Are low-carbohydrate, high-fat plans, such as the Atkins diet, a workable answer to the obesity epidemic? Millions of Americans believe so, but conclusive research, especially on long-term effects of such diets, still is lacking.
Writing in the April issue of the Journal of the American Dietetic Association, Dean Ornish, founder of the Preventive Medicine Research Institute and author of numerous diet books, seeks to "find common ground among seemingly contradictory information about different diets, present an evidence-based rationale for optimal nutrition and describe many of the half-truths and distortions of the Atkins diet and other similar diets."
Ornish writes that he and Atkins diet creator Robert Atkins agreed "that many Americans eat excessive amounts of processed foods high in simple carbohydrates," which people can consume in large quantities without feeling full. But even though they "agreed on the diagnosis," Ornish writes, the two "disagreed about the prescription."
"Dr. Atkins advocated substituting simple carbohydrates with high-fat animal protein foods" including bacon, sausage and butter, Ornish writes. "I would love to be able to tell you these are health foods, but they are not. Telling people what they want to believe is part of the reason that the Atkins diet has become so popular."
Ornish recommends replacing simple carbohydrates with complex carbohydrates: eating a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, beans (including soy products) and whole grains like brown rice and whole-wheat flour. "These foods are rich in fiber, whic
Contact: Kelly Liebbe
American Dietetic Association