The Atkins Diet May not Be So Bad

October 17, 2009

You May Not be at Risk with Atkins After All? 

 Competency #2: DASH OMNI and Other Evidence Based Diets Reference:  American Journal Clinical Nutrition 2008:87: 567-76 Keogh et al from Adelaide, Australia. (Published Yesterday!) 

 Atkins must be bad for you!  I’ve told everyone that for years.  It can’t possibly be okay to eat all that saturated fat.  That message is deeply engrained in all of our standard teachings.  Ask any sober medical person and you will get that cautious, but firm answer.  And we have data to prove it.  We can show you studies that demonstrate fancy terms that will just blow you away with medical shock and awe.  “Flow-mediated dilatation”.  “Pulse wave velocity”.  How about those two?  If that’s not enough, we bring out E- and P-selectin, intracellular adhesion, tissue-type plasminogen activator. Adiponectin.  These are really great Big Boggle terms.  Worth at least 40 points next time you play Scrabble. 

 Those are all various measures that we have used as we study the effect of saturated fats on your arteries.  And they have shown in the past that a one-time meal results in “bad effects” from saturated fat.  After a high-fat meal, your arteries show poor FMD (“Flow-mediated dilatation”). We do know that obesity is associated with arteries that don’t stretch well with a pulse wave moving down (FMD).  That’s associated with coronary artery disease.  FMD is not WMD, like in Iraq, but just about as bad for you and me. 

 Dr. Keogh and her team looked at weight-loss diets.  What they found was that a low carb diet resulted in much better weight loss than a low-fat diet, and had no bad effect on any of the endothelial markers.  Arteries got better with weight loss.  Period.  And more weight was lost with low carb diets.  This is a very big crack in the wall.  We now have a serious challenge to the dogma.  A low-carb diet works for weight loss. We have to look back to 1930 when Dr. Donaldson in New York City treated 17,000 obese folks with a very simple diet.  6 oz of porterhouse steak with two oz of added fat, 3 times a day.  No carbs.  Everyone lost weight.  No one complained of being hungry.  He said the only failures were those who couldn’t stop the carbs.  That was WAY before Atkins.  Let me repeat.  Everyone lost weight, no bad side effects.  (Clue: no one ate FRUCTOSE either.  Remember that) 

WWW: What will work for me?  Oh, dear.  I have to change my tune.  I’ve been an Anti-Atkins guy for years.  Data is hard to swallow.  But this is good data.  And people lost weight.  I gained three pounds over delicious, luscious spring break.  So, back to the scales.  I’m off carbs this week.  And eggs, yogurt, cheese, meat and raw veges and fruit is all I’m eating.  No white carbs.  My shock and awe was the scales.  Time to bring out the FMD data and get back on track.  Could it be the fructose?  What about the omega fats?

The column was written by Dr. John E Whitcomb, Brookfield Longevity, Brookfield, WI. (262-784-5300)