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NickP

What Consumer Reports said about the Atkins Diet

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NickP

When I got the latest CR magazine, I was intrigued to see how they rated my diet. No surprise, the Atkins diet was rated nearly dead last (the Ornish Diet was worse). The diet was rated poorly, since the "nutrionist" who graded it gave it very low marks on percentage of fat, percentage of carbs, and percentage of protein. Now...I can understand why the standard RD's would give the Atkins diet low marks in Fat and Carbs....but why would the diet get low marks for advocating moderate protein???? Maybe the judges did not understand the diet at all? Or, were just so slanted, that they would make the outcome what they wanted?

 

Next beef with CR...they rated Jenny Craig the best diet. Why? Because according to CR Jenny Craig had the best retention and best weight loss of the programs. According to the article, 92 percent of participants were able to stick with a Jenny Craig program for two years while maintaining an average weight loss of more than 8 percent of their initial body weight. Now, CR quotes these numbers from an AMA study.....guess to who paid for that study?.....Would you be surprised to learn it was Jenny Craig.

 

Does anyone actually believe that any diet has a 92% retention after two years? Really?

 

NOW FOR THE INTERESTING PART.....

 

Well, if you take time to read the article, whatever person wrote the article certainly did not work with the individual that graded the diets. CR actually had some positive things to say about the Atkins Diet. Please read this quote:

 

The 2010 edition of the U.S. Dietary Guidelines for Americans, which we’ve used as the basis for the diets’ nutrition Ratings (available to subscribers), still frowns on eating 10 percent or more of calories from saturated fat from meat and dairy products and more than 35 percent from fats overall. So the Atkins diet, which is 64 percent fat calories overall and 18 percent saturated fat, ends up with only a Fair nutrition score.

 

But there’s more to the story. Evidence is accumulating that refined carbohydrates promote weight gain and type 2 diabetes through their effects on blood sugar and insulin. “If you have insulin resistance, your insulin may go up to 10 or 20 times normal in order to control your blood sugar after you eat sugar or carbs,” says Eric C. Westman, M.D., an associate professor of medicine at Duke University who co-wrote the newest version of the Atkins diet. “But the insulin also tells your body to make and store fat. When you restrict carbs, your insulin goes down and you can burn your body fat, so you eat fewer calories and aren’t as hungry.”

 

Isn’t it dangerous to eat so much fat? That’s still a subject of vigorous scientific debate, but it’s clear that fat is not the all-round villain we’ve been taught it is. Several epidemiology studies have found that saturated fat doesn’t seem to increase people’s risk of cardiovascular disease or stroke.

 

Moreover, clinical studies have found that an Atkins or Atkins-like diet not only doesn’t increase heart-disease risk factors but also actually reduces them as much as or more than low-fat, higher-carb diets that produce equivalent weight loss.

 

 

Wow....I am stunned. It takes a lot to get a "conservative" publication to actually write this....the progress is slow....but it is coming.....

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Daytona

I was disappointed when I saw the results of CR's article. I heard that most of the diet studies were performed or funded by the respective diet advocates. What stood out about the Jenny Craig study is that they paid for all the JC food. It's not a fair playing field when one of the studies cheated by providing free food.

 

I don't get what's so hard about doing a real scientific diet study? We have had advice thrown at us from all sides for decades but whenever the subject of doing long term controlled studies on the competing approaches, it's nothing but excuses about how it would be prohibitively expensive, difficult, would take too long, etc. Sure I can see that a double blind randomized trial isn't feasible. However, if the government thinks it's important enough to tell everyone how to eat, it should be important enough to perform rigorous studies to ensure that the right message is being communicated.

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NoraWI

Excuse me! But what makes you think the government is interested in telling people how to eat in a *healthy* manner? The government has always been interested in promoting the agricultural/grain sector... that's BIG business! From the unhealthy "food pyramid" to the indoctrination of doctors and dietitians and other "health" providers, patient health has NOT been a priority. Jenny Craig paid for a "study" that favors it and pharmaceuticals pay for "studies" that favor the safety and efficacy of their products, products they advertise on television! Our health system has been totally corrupted to favor manufacturers. Consumer well-being is nowhere in sight! So what else in new...?

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foxl

CR is not govt though ... and let's face it, they make their living by rating "new, improved," products! If things did not get promoted and upgraded, they would be outta jobs.

 

I quit listening to them years ago. There are far more grass-roots" ratings forums out there, and sometimes the people comemnting are quite knowledgable!

 

Like, say, here!

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mjrc64

Funny that they favor the diet that requires purchasing pre-packaged processed diet meals. Most of the other diets(mentioned in the excerpt by the OP) require you just purchase some whole foods....

 

mi-

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art

it didn't rate Atkin's as a diet for diatetics.

That would be a whole different animal.

 

Art

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jwags

I also find it strange that they recomend diets with pre packaged processed foods that are very expensive. I don't do specifically Atkins but a combo of different low carb diets with my own tweaks. The reason mine is successful is because it is not a diet but a lifestyle way of eating. That is what they don't understand. Any diet you use for a few months to lose weight , will be successful until you stop it. How many people could afford to be on Jenny Craig, Nurtrisystem for years. I was not overweight at dx around 148. After 4 years of low carb I am 118, my weight in college. So that is more like a 20% loss that I have kept off . I plan to stay on this WOE the rest of my life. I also think any commercial organization whether it is Consumer Reports, the ADA, Diabetic Living Magazine will promote the foods of their advertisers.

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bardley
:confused:...okay, let me jump in here and provide you with an African perspective on diets. Where I live, we don't have frozen food, processed foods, or the fast food distractions that you may live with in America. In some ways, I suppose that this is a great thing as by necessity, my diet consists of fresh produce and meats every day. Atkins diet? What is this and excuse my ignorance by why buy expensive pre-packaged/pre-cooked food-like items when your stores are full of a hugely wide variety of great vegetables and fish? Why not just take the time to make your own fresh veggies, salads, and olive oil-based salad dressing? Where I come, we eat what's available today and hoard a bit when something special may be available.

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jwags

The Atkins diet is basically a low carb, high protein diet. It is basically what you described. It is basically protein, fat and carbs from veggies. When you are in a maintenance stage you can add more fruits. Before diabetes I ate what I thought was a very healthy diet, lots of whole grains, fruits, soy products and no fat. Well that diet gave me diabetes. So now I have added in more meat, eggs and cheese to my diet.

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samorgan

Excuse my ignorance, but I haven't read Atkins in detail and probably will not since I really don't need any "help" with how to eat. But, is Atkins really "high-protein"? That wasn't my impression. Did this change between Atkins v1 and v2? Do they recommend a particular percentage of calories from protein and if so, what is it? I thought Atkins was more like what I do: low-carb, SAME protein with the difference going to fat. I also noticed a lot of the fear-mongering about Atkins in the early days focusing on very high protein as dangerous - and then getting dismissed for that reason. There are other diets which advocate that but I didn't think Atkins was one of them.

 

I started out thinking 30% of calories from protein was good because I read some study where diabetics ate C:20;P30;F50 and got excellent results and good reductions in A1C. I did that for a while thinking that 30% was "normal". It didn't give me very good BG control and later I discovered that 30% was abnormally high. The average American eats only 15% calories from protein and the upper end of "recommended" protein from the folks who recommend is 21%. Now, I keep it between 12 and 20% usually right around 15.

 

Please someone who has read Atkins in detail fill me in here. Thanks.

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jwags

I haven't read the book in years but it has changed a little. If you go to their website it explains the 4 phases and the carb level. It actually allows more carbs than I normally eat. I prefer Bernsteins approach with basically unlimited fats. I think the Atkins pushes lean protein and limits your fats.

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samorgan

So, it doesn't get specific about how much protein?

 

I haven't read the book in years but it has changed a little. If you go to their website it explains the 4 phases and the carb level. It actually allows more carbs than I normally eat. I prefer Bernsteins approach with basically unlimited fats. I think the Atkins pushes lean protein and limits your fats.

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jwags

I was surprise to see the carbs ( starches and fruits) they do allow in Phase 3 and 4. I think the big difference in the low carb diets we do as Diabetics is we are doing this for our health, not just to lose a few pounds. I think we have a much stronger incentive to stay on low carb. Before diabetes I did different diets but would always gain the weight back eventually because I would slip back into bad habits. My BG meter doesn't allow me to do that.

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NickP
I haven't read the book in years but it has changed a little. If you go to their website it explains the 4 phases and the carb level. It actually allows more carbs than I normally eat. I prefer Bernsteins approach with basically unlimited fats. I think the Atkins pushes lean protein and limits your fats.

 

Negative...the Atkins diet does NOT push lean protein. Atkins is a High Fat, Moderate Protein, Low Carb diet....

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NickP

 

Hey modcarb....thanks for sharing the link!

 

However, this is NOT the Atkins diet. This is the commercial Atkins product line that Dr Atkins sold off about 10 years ago. IMHO, these products are cr@p and I would definitely recommend avoiding them

 

It is easy to be confused by this. The groundbreaking work by Dr Atkins is being carried on by his foundation and Dr Eric Westman from Duke University. The latest book is titled The New Atkins for a New You.

 

Please realize that there are many that (improperly) use the Atkins name to describe many different things. You would think that a Low Carb forum would have a stronger appreciation for his life's work and dedication. We all owe a lot to Dr Atkins!

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modcarb
Hey modcarb....thanks for sharing the link!

 

However, this is NOT the Atkins diet. This is the commercial Atkins product line that Dr Atkins sold off about 10 years ago. IMHO, these products are cr@p and I would definitely recommend avoiding them

 

It is easy to be confused by this. The groundbreaking work by Dr Atkins is being carried on by his foundation and Dr Eric Westman from Duke University. The latest book is titled The New Atkins for a New You.

 

Please realize that there are many that (improperly) use the Atkins name to describe many different things. You would think that a Low Carb forum would have a stronger appreciation for his life's work and dedication. We all owe a lot to Dr Atkins!

 

Nick,

This is a genuine Atkins site that lists two weeks of menu suggestions in the new induction site. It does list "on the go" ideas, but it also gives menus with recipes. I checked the link and it is genuine and from the new Atkins book.

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DeusXM

[flamebait]

 

However, this is NOT the Atkins diet. This is the commercial Atkins product line that Dr Atkins sold off about 10 years ago. IMHO, these products are cr@p and I would definitely recommend avoiding them

 

It is easy to be confused by this. The groundbreaking work by Dr Atkins is being carried on by his foundation and Dr Eric Westman from Duke University. The latest book is titled The New Atkins for a New You.

 

Please realize that there are many that (improperly) use the Atkins name to describe many different things. You would think that a Low Carb forum would have a stronger appreciation for his life's work and dedication. We all owe a lot to Dr Atkins!

 

And people wonder why I compare some low-carbers to religous zealots....doesn't this sound EXACTLY like the sort of arguments you hear between religions over insignificant points of doctrine? "My god's bigger and better than your god"?

 

[/flamebait]

 

Apologies, this is supposed to be slightly tongue-in-cheek but come on....

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modcarb
[flamebait]

 

 

 

And people wonder why I compare some low-carbers to religous zealots....doesn't this sound EXACTLY like the sort of arguments you hear between religions over insignificant points of doctrine? "My god's bigger and better than your god"?

 

[/flamebait]

 

Apologies, this is supposed to be slightly tongue-in-cheek but come on....

 

Love it. (also tongue in cheek)

 

The site I posted is based on the new book. I was researching the new book and found the site, which is an interactive way of using their menus and diet plan. Yes it sells the products as well as the book.

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samorgan

I realized long ago that Atkins was forced to "chicken out" on the fat thing after losing a frivolous lawsuit over a heart attack allegedly caused by his diet. You can imagine how unbiased that judge/jury were in the climate at the time!

 

So, when I read this thread I looked around at a lot of "official" Atkins sides. It seems they really only focus only on carbs and leave the whole protein vs. fat thing up to the user. It seems pretty clear that was a necessary strategy to avoid attack by the ignorant and the vested interests. That's probably why some feel that understanding Atkins as high-protein moderate fat is not in line with the doctor's original philosophy are probably correct even though as an institution they leave that door open.

 

Just another reason I'm glad I don't "follow" anyone or anything except to learn as much as possible and then benefit from experience. High protein is pretty clearly questionable for reasons I have mentioned several times. There is no evidence to support similar reservations with regard to high fat. Those are your only two choices once you decide to go low-carb.

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foxl

Salim have you read New Atkins for a New You? I did not think it wimped so badly, on the fats. A lit-tle, but not so bad.

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NickP
Nick,

This is a genuine Atkins site that lists two weeks of menu suggestions in the new induction site. It does list "on the go" ideas, but it also gives menus with recipes. I checked the link and it is genuine and from the new Atkins book.

 

Thanks. The site does list and sell the current book, but is not run by the Atkins Foundation or the authors of the book. I don't know if the site is true to the book with regards to the recipes and two week diet. Just because they sell the book, don't believe everything you see. Again, I would not recommend any "Atkins" labeled food products.

 

With regards to protein, if you go to pages 42-44 of the The New Atkins for a New You Book, you will see the protein recommendations that are laid out by the Atkins diet. On page 44, they specifically state:

 

"Don't waste time calculating the amount of proteine you should be eating during the weight loss as a percentage of your total macronutrient intake. Instead, as shown in the table above, base your optimal protein intake upon your height and gender"

 

Looking at the tables at pg 42-43, for my height and weight, it shows an optimium protein level of 15-30%. Sorry, but that is NOT a high protein diet.

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Daytona

This thread has inspired me to buy the original Atkins book. I couldn't find the one from 1971 but the one from 1982 is supposedly more similar to the original than the most recent incarnation.

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NickP
[flamebait]

 

And people wonder why I compare some low-carbers to religous zealots....doesn't this sound EXACTLY like the sort of arguments you hear between religions over insignificant points of doctrine? "My god's bigger and better than your god"?

 

[/flamebait]

 

Apologies, this is supposed to be slightly tongue-in-cheek but come on....

 

Hey DeusXM, I will take the bait....:)

 

It is sad to see folks drag Dr Atkins memory through the mud. He was a visionary and years ahead of his time. For that, most of the established medical community thought he was a quack.

 

It is a huge dissappointment what folks have done with his name and how some are still trying to commercialize and profit from it. However, there is a core group of people that actively supporting his legend and are continuing his research.

 

Dr Atkins was always trying to learn and evolve his methods. He did not believe that he had all of the answers and enjoyed the critical debate and exchanges of ideas. We need to keep this open-minded mentality as we continue to explore and learn more about nutrition and its impact on our health.

 

So, yes, thanks, I do understand your quote. There are a lot of "low carb" beliefs and they do not all line up perfectly and agree with one another.

 

However, as a collective, all of us "low carbers" agree that ingesting carbs raises our BG's, which increases the need for insulin (a fat storing hormone), and that are bodies have no primary need for carbohydrates.

 

The importance about Low Carb living is understanding that the Best Fuel for your Body is not glucose, but Ketones.

 

Once you believe in that, everything else is just "sugar-free icing on the cake"

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DeusXM
The importance about Low Carb living is understanding that the Best Fuel for your Body is not glucose, but Ketones.

 

Actually I always assumed the importance of 'Low Carb Living ' was the idea that you were supposed to avoid excess blood sugar and reduce your insulin requirements. Incidentally, while ketosis is a benign state, an excess of ketones will be just as deadly for you as an excess of glucose. It's just that in people with diabetes, it's a lot harder to regulate your glucose than it is your ketones!

 

We need to keep this open-minded mentality as we continue to explore and learn more about nutrition and its impact on our health.

 

Indeed we do, which is why I continue to advocate people finding diets that work for them personally. For some people, this means high-carb. For some people, it means low-carb. Neither of those choices (or the sheer range that sits in between) is necessarily 'better' than all the others.

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