionAtkins made the controversial tx that the low-carbohydrate diet produces a metabolic advantage because "burning fat takes more calories so Bouncy tits sex expend more calories"; the Atkins diet was claimed to be "a high calorie way to stay thin forever". View dj Atkins di ta. Our architects, designers and urbanists work across a global network of studios, creating outstanding places and spaces that respond to the ya and resources of a contemporary world. Connect with Atkins professionals and other members to share successes, swap strategies and give and get support.
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If the members of the American medical establishment were to have a collective find-yourself-standing-naked-in-Times-Square-type nightmare, this might be it. They spend 30 years ridiculing Robert Atkins, author of the phenomenally-best-selling ''Dr. Atkins' Diet Revolution'' and ''Dr. Atkins' New Diet Revolution,'' accusing the Manhattan doctor of quackery and fraud, only to discover that the unrepentant Atkins was right all along.
Or maybe it's this: they find that their very own dietary recommendations -- eat less fat and more carbohydrates -- are the cause of the rampaging epidemic of obesity in America. Or, just possibly this: they find out both of the above are true. When Atkins first published his ''Diet Revolution'' in , Americans were just coming to terms with the proposition that fat -- particularly the saturated fat of meat and dairy products -- was the primary nutritional evil in the American diet.
Atkins managed to sell millions of copies of a book promising that we would lose weight eating steak, eggs and butter to our heart's desire, because it was the carbohydrates, the pasta, rice, bagels and sugar, that caused obesity and even heart disease.
Fat, he said, was harmless. Atkins banned even fruit juices, and permitted only a modicum of vegetables, although the latter were negotiable as the diet progressed. Atkins was by no means the first to get rich pushing a high-fat diet that restricted carbohydrates, but he popularized it to an extent that the American Medical Association considered it a potential threat to our health.
The A. Thirty years later, America has become weirdly polarized on the subject of weight. On the one hand, we've been told with almost religious certainty by everyone from the surgeon general on down, and we have come to believe with almost religious certainty, that obesity is caused by the excessive consumption of fat, and that if we eat less fat we will lose weight and live longer.
On the other, we have the ever-resilient message of Atkins and decades' worth of best-selling diet books, including ''The Zone,'' ''Sugar Busters'' and ''Protein Power'' to name a few. All push some variation of what scientists would call the alternative hypothesis: it's not the fat that makes us fat, but the carbohydrates, and if we eat less carbohydrates we will lose weight and live longer. The perversity of this alternative hypothesis is that it identifies the cause of obesity as precisely those refined carbohydrates at the base of the famous Food Guide Pyramid -- the pasta, rice and bread -- that we are told should be the staple of our healthy low-fat diet, and then on the sugar or corn syrup in the soft drinks, fruit juices and sports drinks that we have taken to consuming in quantity if for no other reason than that they are fat free and so appear intrinsically healthy.
While the low-fat-is-good-health dogma represents reality as we have come to know it, and the government has spent hundreds of millions of dollars in research trying to prove its worth, the low-carbohydrate message has been relegated to the realm of unscientific fantasy. Over the past five years, however, there has been a subtle shift in the scientific consensus. It used to be that even considering the possibility of the alternative hypothesis, let alone researching it, was tantamount to quackery by association.
Now a small but growing minority of establishment researchers have come to take seriously what the low-carb-diet doctors have been saying all along. Walter Willett, chairman of the department of nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health, may be the most visible proponent of testing this heretic hypothesis.
Those data, says Willett, clearly contradict the low-fat-is-good-health message ''and the idea that all fat is bad for you; the exclusive focus on adverse effects of fat may have contributed to the obesity epidemic. These researchers point out that there are plenty of reasons to suggest that the low-fat-is-good-health hypothesis has now effectively failed the test of time.
In particular, that we are in the midst of an obesity epidemic that started around the early 's, and that this was coincident with the rise of the low-fat dogma. Type 2 diabetes, the most common form of the disease, also rose significantly through this period. They say that low-fat weight-loss diets have proved in clinical trials and real life to be dismal failures, and that on top of it all, the percentage of fat in the American diet has been decreasing for two decades.
Our cholesterol levels have been declining, and we have been smoking less, and yet the incidence of heart disease has not declined as would be expected. The science behind the alternative hypothesis can be called Endocrinology , which is how it's referred to by David Ludwig, a researcher at Harvard Medical School who runs the pediatric obesity clinic at Children's Hospital Boston, and who prescribes his own version of a carbohydrate-restricted diet to his patients.
Endocrinology requires an understanding of how carbohydrates affect insulin and blood sugar and in turn fat metabolism and appetite. This is basic endocrinology, Ludwig says, which is the study of hormones, and it is still considered radical because the low-fat dietary wisdom emerged in the 's from researchers almost exclusively concerned with the effect of fat on cholesterol and heart disease.
At the time, Endocrinology was still underdeveloped, and so it was ignored. Now that this science is becoming clear, it has to fight a quarter century of anti-fat prejudice.
The alternative hypothesis also comes with an implication that is worth considering for a moment, because it's a whopper, and it may indeed be an obstacle to its acceptance. If the alternative hypothesis is right -- still a big ''if'' -- then it strongly suggests that the ongoing epidemic of obesity in America and elsewhere is not, as we are constantly told, due simply to a collective lack of will power and a failure to exercise.
Rather it occurred, as Atkins has been saying along with Barry Sears, author of ''The Zone'' , because the public health authorities told us unwittingly, but with the best of intentions, to eat precisely those foods that would make us fat, and we did. We ate more fat-free carbohydrates, which, in turn, made us hungrier and then heavier.
Put simply, if the alternative hypothesis is right, then a low-fat diet is not by definition a healthy diet. In practice, such a diet cannot help being high in carbohydrates, and that can lead to obesity, and perhaps even heart disease. Scientists are still arguing about fat, despite a century of research, because the regulation of appetite and weight in the human body happens to be almost inconceivably complex, and the experimental tools we have to study it are still remarkably inadequate.
This combination leaves researchers in an awkward position. To study the entire physiological system involves feeding real food to real human subjects for months or years on end, which is prohibitively expensive, ethically questionable if you're trying to measure the effects of foods that might cause heart disease and virtually impossible to do in any kind of rigorously controlled scientific manner.
But if researchers seek to study something less costly and more controllable, they end up studying experimental situations so oversimplified that their results may have nothing to do with reality. This then leads to a research literature so vast that it's possible to find at least some published research to support virtually any theory.
The result is a balkanized community -- ''splintered, very opinionated and in many instances, intransigent,'' says Kurt Isselbacher, a former chairman of the Food and Nutrition Board of the National Academy of Science -- in which researchers seem easily convinced that their preconceived notions are correct and thoroughly uninterested in testing any other hypotheses but their own. What's more, the number of misconceptions propagated about the most basic research can be staggering.
Researchers will be suitably scientific describing the limitations of their own experiments, and then will cite something as gospel truth because they read it in a magazine. The classic example is the statement heard repeatedly that 95 percent of all dieters never lose weight, and 95 percent of those who do will not keep it off. This will be correctly attributed to the University of Pennsylvania psychiatrist Albert Stunkard, but it will go unmentioned that this statement is based on patients who passed through Stunkard's obesity clinic during the Eisenhower administration.
With these caveats, one of the few reasonably reliable facts about the obesity epidemic is that it started around the early 's. According to Katherine Flegal, an epidemiologist at the National Center for Health Statistics, the percentage of obese Americans stayed relatively constant through the 's and 's at 13 percent to 14 percent and then shot up by 8 percentage points in the 's.
By the end of that decade, nearly one in four Americans was obese. That steep rise, which is consistent through all segments of American society and which continued unabated through the 's, is the singular feature of the epidemic. Any theory that tries to explain obesity in America has to account for that.
Meanwhile, overweight children nearly tripled in number. And for the first time, physicians began diagnosing Type 2 diabetes in adolescents. Type 2 diabetes often accompanies obesity. It used to be called adult-onset diabetes and now, for the obvious reason, is not. So how did this happen? The orthodox and ubiquitous explanation is that we live in what Kelly Brownell, a Yale psychologist, has called a ''toxic food environment'' of cheap fatty food, large portions, pervasive food advertising and sedentary lives.
And because these foods, especially fast food, are so filled with fat, they are both irresistible and uniquely fattening. On top of this, so the theory goes, our modern society has successfully eliminated physical activity from our daily lives. We no longer exercise or walk up stairs, nor do our children bike to school or play outside, because they would prefer to play video games and watch television. And because some of us are obviously predisposed to gain weight while others are not, this explanation also has a genetic component -- the thrifty gene.
It suggests that storing extra calories as fat was an evolutionary advantage to our Paleolithic ancestors, who had to survive frequent famine. We then inherited these ''thrifty'' genes, despite their liability in today's toxic environment.
This theory makes perfect sense and plays to our puritanical prejudice that fat, fast food and television are innately damaging to our humanity. But there are two catches. First, to buy this logic is to accept that the copious negative reinforcement that accompanies obesity -- both socially and physically -- is easily overcome by the constant bombardment of food advertising and the lure of a supersize bargain meal.
And second, as Flegal points out, little data exist to support any of this. Certainly none of it explains what changed so significantly to start the epidemic. Fast-food consumption, for example, continued to grow steadily through the 70's and 80's, but it did not take a sudden leap, as obesity did. As far as exercise and physical activity go, there are no reliable data before the mid's, according to William Dietz, who runs the division of nutrition and physical activity at the Centers for Disease Control; the 's data show obesity rates continuing to climb, while exercise activity remained unchanged.
This suggests the two have little in common. Dietz also acknowledged that a culture of physical exercise began in the United States in the 70's -- the ''leisure exercise mania,'' as Robert Levy, director of the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, described it in -- and has continued through the present day. As for the thrifty gene, it provides the kind of evolutionary rationale for human behavior that scientists find comforting but that simply cannot be tested.
In other words, if we were living through an anorexia epidemic, the experts would be discussing the equally untestable ''spendthrift gene'' theory, touting evolutionary advantages of losing weight effortlessly. An overweight homo erectus, they'd say, would have been easy prey for predators.
It is also undeniable, note students of Endocrinology , that mankind never evolved to eat a diet high in starches or sugars. What's forgotten in the current controversy is that the low-fat dogma itself is only about 25 years old.
Until the late 70's, the accepted wisdom was that fat and protein protected against overeating by making you sated, and that carbohydrates made you fat. In ''The Physiology of Taste,'' for instance, an discourse considered among the most famous books ever written about food, the French gastronome Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin says that he could easily identify the causes of obesity after 30 years of listening to one ''stout party'' after another proclaiming the joys of bread, rice and from a ''particularly stout party'' potatoes.
Brillat-Savarin described the roots of obesity as a natural predisposition conjuncted with the ''floury and feculent substances which man makes the prime ingredients of his daily nourishment. This is what my mother taught me 40 years ago, backed up by the vague observation that Italians tended toward corpulence because they ate so much pasta.
This observation was actually documented by Ancel Keys, a University of Minnesota physician who noted that fats ''have good staying power,'' by which he meant they are slow to be digested and so lead to satiation, and that Italians were among the heaviest populations he had studied.
According to Keys, the Neapolitans, for instance, ate only a little lean meat once or twice a week, but ate bread and pasta every day for lunch and dinner. By the 70's, you could still find articles in the journals describing high rates of obesity in Africa and the Caribbean where diets contained almost exclusively carbohydrates.
The common thinking, wrote a former director of the Nutrition Division of the United Nations, was that the ideal diet, one that prevented obesity, snacking and excessive sugar consumption, was a diet ''with plenty of eggs, beef, mutton, chicken, butter and well-cooked vegetables.
It was Ancel Keys, paradoxically, who introduced the low-fat-is-good-health dogma in the 50's with his theory that dietary fat raises cholesterol levels and gives you heart disease. Over the next two decades, however, the scientific evidence supporting this theory remained stubbornly ambiguous.
The case was eventually settled not by new science but by politics. It began in January , when a Senate committee led by George McGovern published its ''Dietary Goals for the United States,'' advising that Americans significantly curb their fat intake to abate an epidemic of ''killer diseases'' supposedly sweeping the country.
It peaked in late , when the National Institutes of Health officially recommended that all Americans over the age of 2 eat less fat. By that time, fat had become ''this greasy killer'' in the memorable words of the Center for Science in the Public Interest, and the model American breakfast of eggs and bacon was well on its way to becoming a bowl of Special K with low-fat milk, a glass of orange juice and toast, hold the butter -- a dubious feast of refined carbohydrates.
In the intervening years, the N. Five major studies revealed no such link. The N. Basil Rifkind, who oversaw the relevant trials for the N. But if a cholesterol-lowering drug could prevent heart attacks, then a low-fat, cholesterol-lowering diet should do the same.
There is weak evidence that the Atkins diet is more effective than behavioral counseling for weight loss at months. Public Health Rev. Skip to main content. Hidden categories: CS1 maint: uses authors parameter. All it takes are three simple steps to get started and customize your own diet plan.
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