Monday, June 2


I'm not referring to the famous constipation symptoms when I say that with the Atkins diet, it seems there's always a "but." When the studies came out a little over a week ago comparing Atkins to a wussy low-fat diet and finding again that people initially lost more weight on Atkins, many newspapers' headlines trumpeted the "vindication" of the tragically clumsy diet doc. But those that looked a little closer at the data phrased it a little differently, such as "Atkins Diet May Be No Better Than Just Cutting Fat" (Reuters) and "Atkins Diet Works Quicker, But Long-Term Benefits Negligible" (Washington Post).

Notably, even the New York Times, which kicked off the latest wave of Atkins-mania with last summer's "Big Fat Lie" article, is now cooling a bit on the high-protein regime. In an editorial, the paper pointed out that "neither diet worked all that well given the group's excessive weight, averaging 216 pounds at the start. Those on the Atkins diet lost an average of 15 pounds by the end of six months and those on the conventional diet lost 7 pounds. By the end of a year, however, each group had gained some of the weight back, with the Atkins group leading the way. Worse yet, people dropped out of both diets in droves. The sad truth is, no matter what diet people go on, they have a hard time sticking to it." As a case in point, NYT food writer Jason Epstein not only gave up the diet he had endorsed so strongly, he apologized for misleading the public: "My apologies to readers who may have been seduced by my euphoric example when I announced my conversion to Atkinsism in these pages nearly a year ago. The diet worked. My conversion failed. In half the time it took to lose 20 pounds, I gained 12 back." Yeah, the diet worked. It was all your fault, Epstein. Seriously now, even assuming it doesn't have any long-term liabilities, what good is a diet that almost no one can stick to?

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