The Atkins-Bashers Are Still Hard At Work – Even After He’s Been Gone This Long They Feel They Must Discredit His Work.
By Dr. Dana Myatt (with preamble and comment by Nurse Mark)
Even though Dr. Robert Atkins died over seven years ago and his diet empire has been subverted and no longer recommends or practices anything of the ketogenic, low-carbohydrate teachings of the late doctor, his detractors will not allow themselves to rest – they endlessly trot out paper after paper, study after study, and book after book, all breathlessly enumerating what they claim to be the failures, the risks, and the -well- the wrongness of “The Atkins Diet.”
Unfortunately, for most of these detractors “The Atkins Diet” has become synonymous with any reduced carbohydrate, protein rich, high fat diet – which in fact is not what Atkins was all about. The anti-Atkins crowd conveniently forgets that “The Atkins Diet” was and is a ketogenic diet – an entirely different and far healthier metabolic state that just happens to quickly result in weight normalization along with a host of other health benefits.
Those opposed to Atkins have a variety of reasons – and often a moral or political axe to grind. Many are rabid vegetarians or vegans who are appalled that Atkins’ plan encouraged the consumption of animal fats and protein. Some cannot imagine a life without carbohydrates. Yet others spout biochemical and medical nonsense that merely demonstrates how many lectures they must have skipped during their medical training.
The latest broadside directed at Atkins came from Dr. Dean Ornish who writes for a news publication called The Huffington Post – Amanda wrote to share his article “Atkins Diet Increases All-Cause Mortality” with us, and to ask about it.
Hi, Dana – after all the positive things I have been reading lately about low carb eating, now this comes out. I would like to get your opinion on it since Paul and I are pretty die-hard low carb eaters. Thanks! Amanda
And Dr. Myatt replied:
“Consider the source.” Dean Ornish is and always has been HIGHLY anti-low-carb and PRO high-carb, plant based diets.
So of course everything he sees and reads will filter through this bias. Also remember that just because something appears in print doesn’t make it true.
Low-carb diets are PROVEN to prevent and even control cancer. (See our page here regarding Dietary Ketosis in The Treatment of Solid Tissue Malignancy).
Low-carb diets are PROVEN to be one of the best methods of “girth control.” (See our page here regarding Dietary Ketosis in the Treatment of Overweight, Obesity and Metabolic Syndrome).
The study cited by Dean Ornish is a rat study. Rats do not typically eat the same diet as humans to begin with. The full study is not available for view without paying, so no one will really be verifying what was said. But reading the abstract, the rats were deliberately fed an “atherogenic” (i.e.: trying to cause atherosclerosis) diet. That’s not the same thing as most humans eating low carb for weight control. Here is the link to the New England Journal of Medicine where the article can be found: http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMcibr0908756
Further, the diet was “low carb” but NOT ketogenic. This makes all the difference in the world.
A lot of people eating high animal fat foods are in fact “kinda low carb” but not ketogenic. What this means is that they are simply eating a high-fat diet, and yes, this can have negative repercussions. “Close” only counts in horse shoes, hand grenades and slow-dancing!
Eating low carb without at least a mild degree of ketosis, especially if the diet is high in fat, can cause problems. But a diet high in animal fats that is also mildly ketogenic is a whole different ball game.
In addition to the above articles on our website, here are a few medical papers I just happen to have open on my desk-top from some research I am doing. They are just three of several hundreds of medical references, most in people not in rats, that prove the safety and efficacy of a ketogenic diet.
Medical Reference 1
Arch Latinoam Nutr. 2008 Dec;58(4):323-9.
[Ketogenic diets: additional benefits to the weight loss and unfounded secondary effects] [Article in Spanish]
Pérez-Guisado J. Departamento de Medicina, Facultad de Medicina, Universidad de Córdoba, Córdoba, España.
It is also necessary to emphasize that as well as the weight loss, ketogenic diets are healthier because they promote a non-atherogenic lipid profile, lower blood pressure and diminish resistance to insulin with an improvement in blood levels of glucose and insulin. Such diets also have antineoplastic benefits, do not alter renal or liver functions, do not produce metabolic acidosis by Ketosis, have many neurological benefits in central nervous system, do not produce osteoporosis and could increase the performance in aerobic sports.
Medical Reference 2
Am J Clin Nutr. 2007 Aug;86(2):276-84.
Low-carbohydrate nutrition and metabolism.
Westman EC, Feinman RD, Mavropoulos JC, Vernon MC, Volek JS, Wortman JA, Yancy WS, Phinney SD. Department of Medicine, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC 27704, USA.
The persistence of an epidemic of obesity and type 2 diabetes suggests that new nutritional strategies are needed if the epidemic is to be overcome. A promising nutritional approach suggested by this thematic review is carbohydrate restriction. Recent studies show that, under conditions of carbohydrate restriction, fuel sources shift from glucose and fatty acids to fatty acids and ketones, and that ad libitum-fed carbohydrate-restricted diets lead to appetite reduction, weight loss, and improvement in surrogate markers of cardiovascular disease.
Medical Reference 3
Obes Rev. 2006 Feb;7(1):49-58.
Low-carbohydrate diets: nutritional and physiological aspects.
Adam-Perrot A, Clifton P, Brouns F. Cerestar R&D Vilvoorde Center, Havenstraat 84, 1800 Vilvoorde, Belgium.
Comment in: Obes Rev. 2006 Aug;7(3):297; author reply 297-8.
Recently, diets low in carbohydrate content have become a matter of international attention because of the WHO recommendations to reduce the overall consumption of sugars and rapidly digestible starches. One of the common metabolic changes assumed to take place when a person follows a low-carbohydrate diet is ketosis. Low-carbohydrate intakes result in a reduction of the circulating insulin level, which promotes high level of circulating fatty acids, used for oxidation and production of ketone bodies. It is assumed that when carbohydrate availability is reduced in short term to a significant amount, the body will be stimulated to maximize fat oxidation for energy needs. The currently available scientific literature shows that low-carbohydrate diets acutely induce a number of favorable effects, such as a rapid weight loss, decrease of fasting glucose and insulin levels, reduction of circulating triglyceride levels and improvement of blood pressure. On the other hand some less desirable immediate effects such as enhanced lean body mass loss, increased urinary calcium loss, increased plasma homocysteine levels, increased low-density lipoprotein-cholesterol have been reported. The long-term effect of the combination of these changes is at present not known. The role of prolonged elevated fat consumption along with low-carbohydrate diets should be addressed. However, these undesirable effects may be counteracted with consumption of a low-carbohydrate, high-protein, low-fat diet, because this type of diet has been shown to induce favorable effects on feelings of satiety and hunger, help preserve lean body mass, effectively reduce fat mass and beneficially impact on insulin sensitivity and on blood lipid status while supplying sufficient calcium for bone mass maintenance.
Bottom-line: Keep eating low-carb and stop reading Dean Ornish!
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