Thursday, May 27


"By severely limiting -- or completely cutting -- carbohydrates from their diets, many people may not be getting the full complement of nutrients required for optimal health," said Andy Davis, senior vice president for Wyeth Consumer Healthcare. And he should know, since he's putting out a vitamin expressly designed to make up for the deficiencies of Atkins-style diets. Of course he's got a vested interest in saying that, BUT he's also putting out a product he expects people will want. "Centrum Carb Assist is formulated with high levels of the B vitamins -- niacin, thiamin, riboflavin, vitamins B6 and B12 -- as well as the antioxidants selenium, manganese, and vitamins C, D and E. It also has 100 percent recommended daily requirements of iron, zinc and copper." Jesus. Vitamin C and E, antioxidants, sure; but whodathunkit that you'd need a supplement for friggin' iron, zinc and B12? What exactly is the point of eating meat, again?

Similarly, a government-commissioned panel of dietary experts on Wednesday gave "a cold shoulder to the craze for high-protein diets," stressing the need for a "variety" of foods. Given the above, it's unclear why meat should be included at all in that variety. More to the point, the draft language "is not as straight forward as I think it needs to be," said Margo Wootan, nutrition policy director for activist group Center for Science in the Public Interest. "You have to cut calories, too." Hmmmm... what kind of food is low in calories and high in nutrients?

All this would be kind of academic if it weren't so dangerous to eat so much animal protein. A dieter suing Atkins says "following the Atkins diet for two years raised the man's cholesterol so much that his arteries became clogged and required a medical procedure to open them." Specifically, after just two months on it, "his cholesterol shot from 146, well within the normal range, to 230, considered in the hazardous range. In October 2003, after three episodes of chest pain, doctors found that Mr. Gorran had a 99 percent blockage in a major artery and performed angioplasty and inserted a stent to keep it open. Before starting the diet, he said, tests showed that his arteries were clear. Within two months after going off the Atkins diet, where his favorite foods were cheese every day and cheesecake three times a week, his cholesterol dropped to 146."

The American Heart Association said it would not comment on the suit, but issued a statement saying, "Eating large amounts of high-fat foods for a sustained period raises the risk of coronary heart disease, diabetes, stroke and several types of cancer."

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