Ridiculed high-fat, low-carb Atkins diet gaining respect

Associated Press
Feb. 16, 2003

Is it just possible that Dr. Robert C. Atkins was right? That his high-fat, low-carb plan, ridiculed for 30 years as dangerous nonsense, actually is a good, safe way to lose weight?

New Atkins diet research defies 30 years of dogma
The dietary elite is not ready to change its collective mind, but a half-dozen or so new studies have taken an objective look at the presumed evils of Atkins, and the results have been little short of astonishing.

The studies found that after a few months, people lose about twice as much weight than those low-fat diets despite consuming more calories and without seeming to add to their risk of heart attack.

The studies say nothing about how much people lose when they stay on Atkins more than a few months, whether they keep the weight off and whether cholesterol rebounds when they stop losing weight.

The experiments were short and small. Taken together, they undermine much of what mainstream medicine has long assumed about the Atkins diet.

The medical world has been almost unanimous: A diet pushing meat, eggs and cheese and discouraging bread, rice and fruit is bad; a diet of carbohydrates and lower fat is good.

Still, three decades of dietary gospel are in doubt, and those questioning it include prominent names in obesity research.

The North American Association for the Study of Obesity set out to show that the Atkins diet doesn't work. Researchers saw their subjects lose an average of 10 more pounds than people on the high-carb approach. But they were shocked to see that their good cholesterol rose and their triglycerides dropped, while low-carb dieters' numbers didn't budge.

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