Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Surreptitious Form Letter Seeks To Discredit Atkins

Two weeks ago I exposed a huge scam being perpetrated on the readers of hundreds of newspapers across the United States via a mass letter-writing campaign being conducted by those who are against the Atkins diet and the low-carb lifestyle in general.

For those of you who haven't seen this bogus letter that has gotten past many newspaper editors across the country, here it is:

‘Old Abe’ was right after all: “You can’t fool all the people all the time.” And the company founded by diet guru Robert Atkins, after subverting America’s best nutritional consensus, wound up in bankruptcy court Aug. 1.

The Atkins high-protein diet craze peaked in early 2004, when over 9 percent of United States’ adults subscribed to such diet, according to market research firm NPD Group. That figure declined gradually to 2.2 percent last month after a consumer advocacy group released a medical examiner's report showing that Atkins was overweight and suffered of heart disease.

Over the past three decades, a dozen expert panels reviewing thousands of diet and health studies concluded that Americans should replace meat and dairy products in their diet with vegetables, fresh fruits, and whole grains. None reached the opposite conclusion.

As consumers, we need to be constantly vigilant for entrepreneurs who exploit our obsession with physical appearance to promote their profit-driven agendas. The price we pay, beyond an inflated food bill, is life-long chronic afflictions and a curtailed life span. Let’s hope that this lesson does not come too late for victims of the Atkins diet.

As you can imagine, such a vitriol, hate-filled message defaming the very program that has helped me lose 180+ pounds and restore my health got my attention. When I saw this exact same letter showing up in many other newspapers all over America, I knew something fishy was going on and sure enough I was right.

After discovering this major faux pas on the part of newspaper editors who allowed this phony letter to be printed from local readers who claimed it was their original words and thoughts and blogging about it, I personally wrote an e-mail to every editor who printed it to let them know that they've been duped. Of the over 100 e-mails that I sent, I have only heard back from three of them. Of those three, two of them admitted the mistake and said they would look into it. The third was incredulous and responded that they did not "knowingly" print a chain letter.

The Columbia (MO) Daily Tribune responded and invited me to write a response to the fake letter. I certainly wasn't going to pass up this opportunity to challenge the anti-Atkins zealots.

Here's a link to my letter: Surreptitious Form Letter Seeks To Discredit Atkins

I want to thank the editor at the Columbia Daily Tribune for having the courage to admit his mistake and being willing to print the truth about what this letter was all about.

The other newspaper that responded positively to my e-mail was The San Francisco Chronicle. The reader's representative contacted me back this week and said a letter like this can slip through from time to time. They are trying to track down the origin of this letter and may write a news story about it. He asked me for my comments about the suspicious letter and, of course, I told him my theory about who is behind the attacks against Atkins and livin' la vida low-carb.

We'll keep you abreast of any further developments in this story and will also provide you a link to the San Francisco Chronicle story if and when it gets printed. We've got to hold these people who want to destroy Atkins and the low-carb lifestyle accountable for their unscrupulous actions. As long as I'm around, we will!


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