Friday, March 12, 2010

Fat Man Speaks Out Against Atkins Diet

 I am a grizzled veteran of the weight-loss wars and have yet to win a battle. So, it was with much fear and angst I read today that the famous Atkins diet is making a comeback.

Its reincarnation is "The New Atkins For A New You: The Ultimate Diet For Shedding Weight and Feeling Great," a best seller in that genre. Folks, it's a ripoff as are so many diet books. All it does is recommend fewer fatty foods such as steak and suggest more vegetables than the earlier book.

It remains a low carbohydrate, high protein diet in all other forms.

Elisa Zied, a registered dietician and spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association, says the carb intake in the Atkins diet still is too low and a rapid 10-15 pound weight loss in two to three weeks is harmful to one's health.

She cites studies that prove people who follow diets similar to Atkins regain their original weight and more after three years. Back in the 60s when I followed the Atkins formula, I gained 10 pounds more than when I started in just six months.

The problem I have with the pop culture diet books is they offer a quick fix to reach a goal but upon attaining it, few follow a sensible program to maintain their ideal weight. Anyone staying forever on some of these diets is playing Russian roulette with their liver, kidneys or heart.

Zied offers some reasonable dietary guidelines that mixes foods with low calorie values that include vegetables, starch, fruit, lean poultry, fish and beef and low-fat dairy products. She is a big proponent of soy products. But with the caveat all taken in small portions.

Unless one is in denial, fat people are experts on matters involving the food chain and nutrients each block of the pyramid offer. They're fat because they eat too much, especially the wrong foods high in saturated fat, corn fructose, anything hydrogenated and as in the case of all packaged foods, sodium -- a liquid-retention ingredient used for flavor and preservative.

At one time, I joined Overeaters Anonymous which borrows AA's 12-step program treating the condition as a disease. After listening to members telling their horror stories, I was convinced obesity is not a disease but a defensive compulsion to eat to feel some good in their sorry lives.

Until a month ago, I hadn't embarked on a diet for 20 years, didn't care, until I weighed in with the girth of a defensive tackle trying out for a National Football League team.

Forgive me, I don't want to sound like a testimonial, but I have subscribed to NutriSystem's dietary program for diabetic seniors. The initial results are incredible. It is essentially a high fiber, high protein menu low in both calories and "good" carbohydrates accomplished by small portions.

More than losing weight, it has improved my blood sugar readings both before and after meals for the first time in my life. I'm taking much less dosages of insulin to maintain. I feel better and found a new spring in my step.

I must say the menu, with much variety, is not a gourmet's delight and doesn't taste as well as it looks on the television ads featuring sports celebrities Dan Marino, Lawrence Taylor and Don Shula.

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