Jody Gorran Visits "Livin' La Vida Low-Carb"
It appears this forum has become somewhat of a hotbed for people who vehemently oppose everything about the low-carb lifestyle and, more specifically, the Atkins lifestyle. GOOD! They should be afraid, very afraid.
While most of the visitors to this new blog come to be educated and encouraged as they are livin' la vida low-carb, we now have been graced with the presence of the most notorious anti-Atkins person on the planet. I'm referring to the infamous Jody Gorran. He responded to one of my blog entries on Tuesday with a diatribe against the Atkins diet.
For those of you who are unfamiliar with Gorran, let me quickly bring you up to speed before we delve into the specifics of his statements against what I have said regarding the low-carb lifestyle.
On May 26, 2004, Gorran filed a lawsuit against Atkins Nutritionals, Inc. for allegedly contributing to his heart disease and high cholesterol. You can read more about Gorran's claims in this MSNBC interview.
But wait, there's more.
What Gorran did not mention in his lawsuit is his "very significant family history of heart disease" which made him prone to develop heart problems long before he ever thought about going on the Atkins diet. As for his cholesterol, Gorran was foolish not to have it checked often as Dr. Atkins recommends many times throughout his books. To suggest that the Atkins way of eating CAUSED Gorran to develop these conditions is highly questionable. But, I guess the courts will have to settle that argument.
One more thing. The group behind Gorran's lawsuit is none other than the radical extremist animal right wacko group with the innocent-sounding name Physicians Committee For Responsible Medicine (PCRM). But this group is anything but squeaky clean. Their sole agenda is to completely eliminate eggs, milk, and meat from being eaten in the United States. And, as you know, eggs and meat are major staples in the Atkins, low-carb plan.
With that very brief background into who Gorran is (I encourage you to research him further to learn more about his frivolous lawsuit against Atkins), let's take a look at his problems specifically with my opinions about low-carb at "Livin' La Vida Low-Carb."
"I've been reading many of Jimmy's articles over the past few months."
Gorran is already lying. He hasn't been reading my article over the past few months at this blog because it has only existed for just a few days more than one month. At least start out with some credibility, but I guess that's not possible for someone so blinded by his own ambitions that he can't even tell the truth in the first sentence of his complaint!
"I finally decided that it was time to comment.
Of all the places he could air his concerns, he decided this was the place to do it. I guess I should feel honored since so many other web sites are out there spreading the good news about low-carb. We'll see what Gorran has to say.
"I take exception to his statement that as far as 'severe health consequences' regarding the Atkins diet are concerned, there are NONE! While it is very commendable for Jimmy to have gone on the Atkins diet and lost as must weight as he did, I do not believe that it gives him the right to make statements about the safety of the Atkins diet for everyone else."
I do not personally know of ANYONE (except Gorran) who has had "severe health consequences" as a result of livin' la vida low-carb the way it is described in a variety of books available today. I personally did the same diet that Gorran did and have not had any of the problems that he claims the diet caused him. Does that mean it is entirely impossible that Gorran's health was not affected by his new way of eating? Of course not. But you cannot overlook the specific directives that are outlined by the low-carb architects (in this case, it was Dr. Robert Atkins) to make sure the plan is done correctly and tailored to your specific needs as someone trying to lose weight. Gorran did not do this and cannot blame Atkins for his ignorance.
"While short term studies have shown that for the majority of people, the Atkins diet may be both safe and effective, again in the short term, it is generally in the long term where people get into trouble. Sure, most people don't stay on any diet for the long term, including Atkins. However with Atkins, they tout the maintainence phase which is where you should remain once you have lost the weight you were trying to lose. Some people could certainly be on this phase for years, but there have been no studies beyond one year.
On this point, Gorran is correct that the longest such studies on the long-term effects of the Atkins lifestyle is only one year. As such, we cannot scientifically prove that livin' la vida low-carb works over the long haul. However, with that said, it does not automatically mean the low-carb lifestyle cannot be sustained beyond weight loss as Gorran suggests.
What Gorran and his radical animal rights allies fail to realize is that people who have chosen this way of eating don't look at it as a simple diet plan for losing weight, but rather a permanent commitment to keep the weight off, too. Lifetime maintenance means remaining on a low-carb lifestyle to enjyo the healthy benefits of being thin and attaining better overall health. That's what livin' la vida low-carb is all about. Gorran shouldn't blame the diet for his health problems!
"Robert Atkins himself admitted that some people might not do as well from a cholesterol standpoint as others on the diet. While you are certainly able to eat lean proteins such as fish and skinless chicken on the Atkins diet, it was always the concept of being ABLE to each as much saturated fat laden steak and bacon cheeseburgers as you desired as long as you controlled the amount of carbohydrates in your diet."
I eat a lot of what Gorran calls "saturated fat laden" foods. They taste good and I enjoy having them in my menu choices. When I first started losing weight on Atkins, I would sometimes eat as many as four bacon cheesburgers (without the bun, of course) and didn't feel a bit guilty about it. If I was on a low-fat/low-calorie diet, I would not have been able to even have ONE of them because I would have had to eat rabbit food instead. Plus, my hunger would become so ravenous on a low-fat diet that I would not be able to keep that way of eating up. That's what is so appealing about the low-carb lifestyle. That's why I chose it for myself.
"Some people are 'fat sensitive' and while they may have a low total cholesterol on an American Heart Association low-fat diet, eating the level of saturated fat that is ALLOWED on the Atkins diet may lead to coronary artery blockage in such people. The point is that if your total cholesterol level and LDL level goes up on the Atkins diet and if your triglyceride and HDL levels stay steady, you'd better either go on a very low saturated fat version of the Atkins diet or go off the diet entirely. The Atkins website and books never tell such people to do that. They say to keep checking it and checking it till when?"
Duh! Just as you would from any other health problems, you get checked to see where you are while doing Atkins. I visit my doctor every six months to see where my various health indicators are. For me, the news has been nothing but EXCELLENT! Cholesterol, triglycerides, blood pressure, weight, and more have been superb and improved dramatically over the past year. Before Atkins, it was anything but perfect. I thank God for the Atkins diet and am thankful it led me out of the darkness of being obese into the light of freedom that comes from shedding excessive pounds. Read the Atkins books for yourself and he gives you all the information you need to do Atkins the right way. Unfortunately, most people say they are "doing Atkins" but aren't necessarily following his plan.
"The Atkins diet may be fine for the vast majority who try it but does that allow Atkins to write off the 33% or 30% or whatever percent of people in the minority who may develop severe problems due to too much saturated fat and its effect on their coronary arteries? Atkins and Jimmy only talk about the majority who do fine while the problems may very well rest with the minority. People have not been given sufficient information in order to make INFORMED choices as to the long term safety of the Atkins diet. Just because no one has studied a particular health issue long term, does not allow you or Atkins to conclude that the diet must be safe for every one long term."
Okay, those are fair arguments to make. Studies over the long haul have not been tested on the low-carb lifestyle that can verify my opinions about them to be true. But based on the data that has been coming out over the past year regarding low-carb, I am confident that the long-term studies of low-carb will conclude it is not only safe, but more effective than a low-fat/low-calorie diet, which recently have been found to make you fatter! In the absence of exhaustive studies that take many years to develop, I can only offer my own story as anectdotal evidence that low-carb can and will work for people just like it did for me.
The evidence that we do have shows low-carb diets to be safe and effective when followed correctly and a health care professional has determined it is an appropriate nutritional approach for you to do. This should go without saying, but make sure you let your doctor know what you are doing. He may balk and scream at just the mention of Atkins or low-carb, but make sure he's giving you his medical opinion regarding your health and not just his personal opinion about your diet choice. My doctor didn't like it at first either, but he's changed his tune now that I've lost 180 pounds! It's funny how that works!
"Jimmy, all I'd like to see you do is leave some room for the possibility that for some people, this diet may have a dark side. This takes nothing away from your own personal success. No diet is perfect for everyone. However, a good diet for some may be a danger for others. I'd be pleased to continue this discussion if Jimmy would care to."
Well, we certainly did continue the conversation. And it is one that I will continue to bring up here at this blog. But what I will not do is scare people away from even trying to do low-carb just because of one person's failure on it. This talk of the so-called "dark side" (I didn't know Darth Vader did low-carb!) of Atkins is so incredibly sensationalist that it doesn't merit debate.
The real danger is the undeniable fact that two out of every three Americans has a weight problem to contend with. Unless something is done very soon to turn the tide of overweight and obese people in the United States (and even around the world!), we are facing the biggest health care crisis that has ever been seen! The supposed risks involved with doing any organized diet plan pale in comparison to the certainty of future health problems brought on by obesity.
As for me, I will continue livin' la vida low-carb for myself because it got me back on track for a long, healthy life. While I don't have scientific evidence that can see into the future to confirm the veracity of that statement, I do have the confidence that it is the right thing for me after years of failed diets.
Gorran provided his e-mail if you are interested in discussing this with him further.
Thanks for dropping by my blog. I appreciate an open discussion about the merits of livin' la vida low-carb. I'll keep banging my drum as long as I'm on the low-carb lifestyle. That'll be forever, by the way! Comments anyone?