The Atkins Diet is Busted

Atkins Nutritionals Inc, has filed for bankruptcy protection with $301 billion in assets against $325 billion in debt

Woe is me, who’d a thunk? The whole idea of those ridiculous “low carb” bread and “low carb” pancake mix and other offerings they shoved on an unwary public were laughable to start, but thinking people would buy them more than once was just ridiculous beyond belief. If they haven’t gone so crazed and had just introduced a few good products, all would be well, but noooo. They had to get greedy. Had to try to “low carb” everything, including foods that are high carb by nature and design (bread for crying out loud).

And so it goes. Diets come and go and Atkins rein was doomed with their introduction of low carb world. Up until then he’d enjoyed more than 30 years of fame. Now he’ll be remembered mostly by his failed products (nothing’s worse than seeing your products at 50% discount and still no one is buying) and his untimely demise with subsequent controversy over his condition when he died. It’s sad, really.

Overweight Obesity Researcher Develops Northwoods Diet

What Does it Take to Develop a New Diet?

Allen Levine, director of the Minnesota Obesity Center and head of the University of Minnesota’s Department of Food Science and Nutrition thinks people need to police themselves because, “You can’t have sex at your desk and you can’t drink booze at your desk and you can’t inject drugs at your desk, but you can eat a donut. Nobody’s going to stop you.”

Wow! That’s a little harsh. Somehow I don’t think eating a donut at my desk really is equal to the other choices (sex, drugs, drink — hey, he forgot rock-and-roll!).

Levine’s colleague University of Minnesota professor David Bernlohr and obesity researcher realized he’d gotten fat. Yes, that’s right. Just because you research obesity does not mean you are immune. Oh, no. The rotund Bernlohr decided to create his own diet and dubbed it the “Northwoods Diet,” in a vain attempt at poking fun at the fad diet industry and the popular South Beach diet.

His diet is pretty tame: Three meals a day with smaller portions and no food after 7:30 p.m. That’s it. Probably he’ll write a 200 page book about it soon.

Bernlohr explained his diet, “is just common sense to people who study nutrition or metabolism.” What he didn’t explain was he didn’t bother to follow his own “common sense” and keep his weight under control in the first place.

Atkins + Digital Chocolate = Atkins 2Go

No, this has nothing to do with chocolate at all, it’s just the name of a company.

Too bad! Atkins partnered with the San Mateo, California-based mobile games company called Digital Chocolate Inc. to develop the “Atkins 2Go” service for mobile phones.
Digital Chocolate President Mark Jacobstein said he’s not concerned about the evident decline in consumer interest in low-carb diets, and said he thinks all major cell phone carriers will be interested in the product. Pretty darn market savvy I’d say. Doesn’t care that his customer base is dwindling. I don’t think I’ll buy any stock in this company.

Atkins International is feeling the pinch of less people on low carb diets, plus most folks following low carb plans are learning to make better food choices, rather than buying low carb bread and pancake mix. So, in an effort to not go broke, they are teaming with Digital Chocolate to bring something amazing to cell phone users — the ability to figure out how many carbs in the food you are eating!

Wow. I’ll just go nuts calling up to find that out, instead of simply looking it up online which takes about a split second and is free. Unfortunately my cell phone minutes are not free.

I don’t need Atkins to figure out the carb count anyway because I don’t count carbs. If anything I eat a high carb diet. My husband was on the all carb diet and lost 40 pounds, so much for Atkins for him.

It doesn’t really matter what weight loss program you try, it all comes down to making sensible choices in the foods you eat on a regular basis. If you try to avoid carbs, you’re probably not eating enough fruits and vegetables, and most certainly are not eating whole grains and beans.

Carbs are not the enemy, processed foods are. I wish the Atkins company all the best success but frankly, I don’t see their products staying on shelves much longer. A few will survive but the majority will go the way of the Dodo Bird.

Low Fat Diet Best for Long-term Weight Loss

The battle between low fat and low carb continues. A study recently concluded that the low fat approach results in better long-term results. Using the National Weight Control Registry,which tracks the secrets of success from people who had lost at least 30 pounds and kept them off for at least a year. The registry is run by doctors from the University of Pittsburgh and Brown University in Providence, R.I. and the University of Colorado in Denver. (I’m on this registry, and receive semi-annual questionnaires which they use to track weight control over the long-term).

Twice a year the National Weight Control Registry asks participants about their eating and exercise habits. Recent findings appear to support the conclusion that, “People who started eating more fat … regained the most weight over time,” said Suzanne Phelan, a Brown Medical School psychologist who presented results of the study Monday at a meeting of the North American Association for the Study of Obesity.

Experts Weigh In with Opinions on Low Fat vs. Low Carb

Other experts had differing opinions: Dr. Thomas Wadden, a University of Pennsylvania weight loss expert who was not involved in the study, said it is too soon to say which approach is better. Several longer-term studies of low-carb and low-fat dieters are in the works, he said. But he did say, “I do think that people who are keeping the weight off are eating a low-fat, high-carb diet.”

Colette Heimowitz, a nutrition expert and spokeswoman for the Atkins diet organization, noted that the study considered 90 grams to be low-carb, while Atkins recommends 60 grams for weight loss and 60 to 120 for weight maintenance.

She said that for many of the dieters studied, “the carbs aren’t low enough for them to be successful.” They also should have replaced carbs with more protein rather than fat, she said.

Should I Eat Low Fat or Low Carb?

Frankly, I think it’s best to eat what you enjoy, watch portions especially if you eat meals in restaurants, limit treats and get your body moving. The more active you are the better.

Grapefruit Diet Making Comeback

Reported Wednesday in HealthDayNews a grapefruit or two a day may help you lose weight. Ken Fujioka, director of nutrition and metabolism research at the Scripps Clinic in San Diego was the lead author of a study evaluating grapefruit for weight loss. One hundred people were evaluated (not a significant number, BTW), and were dived into four groups: one receiving grapefruit extract, one drinking grapefruit juice with each meal, another eating half a grapefruit with each meal and the last group receiving a placebo. Fujioka further said, “They weren’t trying to diet,” and “To make everyone even [on activity], all were asked to walk 30 minutes three times a week.”

Stop right there for a moment and think about this: In this and similar studies where the effects of eating certain foods are tested, subjects are reporting their own results and compliance. In other words no one is monitoring study participants to see whether they are really eating what they have been asked to eat, or whether they are getting the exercise they have been asked to get. Some may be exercising much MORE than was reported for instance, which would certainly affect results.

The findings at the end of 12 weeks were that the placebo group lost on average just under half a pound. Again, note that this group received no grapefruit, and was asked not to diet but to get 30 minutes of exercise three times a week and they STILL LOST some weight! The group receiving the extract lost 2.4 pounds, the grapefruit juice group lost 3.3 pounds, and the fresh grapefruit group lost 3.5 pounds.

Once again, if the group receiving the grapefruit juice lost 3.3 pounds compared to the group who ate the grapefruit whole at just .2 pounds more, that seems close enough to state that grapefruit is helpful but the extra time and effort to eat the whole fruit isn’t worth it, yet, the study goes on to state additional health benefits derived from eating the whole fruit.

Once again, elaborate studies are required to try and prove what makes good common sense: Eat the foods the earth provides in as close to its natural form as possible and you’ll be the healthiest. Fruits, vegetables, grains in their denatured form (freshly ground wheat as opposed to white flour stripped of all nutrients for instance).

I’m not a health food freak, but I do promote eating more fruit. It’s naturally sweet and delicious (helping with those sugar cravings). Unless you are diabetic or have some other reason to monitor your intake of natural sugars, eating fruit before meals definitely helps in the weight loss game.

“Eat fruit before any meal and you will lose weight,” said Julie Upton, an American Dietetic Association spokeswoman. “The fiber fills you up, and fruit has fewer calories than other foods.” One half a grapefruit has just 60 calories, no fat, and six grams of fiber.

Don’t like naked grapefruit? Sprinkle on Splenda if you must, but eat your grapefruit! Slowly you can wean yourself from the habit of sweetening grapefruit, just use less and less sweetener until one day you say, “My, oh my, it tastes quite delicious just as it is!”

P.S. Certain medications SHOULD NOT be taken at the same time as grapefruit. Be sure to check on any meds you take. A good place to check your meds is Go to “Drug Interactions” use the drop down box to find the drug or drugs you want to check, and make sure the box “Check food interactions” is also checked. For instance the drug Lotrel, prescribed for high blood pressure, states, “Do not significantly increase grapefruit juice intake while taking this drug, or avoid grapefruit juice if possible,” so if taking Lotrel, skip the grapefruit idea. It’s important to always check any medications you take to be sure you don’t reduce their effectiveness by other things you regularly consume.

American Diet: Too Much or Not Enough Protein

What’s Better for Weight Loss: High Protein or Low Fat?
A July 15, 2004 Yahoo News Headline shouts, “American Diet Too Heavy in Meat, Study Finds,” and goes on to state that, “The U.S. Department of Agriculture, the American Heart Association, the American Cancer Society and many other groups routinely advise Americans to eat a plant-based diet, adding only a little meat and low-fat dairy products.”

Er, okay, but what about all the news releases about how the low carb diet works better than the low fat approach? What about that? When will any of this make any sense? It seems to be coming to a head with the low carb diet on one side, and the American Diet too high in meat proponents on the other, and may the best diet, er man, win.

The trouble is, no “diet” will work unless it’s a lifestyle change. The pervasive mentality that “I’m on a diet” is not conducive to long-term weight loss. You must change your mind first, and then the weight loss will folllow. Simply switch from overeating bread to overeating meat is not the answer. Susan Finn, former president of the American Council on Nutrition and Exercise says, “We need to cut down on portion size and get active.” She is not alone.

As a member of the National Registry of Weight Loss I know what’s worked for me (low fat, higher complex carbs), but that doesn’t discount what works for someone else. Many of those listed with the registry (having lost 30 or more pounds and kept it off for at least a year) have had success with different eating plans. The overwhelming majority do exercise regularly so find an activity you like and get moving.

Remember, we are all unique. Pay attention to the headlines, but always keep an open mind. Today’s miracle is tomorrow’s forbidden fruit.