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January 28, 2004

Atkins Conquers All


Just a little update on the whole diet scene. Iíve lost 28 pounds so far. Granted, this is less than I had hoped to lose when I started in December, but I had a really bad three weeks around the holidays. (Not from holiday meals, but from the fact that weíre having some work done on our house and we had to move into hotels three times and had a concrete-dust crisis. Can you say ĎHEPA filterí?) In fact, feeling stalled out on the Optifast, I switched to the standard Atkins diet and saw my weight loss rise even as the number of calories I ate increased dramatically. Now my goal is to get out and do more walking during the day. The one good thing about being as heavy as I am is that it makes you burn a lot of energy (180-200 calories) to walk a mile; hence an hour walking a day will knock off an extra pound a week.

Also, is it just me or has the whole Atkins thing just exploded? The waiters at the restaurant where I now eat my breakfast eggs (take that Optifast) are all on Atkins. The back cover of the January/February Atlantic (you know, the magazine formerly known as the Atlantic Monthly) carries an ad for Atkins-brand low-carb cereal and breakfast bars. (Actually, the mind boggles--isn't cereal essentially a carb-delivery system?) I remember a story a few weeks ago on some large packaged food company that was placing a major business bet on ĎAtkinizedí versions of its products. Even the Optifast people have ĎAtkins-styleí (more protein, fewer carbs) versions of their shakes.

And to think that only a few years ago medical opinion was unanimous about the evils of Dr. Atkinsí fad diet and the wonders of the low-fat lifestyle! How the mighty have fallen.

Of course, the real problem with Atkins, as Iíve said before, isnít when youíre trying to lose weight, itís in the keeping it off. But I guess that could be said about most any diet.

Well, as we used to say, "Keep on truckin'." (If that doesn't make anyone under 45 throw up, nothing will.)



posted by Friedrich at January 28, 2004


Atkins does seem to be the hot new thing! The restaurant chain Ruby Tuesday's saw their stock price go up when they released a re-tooled menu in November which is low carb.

Posted by: annette on January 28, 2004 4:24 PM

Come to think of that, I recall barely registering an advertising for "Rotisserie Diet", with visuals of dripping fat chickens on TV screen, when I was pedalling @ the gym on Sunday...

Posted by: Tatyana on January 28, 2004 4:36 PM

It's not at all surprising to me that Atkins and related carb. restricted diets seem to work, as a calorie is not a calorie (and a calorie isn't much in the first place!)

They measure calories of energy in food by burning it in a sealed vessel (a calorimeter) that measures the difference between energy input and how much output it gives off. Needless to say this is nothing like how your body processes food!

Carbs give you much more net energy per gram, as proteins and fats require almost as much energy to convert them into simple carbs (glucose) that you can use, as you get out of them.

So the higher the percentage of your calorie intake that is not in carbs, the less actual calories you're getting. You can't burn fats and proteins directly.

It's junior high or high school level biology, which is why I'm amused at how 'shocked, just shocked' all the nutrition 'experts' are at this cultural food development. Says sad things about nutritionists and the bulk of the medical community.

Posted by: David Mercer on January 28, 2004 8:05 PM

I would certainly agree that my experience with the Atkins diet does not support the notion that weight loss (or gain) is purely a matter of calories consumed vs. calories burned.

Posted by: Friedrich von Blowhard on January 29, 2004 12:22 AM

I would imagine that the Atkins diet is still less healthy than traditional low-fat/high-carb diets from the fact that your circulation still has to process large amounts of fat, cholesterol, and sodium, thereby degrading the cardiovascular health, even though the fat winds up getting burned and not stored. Is there some way the diet is expected to compensate for that? I suppose if it was coupled with the other new notions regarding "trans-fats" and bad and good cholesterols or whatever (I don't follow these things as closely as I should), it might work itself out, but that seems even more cumbersome and rigid than older diets.
(I'm no dietician or dieter myself, so illuminate me if I'm completely mistaken).

Posted by: Anthony on January 29, 2004 10:34 PM

And as a young R. Crumb fan, your choice of hippie-era proverbs to end your post meets with my hearty approval :-].

Posted by: Anthony on January 29, 2004 10:38 PM

(If that doesn't make anyone under 45 throw up, nothing will.)

A reliable source informs me that throwing up is another sure-fire way to lose weight.

Posted by: Tim Hulsey on January 30, 2004 3:18 PM

Friedrich shortly there after brings back the days of rage.....

Posted by: ShipShape on January 30, 2004 3:46 PM

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