Death of the Atkins Diet

Many of you will have heard of the Atkins Diet. Dr Robert Atkins was an overweight doctor in the late 60’s who was frustrated because every diet he tried ended in disappointment. He always regained the weight. In desperation he tried eating only animal protein foods- meat, eggs, fish, chicken, cheese etc and cut out all carbohydrates- bread, cereals, fruit, rice, potatoes, corn and other starchy vegetables. Abracadabra! He lost weight and kept it off for a number of years. Because he lost weight he extrapolated that this regime was the answer to the world’s health problems.

This was the genesis of one of the most popular selling diet book in history. And the most dangerous! I read his first book- The Atkins Diet- in the early 70’s and was amazed then that many people would give credence to it. One statement that jumped out at me when I read the book was enough to convince me that the good doctor’s claims were not to be taken seriously. Back to that later. However, most authorities at the time savaged the book and it faded out of mainstream consciousness until it resurfaced again in the late 90’s under the name The Dr Atkins New Diet Revolution. It went gangbusters! Some Hollywood celebrities endorsed it after losing weight and the world went crazy for it. It led to the low-carb, high- protein fad which spawned subsequent best sellers like The South Beach Diet and The CSIRO Diet. The new book quickly sold 15 million copies and was followed by a plethora of Atkins low carb, high- protein foodstuffs and a range of Atkins vitamins and minerals. Atkins Nutritionals Inc. became a multi- hundred million dollar enterprise.To