FutureWire - futurism and emerging technology

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Atkins is Dead... Long Live Atkins!

A study presented at a meeting of the North American Association for the Study of Obesity this week suggests that diets that are low in fat are better for losing weight and keeping it off than diets that are low in carbs. Low-carb advocates have countered that the low-carb diets used in the study contained more carbs than recommended by Atkins and other diet plans. However, fat appears to have been the big variable in this study: the majority of dieters studied who ate a low-fat diet were able to maintain lower weight than those who followed low-carb diets that largely ignore fats.

Those in the health, diet and fitness professions have spoken of a backlash against extreme low-carb dieting for some time now. If this most recent study is corroborated, it will likely accellerate that trend. However, it's likely that the Atkins craze has permanently affected the American diet.

Some of you older folks might remember the Pritikin diet in the early 1980's, which was one of the first to emphasize lowering fat intake. Since then, low-fat eating has evolved from a craze to a part of daily life. Coupled with more detailed food labeling mandated by the federal government in recent years, consumers have a better idea of what's in the foods they buy, and can choose healther products. In fact, neither low-fat nor low-carb dieting would be possible without this information.

So it goes that the Atkins fad has changed the way we eat... not by making us low-carb fanatics, but by educating us about the simple need to consider carbs when we choose food. That way, we can make sensible food choices that balance all the nutritional components of what we eat.