Friday, February 23, 2007

The truth about Atkins

Due to people being too afraid to sign their names to anonymous messages, you must now have a Blogger login to comment. I have tried my best to be patient, but most anonymous commenters can't even type their name. If you can't type your name, don't type a message!

Ok, on to the topic of the post.


There seems to be some major misunderstandings about Atkins and weight loss. I'm home with a cold and PMSing, so don't take any terseness in my tone personally. There's been a nasty cold going around my church and I finally caught it. Everyone else has already had it.

First, if your friend got sick "doing Atkins," then trust me, he was not "doing Atkins." A lot of people take what they see in the media as the gospel truth about the program (and sometimes try to copy it ), always with disasterous results. I'll bet he never read the book and probably didn't eat any fruits or veggies.

Atkins is a healthy program full of fruits and vegetables. The media won't tell you that, but read the book - it's all there. Do you believe what PETA says (and the media reports) that Dr. Atkins died of a heart attack? It's not true. He slipped on the ice while walking to work in a late Spring snowstorm in New York City. He hit his head, his brain swelled, the doctors tried to reduce the swelling by pumping him full of steroids (that caused massive water retention), but he died a week later. His widow, Veronica, is still alive and healthy and carrying on his legacy. Do a Google search on her name.

I eat way more fruits and veggies than ever before - way more than the "five a day" the goverment says to eat. My diet is primarily fruits, veggies, meat, and some dairy. What is unhealthy about that? I've been eating this way for three years and still haven't gotten sick (other than the occational cold). All my blood tests have come back normal. Additionally, my adult acne cleared up and I no longer get eczema flare-ups.

By the way, avacados, tomatoes, lemons, limes, and cucumbers are all fruits. A fruit does not have to be packed full of sugar to be a fruit. People on Atkins focus on non-sweet fruits.

Second, simply eating to satiety doesn't work for me. I take a medication with a side effect of weight gain. It does this by making me hungry 24/7. In fact, it's the reason I gained 40 pounds and went on Atkins to begin with. Try losing weight on a med that makes you gain! Here's a photo of my little weight gaining pills. Going off the medication isn't an option. I wish it were.


Third, my recent weight gain is simply from eating too much. Someone suggested that I was eating too little and lowering my metabolism. Since I wasn't losing I decided to give it a try. I ate a little more and promptly started gaining. I have to go hungry just to maintain, no matter what diet I am on.

Carbs and me do not get along. I am at risk for diabetes and carbs will only hasten that on. I have seen what a high carb diet has done to my diabetic Dad and I don't want his fate to happen to me. He's burned out most of the beta cells in his pancreas. I'd like to be kind to mine so I don't end up the same way.

Fourth, men lose easier than women. You naturally have a higher muscle mass and lower fat percentage than women. You can eat more and still lose. If a man and woman weighting the same go on the same diet, the man will lose more weight faster. That's just basic physiology. Women are cursed that way.

Fifth, I exercise. I've been a regular at the gym for over three years now. As the Atkins book says, "Exercise is a non-negotiable." If you are not exercising, you are not doing Atkins.

If you want to know what Atkins is about read the book or go to the Web site: But please don't disparage a program that you only know about through the media and a friend who didn't have a clue how to do the program right.

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Anonymous said...

I do believe, like so many others, that Atkins was unhealthy, he was overweight. Plain and simple. His "diet", like so many others, is caloric restrictrive, and that is why people can lose weight. There is no magic pill, no magic diet....if you don't exercise and eat right the weight will pile on whether or not you eat meat or not eat meat. Why are you so hung up on meat eaters vs vegetable eaters? Eating sensibly is what really matters here. No salt, no sugar, no saturated fats...look up saturated fats, my dear, MEAT, is disgusting and harmful to the human body and is ethically wrong in the eyes of God. Head cover all you want, when you do finally meet your maker explain to him how you can eat cow, pig, chicken and will God understand your reasoning? Do you? Explain please....

Fat Victoria said...

Ah, a religious PETA zealot. The truth won't matter to you. Atkins wasn't overweight. His INTAKE papers at the hospital prove that. His outtake paper don't matter, only what he weighed when he was taken TO the hospital. But PETA won't tell you that, will they? Of course not.

And I'm not hung up on meat vs. veggie. I eat both. God created everything to be enjoyed "with Thanksgiving."

Cindy said... angry religious PETA zealot!!!

Mr anonymous (I love people that don't have to guts to log in with their real name!), please read these pages from The Smoking Gun:

As a nurse with over 30 years of experience, including several years in ICU, CCU and ER, I can tell you that it is not uncommon for people to gain large amounts of weight after an injury like Dr Atkins. Here's how it works. As the brain fails, the organs begin to shut down. Kidneys are often the first to go....and in an attempt to stop this, "fluid challenges" are given to try and keep the kidneys working. A fluid challenge is when a fairly large amount of fluid (200-500 ml) is given in an attempt to keep the kidneys working. Unfortunately, this often doesn't work and the fluid is retained....often subcutaneously (under the skin) where it's difficult to remove, but not life-threatening. The challenges are often given repeatedly, sometimes resulting in massive weight gain. Personally I have seen people "gain" 10-20 pounds in just a 24hr period.

Now, Dr Atkins DID have a history of cardiac problems, but NOT coronary artery disease. He had a condition called cardiomyopathy, which in his case was the result of an infection he'd contracted several years before his death. This infection was completely unrelated to diet, exercise, or anything else that a person can control.

I'm not going to address the religious aspect of eating meat or not eating meat....that's more Victoria's area than mine. As for the health aspects of eating meat? Meat is very good for us. We evolbed eating fact most anthropologists agree that when we began eating animal proteins is when we experienced a dramatic increase in brain size and were able to learn to develop weapons, tame fire, and progress in other ways that eventually lead to the advances we see today.

I personally don't care if anyone eats meat or not. Heck I don't care if you eat fruits and vegetables or not!!! You can live on chips and beer for all I care!!! But saying that meat is unhealthy is just plain inaccurate.

People that correctly follow the Atkins plan, or Protein Power, or The Zone, or South Beach, or any other low carb plan eat a variety of fresh, natural, unprocessed (or minimally processed) foods. They also exercise, often more than they have in their lives. (again, Atkins, Sears, Agatston all note in their books that exercise is ESSENTIAL) These people find that their blood lipid profiles improve dramatically, most notable are increases in HDL (good) cholesterol and decreases in Triglycerides. They also find that their blood sugar and blood insulin levels drop, their blood pressure drops, and various inflammation markers decrease. Most of these people are not looking for a quick fix or magic pill, but are looking for a way to loose weight and become healthier.

You are, of course, entitled to your opinion, but arguing your point of view will hold a lot more weight (no pun intended) if you start by getting your facts right.

carron said...

PETA? How ignorant that you are so blinkered to believe my opinions are formed by PETA? Did you read that somewhere FAT? My opinions are formed by research that shows conclusively that the leading source of colon cancer is consumption of red meat; try looking that up eh? One of the leading causes of global warming, and the world we leave for our children, is consumption of meat. Did you know that it takes 85X the amount of resources to produce 1lb of meat than it does to produce 1lb of grain? Again, I implore you to look that up, or is your head buried in the sand?
Oh yes, and as for man developing more brain power by eating meat....please do show where this documented!!! The rights and wrongs of eating the flesh of living creatures are indisputable, indeed many ANIMAL LOVERS eat meat. How can they be animal lovers when they murder and eat animals they claim to love? Oh yeah, its not cats and dogs is it? That makes it alright. Well one the ignorant barbarians of this world. BTW I work in cardiac care, and understand the danger of meat eating. Do not try to bullshit me with half truths and lies...back up what you say, or keep quiet.

Sparky's Girl said...

ROLF!!!!! I'm dying here.. I'm laughing so hard I can't breath! Oh wait.. maybe I'm dying from all the meat in my diet...

Yep.. it was the meat. Got choked on a bite of steak.

carron said...

not worthy of a response sparky's girls..hope u get that meat outta ur throat...let's bring back the argument rather than a throw a way comment...not able to?

Sweet Tart said...

No one is going to change Carron's mind:-).

I know that I am much healthier and happier following Dr. Atkin's plan. Thanks for addressing the media myths and fabrications Victoria.

Fat Victoria said...

Thanks, Sweet Tart. I'm much heathier and happier, too. I think Carron is likely deficient in B-12 - a vitamin only found in foods of animal origin, mostly meat. So is eating meat good for brain power? Only if you want to get B-12 without resorting to a supplement. We need B-12, it's found only in animal foods (mostly meat), so yeah, I think God intended us to eat meat or he wouldn't have made our bodies to need B-12.

And too much folic acid (from a vegatarian/vegan diet) is bad also.

Ah, low-carbers have science on their side.

Fat Victoria said...

Re: Saturated fat: It's not bad. Try some science instead of opinion.


Steve Phinney, M.D., Ph.D., gave the other presentation I found most interesting. He and Jeff Volek, Ph.D., from UConn, randomized subjects with Metabolic Syndrome into two groups of 20 who went on diets containing the same number of calories but different amounts of carbohydrate. One group went on a low-carbohydrate, high-fat diet (LCHF); the other on a low-fat, high-carb diet (LFHC). The researchers were looking to see if the carbohydrate content of the diet had any influence on the amount of saturated fat in the blood.

The researchers calculated that the subjects on the LCHF diet consumed about three times as much saturated fat as those on the LFHC diet. Upon examining the blood after 12 weeks on the two diets, it was found that the subjects on the LCHF diet had a 57% decrease in the amount of saturated fat over the course of the study compared to those on the LFHC diets, who decreased the saturated fat content of their blood by only 24%. A three fold increase in dietary saturated fat when taken as part of a low-carb diet reduced the amount of saturated fat in the blood by a factor of 2.

Steve and Jeff also measured the degree of decrease in palmitoleic acid (PA) in the two groups. PA is a marker for endogenous (inside the self) lipogenesis (new fat making). In other words more PA in a subject means that the liver of that subject is making more fat from carbohydrate.

Over the course of the study, subjects on the LCHF diet decreased the amount of PA in their triglycerides (the transport and storage structure of fat) by 32% whereas those on the LFHC diet didn’t reduce their levels of PA at all. In measuring the amount of PA in the cholesterol esters (cholesterol esters are a transport and storage form of cholesterol in which the cholesterol is attached to a fatty acid by an ester (a type of chemical attachment) bond.) it turned out that the subjects on the LCHF diet reduced the amount of PA in their cholesterol esters by 44% while those on the LFHC diet reduced theirs by only 1%.

The conclusion of the researchers was that with decreased carb intake there is better processing of the saturated fat load. In other words, those on the LCHF diet, despite eating three times more saturated fat, burned it off much better than those on the LFHC diet. And those following the LCHF diet made much less fat than those on the LFHC diet.

These results show what we’ve all known for a long time. As long as one keeps the carbs under control, it doesn’t seem to matter much how much saturated fat is consumed. It all gets dealt with by the body in harmless ways.

Kim Ayres said...

Woah, looks like I stumbled into a raging argument here. When I mentioned my friend becoming ill on Atkins, I was just passing on what he told me. It was out of concern and not condemnation.

Fat Victoria said...


I had no idea my post would start such a firestorm! But it only takes one rabid vegetarian to do that.

My concern was only to put the truth out about what Atkins really is and about because there is so much misinformation taken for fact, especially in the media.

I do stand by what I said. If your friend got sick he either had a serious unlying condition he didn't know about, or he was doing it wrong. In my experience, the latter is most usually correct.

Sparky's Girl said...

LOL.. Wow.. I guess vegetarian's don't have a sense of humor either.

I don't argue about this anymore. I've argued for years and it's a waste of time. And I'm not even touching the whole meat is a sin thing. I'm certainly not going to take biblical advice from someone who uses that kind of language.

Arthur_of_Old said...


Please understand, God does not restrict meat to humans by the law of God. Neither does He place animals on the plane of humanity. Animals were created for service to man. As sinners we do abuse them. This is not to say we will not be held accountable for abusiveness to them. Yet, they are for food and service as necessary and right. We must take care of them with care and concern for their welfare, as they contribute to ours. Give as take.There is an order to God's world, and it is set and non-negotiable.

God commanded animals killed and eaten in accord to His law. To represent death of the innocent for the sinful. That is a picture concerning Jesus of Nazareth's death upon the tree. Accursed for His people which He named before the foundation of the World.

Are you in the assumption that God thinks like you and you speak for Him? You may think yourself right for your stance. However, is it truly right? Do we honor the Creator's way, or our own. Read the Bible. It will contradict you. IT is right and we are wrong. Its way is equal and true, ours unequal and untrue. You are commanded by God to read it daily and speak it correctly. You must go to the Word and find your errors. I too am guilty by its decrees and must seek it daily!!

We must all be careful when saying "Thus says the Lord" when speaking as an Ambassador. IF you are an ambassador, you will speak as one. Not divisively or derogatorily. But, in peace and civility showing mercy. This is the way of God.

As to the Atkins diet, it is healthy and, though good, not for all. For those the Atkins diet works well, good. IF not, choose another. No need to debase one for whom it works, nor to say they are foolish and hurting themselves. Move on, pride may lead to hurting someone or attacking. Why do this? Question is, did you come to help, or did you come to show your superior knowledge? Pride is a deceitful thing. Comes at times dressed as an angel of help. If you get angry easily at an opposing view, pride is working in you. Peace to you and yours. Speak peace and end strife.

Do not think I am against you nor find you contemptable. You are as I. That is, we need to see correctly what God says vs. what we think. The only way to do this is read the Bible. It is God's Word and will judge us on the last day. Best to know what God charges, and what remedies there are available. You'll only find it there. Not in the Q'ran, nor Mohammed or any other religion or discipline. Salvation is of the Jews and came by Jesus Christ. The Bible is the only truth that leads to salvation of God. Shalom
Psalm 37
Jehovah Jireh the provider of all.

cass said...

also just wanted to say, every diet has some pitfalls. i take supplements to balance out my diet, just like you do. it includes vitamin b12, and other things that i want to be sure to get enough of. another good source of b12 is in cereals, which are often fortified with b12, additionally soymilk is often fortified with it.

everyone should take supplements. as you've said, even the perfect diet probably requires a daily supplement due to the depletion of soil these days.

just wanted to defend myself. i really don't see the need for any person (vegetarian or not) to attack another person's attempt at being healthy. if you are making a solid attempt, you are probably doing a lot better than most americans these days. regardless of your religion or lifestlye.

cass said...

huh. i wrote a much longer comment but it seems something happened to it. darn it, i worked so hard on it.

just wanted to say, i am a vegetarian, and we are not the same. i am also a type 1 diabetic. and, i am very careful following the GI, and eat smart when it comes to carbs. i don't know what is considered LOW, but i eat about 35% carbs, 33% protein, and 32% fat a day. this is just an average from looking at the graphs of my fitday chart, which, thank you victoria, was another idea i got from reading your blog.

although for me, eating meat is not something i will ever entertain, i have read your blog, found that eating less carbs is not by any means unhealthy, and that getting carbs mainly from veggies and fruits is a great idea. i have greatly reduced other types of carbs like rice and bread. not really to lose weight as much as to help me manage my bg.

in defense of vegetarian diets, i have plenty of energy, i work out. i run 4-5k a day. i do strength training and i have a pretty good muscle mass these days. i am especially proud when i go to a weight machine that a man has just finished using, and have to increase the weight to more than what he was lifting! well, this generally doesn't happen on upper body machines, but my legs, back, and abdomen are pretty strong!!!

i have good cholesterol. a GREAT blood pressure. low triglicerides. other blood work is also good. and that is not something that is easy, especially for a type 1 diabetic. higher sugar tends to effect your cholesterol and triglycerides, regardless of what you eat. i know this because when i have had a bad few months of high sugars, my blood test will come back with a higher cholesterol and higher triglycerides, even though i consume minimal amounts of meat and eggs, etc.

i just wanted to say, it is possible for a person to be a vegetarian, eat low carb, and high protein. and hey, protein from vegetables is especially highly praised by the american diabetes association as well as the american heart association, and many other studies. in order to get full proteins, i eat a lot of tofu, tempeh, and soy based products daily. these are readily available, and even a meat lover would benefit from occasionally eating them! you should at least try it, i am telling you, a lot of the stuff is NOT what you might imagine tofu to be like, it tastes surprisingly delicious!!! seriously.

check out these, which are some of my favorite products to buy when i don't have time to cook. high in protein!!!
don't knock it till you try it!

also, a friend i went to highschool with is a vegan bodybuilder. just to prove that there are many types of successful diets out there.

everyone has their own method, and as long as you are really making an effort to eat healthy, you are most likely doing SOOOO much better than most americans!!!

cass said...

oh, one more thing. one comment i made may have been confusing so i wanted to be clear. i don't consume any meat or fish of any kind. but, i do eat foods with eggs in them (although i don't keep eggs in the house, and i don't eat very many foods that have eggs in them). i also eat foods with milk in them (although i keep soymilk in the house and always cook with that)

so, technically, i am a lacto-ovo vegetarian.

that's all.

Fat Victoria said...


I wouldn't call 35% carbs a high carb diet at all. It's lower than what the Zone diet recommends. Most programs tell you to eat 55% carbs.

Oh...I also use soy milk. Soy Slender has a great low carb chocolate milk that tastes good in just about anything, and has fewer calories than even skim milk. I never use real milk due to the sugar (lactose) content. I also think tofu tastes good. :)

I like fake meat, like boca burgers. One guy at church brings in a fake chicken dish sometimes and I always like it when he does. :)