That fateful year -2003- when low-carbing started to tank!

In 2003, the year that Dr. Atkins died (probably just before his death), the Ottawa Citizen’s excellent reporter, Daniel Q. Haney, was extolling the virtues of low-carb diets. After Dr. Atkins died, low-carbing in general tanked so badly, that even low-carb cookbooks were being sold for next to nothing, simply to get rid of stock in bookstores. Many wonderful cookbooks by big names such as Better Homes and Gardens and Canada’s Jean Pare, who also had a short foray into the low-carb arena, were being sold in Costco at phenomenal bargains. The writing was on the wall. Publishers started refusing any more cookbooks or books with low-carb in the title. In fact, even Dana Carpender, the most famous low-carb cookbook author in the world, had to go to gymnastics with her subsequent book titles to disguise the low-carb content. Sad! My own book sales plummeted and have only recently started doing better. We’re self publishers of my books and the art that my husband purchased from one particular and incredibly talented artist, Jonathon Bowzer. My youngest son (21) is working on his own books – novels, 3 of them will be based on the story of our lives. He has also taken over the art business:

Jimmy Moore is the king of low-carb bloggers and apparently according to him, he gets over 1 million visits a month! That is phenomenal and really it says to me that low-carbing is still alive and well and that there is a vibrant low-carb community out there, still requiring services that can be provided in that regard. Dr. Michael Eades and his wife Mary Dan and Dr. Bernstein, and others are still very active in the low-carb community with their blogs, forums, books, etc. Now the ADA has tentatively approved low-carb diets for people with diabetes and this has opened up a whole new arena.

Here is the article from the Ottawa Citizen. Unfortunately, it’s not possible to link to it anymore. It is long but interesting and worth a read. Low-Carbing was still so popular at the time of printing this article, but, believe me, things went downhill from there pretty rapidly after Dr. Atkins passed away so tragically and so suddenly.

“Is it just possible that Dr. Robert C. Atkins's high-fat, low-carb plan, ridiculed for 30 years as dangerous nonsense, actually is a good, safe way to lose weight?

The dietary elite are not ready to change their collective mind, but new studies have taken an objective look at the presumed evils of Dr. Atkins. The results have been astonishing:

- During a few months on the Atkins diet, people lose about twice as much as on the standard low-fat, high-carbohydrate approach.

- They do so without seeming to drive up their risk of heart disease. Rather than going kaflooey, their cholesterol, triglycerides, blood pressure and ominous bloodstream inflammation generally improve.

- They appear to lose more weight even while consuming more calories than people on a so-called healthy diet.

All of the experiments were short and small. None by itself would make a big stir. But taken together, they undermine much of what mainstream medicine assumes about the Atkins diet.

"Some scientists are dismayed by the data and a little incredulous about it," said Gary Foster, who runs the weight-loss program at the University of Pennsylvania. "But the consistency of the results across studies is compelling in a way that makes us think we should investigate this further."

Until now, the essentially unamimous medical opinion has been: Any diet that emphasizes meat, eggs and cheese and discourages bread, rice and fruit is nutritional folly.

On the Atkins diet, up to two-thirds of calories may come from fat -- more than double the usual recommendation. Eating calorie-dense fat is what makes people fat, and eating saturated fat is what kills them, says the establishment.

Despite this, Dr. Atkins's books have sold 15 million copies, uncounted millions have tried the diet, and practically everybody has heard of someone who dropped a lot of weight on the Atkins plan.

Finally, several U.S. research teams have put Atkins to the test, driven largely by weariness at having nothing solid to tell patients and, in some cases, a desire to prove Atkins wrong. One study was even sponsored by the American Heart Association, long an Atkins skeptic.

None has been published, but summaries have been given at medical conferences. "They all show pretty convincingly that people will lose more weight on an Atkins diet, and their cardiovascular risk factors, if anything, get better," says Dr. Kevin O'Brien, a University of Washington cardiologist involved with one of the studies.

But the studies say nothing about how much people lose when they stay on Atkins more than a few months, whether they keep the weight off for good and whether their cholesterol rebounds when they stop losing weight.

Nevertheless, three decades of dietary gospel are in doubt, and those questioning it include some of the most prominent names in obesity research. For instance, one of the new studies was conducted by Dr. Foster with Dr. Samuel Klein and Dr. James Hill, the current and past presidents of the North American Association for the Study of Obesity, the premier professional group.

"I'm part of the obesity establishment," said Dr. Foster, who has published more than 50 scientific papers on the subject. "I've spent my life researching ways to treat obesity, and 100 per cent of them have been low-fat and high-carb. Now I'm beginning to think it isn't as it has appeared."

His Atkins study was intended to "show it doesn't work," yet after three months, the overweight men and women had lost an average of 19 pounds, 10 more than people on the standard high-carb approach.

The big surprise was cholesterol. The Atkins dieters' overall profile changed for the better. Although their bad cholesterol went up seven points, their good cholesterol rose almost 12. (Changes in the high-carb dieters were less dramatic. Their bad cholesterol went down slightly while their good cholesterol remained unchanged.)

The largest difference was in triglycerides. The Atkins dieters' dropped 22 points. The low-carb dieters' didn't budge.

"It was unexpected, to put it mildly," Dr. Foster said. "It made us think maybe there is something to this."

The Atkins diet still gives many health professionals the willies. It encourages people to eat bacon, butter and prime rib and lectures against such mainstay carbohydrates as grains, pasta and starchy vegetables, especially in the diet's first cold-turkey stage.

"There are many principles in the Atkins diet that go against what we know," said Dr. Robert Eckel of the University of Colorado, senior author of the heart association's policy on high-protein diets. "It keeps people away from staples of the diet that we know are associated with less heart disease."

Volumes of research suggest that people have the best chance of avoiding heart disease, high blood pressure and cancer if they eat a varied diet with plenty of fruits, vegetables and grains.

The Atkins camp argues that saturated fat is bad only if eaten with large amounts of carbohydrates. Otherwise, it's harmlessly burned off.

"When carbs are the primary fuel source, there are certain risks in excessive fat consumption," says Colette Heimowitz, the Atkins organization's research director. "But in a controlled-carb setting, when fat is the primary fuel source, the rules change."

So how do the traditionalists explain the cholesterol improvement seen in the Atkins dieters? Weight loss. Slimming down reliably improves cholesterol levels, and they say its benefits probably overshadowed any damage done by all the unhealthy fat.

Why people lose more weight on the diet is not clear, although some researchers say they buy one of Atkins' arguments: People stick with it because they are not constantly hungry.

A far more contentious Atkins idea is that people lose more weight on his plan even if they actually eat more calories. That violates the laws of thermodynamics, skeptics say.

"A calorie is a calorie as far as weight reduction is concerned," said Dr. Michael Davidson, director of preventive cardiology at the Rush Heart Institute in Chicago.

Or is it? Some of the new studies suggest otherwise.

Dr. Stephen Sondike of Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York City put overweight teenagers on comparison diets for two months. The ones on Atkins lost twice as much as those on the low-fat diet. Yet they appeared to eat about 700 more calories a day.

Less dramatic but still startling results came from another study at the University of Cincinnati. Women on Atkins lost twice as much while eating the same number of calories as the low-fat dieters.

Researchers who did these studies still feel they know too little about the diet's long-term effects. A large new study will randomly put 360 overweight men and women on the Atkins plan or the U.S. Department of Agriculture's standard high-carb, low-fat diet, then watch them in detail for at least two years.”

My comment: Perhaps this study is the one I mentioned in the next post?