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  #1   ^
Old Fri, Apr-18-03, 12:39
gotbeer's Avatar
gotbeer gotbeer is offline
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Posts: 2,889
Plan: Atkins
Stats: 280/203/200 Male 69 inches
Progress: 96%
Location: Dallas, TX, USA
Default "Atkins: A Steady Diet of Skepticism"

Atkins: A Steady Diet of Skepticism
April 18, 2003 Ellis Henican

link to New York Newsday article

When I heard the news yesterday about Robert Atkins, I marched promptly around the corner to Jimmy's Coffee Shop. I plopped down at the counter between a heavyset woman and a very fat man. I ordered a Swiss-cheese omelet with no potato, no toast, no roll, no bagel, no muffin, no nothing with the slightest hint of wheat inside.

And a plate of bacon.

"I'll have a side of sausage too," I told the waitress, who did not seem to consider my choices one bit odd.

"Atkins," she muttered as she wrote the order down.

I don't normally eat like this, and I have to say my stomach is feeling a little queasy right now as I type. But Dr. Robert C. Atkins had just gone off to the Great Protein Pig-Out in the Sky, and I figured this midday meat-fest was the least I could do.

I'm still not sure, to tell you the truth, if the man is the greatest nutritionist of the last half-century or simply the greatest medical promoter of modern times. I have friends who swear he's a genius. I have tended more toward the huckster view. Either way, this Manhattan diet doc was a giant.

Spock? Kinsey? Pauling? Salk? Who even remembers them anymore?

Atkins had a busy practice on East 55th Street. He'd spent decades on radio and TV. He had the most famous diet in the world named for him. Barely a week had gone by since 1972 that he didn't have a book on somebody's best-seller list, including this week, when he had titles on both the hardcover and paperback lists.

So I tip my hat to the late anti-carb crusader. I pat my belly too. And I say, "Have a cheeseburger for me, doc."

Without the bun.

I'm like a lot of people who never went on Atkins. I'm pretty sure it can't possibly be good for you, taking no vegetables or breads or other carbohydrates. If my stomach gets a vote, that makes two of us.

Just a moment ago, I swear I could hear it growling, "Self-promoting diet doc."

No wonder the man is dead at 72.

But right then, the telephone rang. It was my friend Ron Mitchell, who said he had been expecting the news. Atkins, after all, had been in a coma since April 8, when he fell on his way to work.

"The man slipped on ice," Ron said. "You can't blame the diet for killing him."

Not that his long-time critics weren't whispering such things already. Maybe the doctor's balance was shaky, right? Ron was having none of it.

"The medical establishment never accepted Atkins," he said. "If he had been hit by a bus 20 years ago, some of those people would have said, 'See. We warned you about that.'"

But didn't Atkins have a heart attack last year? Didn't some critics worry about cardiac stress and kidney damage from the diet?

"He's an old man from a family with a history of heart conditions," Ron said. "Something was going to kill him eventually. I'm telling you if he lived to be 130 and a satellite crashed through the roof of his house, they'd all be saying the same thing. 'We knew it was going to happen.'"

Ron isn't my only friend who was standing up for Atkins yesterday. Ilene Merdinger, who used to order salads for lunch - "dressing on the side, please" - is now making lunch dates at steak joints. We have editors at this very newspaper - serious people, serious eaters - who claim they haven't tasted a vegetable in months.

"The problem is, no one has ever been able to find evidence that the diet is no good," Ron Mitchell said. "Believe me, they've been trying."

In fact, in recent months, the tide of medical opinion was actually flowing Atkins' way. Without explicitly backing the low-carb approach, a couple of major research labs did grudgingly agree the Atkins diet could produce safe weight loss.

But Atkins faithful needed no convincing yesterday.

"Every January," my friend Ron said, "I go on Atkins for maybe three weeks. I eat like crazy. I'm never hungry. I'm eating stuff that the rest of the year I would never eat. I would never have a giant omelet for breakfast. I do in those three weeks. And I lose 15 pounds."

The weight does creep back on, Ron said. And there are certain cravings too.

"Sometimes, I'll wake up in the middle of night," he said. "I'd kill for a bowl of cereal. For one slice of plain, white bread. For one ravioli. Anything.

"But that passes, and every year I lose the weight," Ron said.

I told him he and I should meet for a salad sometime.
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  #2   ^
Old Fri, Apr-18-03, 20:21
gtarent gtarent is offline
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Posts: 71
Plan: Eades
Stats: 278/236/181
Progress: 43%

I'm like a lot of people who never went on Atkins. I'm pretty sure it can't possibly be good for you, taking no vegetables or breads or other carbohydrates. If my stomach gets a vote, that makes two of us.

Ok, people before you decide to write an article on Atkins read the damn book. Why do they fail to understand that there is many vegatables other than potatoes and corn. Makes you wonder how poorly researched most of our news is. I eat many more vegatbles than I ever did before, on average I have at least 1 salad a day, sometimes more. Same old story, same misinformation....
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  #3   ^
Old Fri, Apr-18-03, 22:52
cc48510 cc48510 is offline
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Posts: 2,018
Plan: Atkins
Stats: 320/220/195 Male 6'0"
Progress: 80%
Location: Pensacola, FL

The only vegetable I ate before Atkins was potatoes. I now eat 2 salads a day with lettuce, celery, spinach, etc...Nothing annoys me more than hearing someone say that Atkins is a "No-Carb Diet" or that Atkins "Does Not Allow Vegetables." Nothing could be further from the truth.

What ever happened to fact checking ??? I would expect to hear garbage like that from WSVN (Fox Affiliate in Miami.) But, it is annoying to see everyone else playing lose with the facts.
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  #4   ^
Old Sat, Apr-19-03, 08:13
Lessara's Avatar
Lessara Lessara is offline
Everyday Sane Psycho
Posts: 7,075
Plan: Bernstein, Keto IFast
Stats: 385/253/160 Female 67.5
BF:14d bsl 400/122/83
Progress: 59%
Location: Durham, NH
Unhappy Oh you had to remind me...

When I first started at my new job almost a year ago, my boss wanted to buy lunch for me and I asked to see the menu and the only thing I could eat at this resturant was steak tips. So being nervous that's what I ordered. My boss looked at me strangely and asked if I was on a high protein diet or something. I said I was on Atkins, a low carbohydrate diet. She said whatever.
I was teased that first week, then In the last three months I've improved my lunches. And oh is everyone surprised to see my grilled chicken salads where I have this huge salad of romaine lettuce, baby spinach as a base for my grilled Chicken. They can't believe I'm allowed to eat veggies. I actually left a copy of my Atkins Revolution book out for all to read. It has dust on it...
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  #5   ^
Old Wed, Apr-23-03, 01:02
GaryW GaryW is offline
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Posts: 85
Plan: Atkins
Stats: 277/223/180 Male 71
Progress: 56%
Location: California, USA
Default shouldn't *somebody* write this cross-eyed journalist?

Thanks to the mod posting the article's link, it was (literally) as easy as point 'n click to email the author. I get a bit wordy, and needlessly testy, but I think I made my point, aye? BTW, my fave line was where his editor (figuratively) may have obtained his incorrect info. Pow!

Email I sent to (as well a cc'd in a letter to their editor):


I was quite surprised that the nifty wordsmithing of your recent Atkins obit was torpedoed by a serious irresponsibility in not knowing the most basic couple of principles of the diet you wrote of. My evidence for this is your wildly wrong, opposite-of-what's-in-his-books statement:

"I'm like a lot of people who never went on Atkins. I'm pretty sure it can't possibly be good for you, taking no vegetables or breads or other carbohydrates. If my stomach gets a vote, that makes two of us."

Show me where the guidelines for the Atkins diet say what you misstated about veggies. If you can't, you need to own up that you obviously never even glanced at the first chapter of the book and diet you felt the ability to cover.

If you'd bothered to figuratively and literally turn the page, you'd have instead learned that many Atkins dieters actually *increase* their vegetable consumption when going on the diet (e.g. compared to their former fast-food junk food American high-sugar diet). Quite a far cry from your no-vegetable claim. Furthermore, you're also wrong in stating there are no carbs allowed. His books repeatedly explain all this in abundant detail, as well as his website and many low (not "no") carb support groups and Atkins-friendly health books. It's hard to miss unless you're pointedly not looking - which is fine if one's not planning on writing a public piece on the diet as you did.

As far as a mentioned coworker editor of yours supposedly not having a vegetable in months, he/she's not doing the Atkins Diet. Period. The Atkins Diet enjoys vegetables every day. So that's 30-60 or however many days your misguided coworker isn't doing Atkins. Maybe they got their instructions on the diet from a misguided article like yours.

And hey - I'm not asking nor expecting you to read the entire book. But wouldn't a run-through of the first chapter or two have been professional responsibility before botching your article to the public and doing them such a partial disservice (I learned of it by a couple of low-carb circles expressing disappointment at your sloppy misreporting).

Although I presume a retraction would be too much to expect, unless you truly wish to exhibit the kind of professional journalism of yesteryear that would show admirable integrity, I hope your other articles are better researched than this. I challenge you to learn the ABC's of whatever diet you chose to write about in the future.

Underwhelmed at the waste of good writing talent,


ref: Atkins: A Steady Diet of Skepticism
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  #6   ^
Old Wed, Apr-23-03, 10:16
orzabelle's Avatar
orzabelle orzabelle is offline
Senior Member
Posts: 377
Plan: Dr. Atkins
Stats: 134/132/127
BF:don't wanna know
Progress: 29%
Location: NYC

My lunch yesterday was NOT a steak!

It was a mesclun salad with pesto chicken, mushrooms, walnuts, cheese, and tomatoes. For dinner, instead of rice or bread with my chicken/fish, I have twice my normal amount of green beans (with some nice almonds mixed in) Bad journalist to write before you research! Bad, Bad!! Slap slap!!
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  #7   ^
Old Wed, Apr-23-03, 16:00
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purnois purnois is offline
Senior Member
Posts: 1,467
Plan: Organic, Raw Foods
Stats: 176/138/117 Female 5'2"
Progress: 64%
Location: illinois
Thumbs up Way to go Gary!!

Thank you for your wonderful reply to the so-called journalist and the editor!!

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  #8   ^
Old Wed, Apr-23-03, 16:41
wcollier wcollier is offline
Mad Scientist
Posts: 4,402
Plan: Healthy eating/lifestyle
Stats: 156/115/115 Female 5'4 - small frame
Progress: 100%

Gary, what an eloquent response. I hope they will listen.
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