Sunday, May 14, 2006

Professor: Atkins Diet Made America 'A Much Fatter Society'

These anti-Atkins people who have a platform for spreading their message to the masses just keep on hurling their insults at livin' la vida low-carb without any regard for the reality that low-carb living is helping so many people overcome weight and health problems they have suffered with for their entire lives.

I previously blogged about exercise physiology professor, syndicated health columnist, and radio show host named Dr. Bryant Stamford in July 2005 when he openly scorned the Atkins diet because it allegedly encouraged people to start "snacking on cheese wrapped in bacon [which] is clearly not healthy."

When I sent him a link to my blog post and asked him for a response to my challenge of his negative reaction to the Atkins diet, he replied, "I'm delighted. Thanks for letting me know." Can you say one fry short of a Happy Meal? :D

Nevertheless, Mr. "Body Shop" columnist is back again with yet another column in the Louisville, KY-based Courier-Journal sharing his negative opinions about the Atkins diet.

Dr. Stamford, who has since left the University of Louisville and now serves as professor and chairman of the department of exercise science at Hanover College, says he used to get a lot of e-mails from people who "had shunned my stupid cardboard and bean sprout approach to eating in favor of slabs of red meat and cheese wrapped in bacon."

"Boy, I sure was missing the boat by clinging to my outdated beliefs," Dr. Stamford sarcastically wrote. "Things really heated up when I offered my opinion of the Atkins diet, particularly my prediction that even though tens of millions of books had been sold, eventually the Atkins diet would go the way of the Edsel."

You are STILL behind the times, Dr. Stamford. Whether you realize it or not, your cherished low-fat diet approach to health has been proven to be a fraud with scientific evidence backing it up. What scientific evidence do you have to challenge my low-carb lifestyle? Say again, what was that? Oh, did you say you don't have any? someone with as much experience and knowledge about health, I would think you would at least want to back up some of your strong accusastions against the Atkins diet with a little proof. But I guess that's not very important, is it?!

Dr. Stamford continued: "So, how are things going? Atkins fever has waned, and this spurious diet is gasping for breath."

The only thing "gasping for breath" are those millions of overweight and obese people who have to put up with such closed-minded pinheads like yourself because you refuse to even give credit where credit is due regarding how the Atkins/low-carb way of eating has helped so many people lose weight and get healthy.

Dr. Stamford, YOU are part of the problem with obesity in America right now whether you even know it or not. By ignorantly chastising the low-carb lifestyle to those who have put their trust in your opinions regarding health, you have effectively shut the door in the faces of so many who would otherwise benefit from beginning a low-carb program.

However, rather than recognizing low-carb as another excellent nutritional approach for overweight and obese people to use to improve their health, Dr. Stamford said it looks like the American people have finally realized they have been "hoodwinked."

Dr. Stamford recounts the story of a "middle-age friend" who started what he believed was the Atkins diet which had him "head straight for the trough."

"He embraced the Atkins plan as an excuse to eat all the fat he wanted. He initially bought into the very low-carb angle. But, soon, he was tired of eating all that fat without some carbs for variety. A huge steak without a baked potato just wasn't the same. So, he began moving carbs back into his diet."

I wonder if this "friend" of Dr. Stamford ever even cracked open Dr. Atkins New Diet Revolution. Whenever someone tells you they went on the Atkins diet, it's a good idea to ask them what they think about the interesting concepts shared in Chapter 15. If they give you a puzzled look, then it's a good bet they never read the book.

I would venture to guess Dr. Stamford's "friend" never read the book either! If he had, then he would NOT just eat a bunch of fatty foods all the time, but instead he would be enjoying the excellent selection of fruits and vegetables to complement his low-carb lifestyle. If you eat "a huge steak" all the time, then obviously that would get boring.

That must have been what happened to Dr. Stamford's "friend." He must have decided to rebel against the Atkins diet by going back to "his old carbs" again, including eating sugar, processed foods and white flour.

"Eventually, his Atkins plan morphed into a good old-fashioned high-fat, high-sugar, high-calorie diet. He backslid quickly, gaining more weight than he had lost and raising his blood pressure and serum cholesterol. In short, he became another Atkins casualty."

Um, excuse me Dr. Stamford, but how can you pin your friend's weight loss and health failure on the Atkins diet? Once he stopped following the plan, the onus of responsibility was no longer on Dr. Atkins or low-carb living, but rather on your "friend." If he was eating a "high-fat, high-sugar (high-carb), high-calorie diet," then that is NOT the Atkins diet.

Of course he gained the weight back and saw a negative effect on his health. DUH! That would happen to ANYONE who gave up on their diet, whether it was low-carb, low-fat, or whatever. Describing this sequence of events as "another Atkins casualty" is a gross misrepresentation of what livin' la vida low-carb is truly about and you should be ashamed of yourself for casting a dark cloud on the Atkins diet because of your jaded point of view, Dr. Stamford!

Had your "friend" decided beforehand that he was committed to doing the low-carb lifestyle, educated himself about what this way of eating is all about, implemented the eating plan into his life, and vowed to never stop doing it for the rest of his life, then I would venture to say that his health and weight would be in FANTASTIC shape today.

But what your "friend" did was GIVE UP on his Atkins diet and at that point all bets were off. He was a quitter, plain and simple. He must not have been serious enough about wanting to get his weight under control the low-carb way or he would have stuck with it no matter what. No excuses are good enough to explain his utter and dismal failure.

I know you don't want to hear all of this, Dr. Stamford, but you cannot keep pointing the finger of blame at the Atkins diet.

Interestingly, though, Dr. Stamford confessed that his "friend didn't follow the precise Atkins guidelines."

Shazam, what a freakin' surprise!

He added: "But then, that's not what was promoted in the popular press, and it's not what made the Atkins diet popular."

Say what? Again, how can you place the responsibility for the people who started and failed on the "popular press" version of the Atkins diet on the creators of the Atkins diet itself? The book has been out there for three decades for anyone and everyone to read what it was all about (and it's still on the shelves of bookstores and drug stores in 2006, by the way!).

Dr. Atkins never asked for the "low-carb craze" to happen like it did a few years ago, but it did happen because the media was completely enamored by what they perceived was a bacon, eggs, and cheese diet. While the hoopla over this was certainly sensationalized by journalists who brought more attention to the Atkins way of eating, it all came down to bringing awareness to a different, yet effective nutritional approach than had ever been offered before.

Those who educated themselves about it saw and have continued to see great success because they understand the how and why of low-carb living. Those who didn't, well, they failed. That's exactly what happened to Dr. Stamford's "friend."

"My friend never read the book, never investigated the details of what he was supposed to do," he revealed.

Why is anyone surprised that he failed then? I'm certainly not surprised nor should anyone with half a brain. If you don't read the book, how are you ever supposed to know what the Atkins diet is about?

Even still, Dr. Stamford said the business of the Atkins diet prevented people like Dr. Atkins and other low-carb supporters from speaking out against the headlines and opposing the media frenzy regarding their diet plan.

"After all, selling diet books is a business, and you don't mess with millions of sales predicated on the idea of eating gobs of fat without penalty," he explained.

This doesn't make sense at all, Dr. Stamford. How did Dr. Atkins or anyone associated with the Atkins diet gain one red cent from those people who chose to do the Atkins diet on their own as you claim so many did? In other words, if all those people who were out there "eating gobs of fat without penalty" never bought the Atkins books, then how in the world did the Atkins people profit from this? The answer is they didn't profit from THOSE people.

Who they did profit from were intelligent, knowledge-hungry people (like me!) who wanted to learn more about what the Atkins diet was about, why it worked, and exactly what needed to be done to make it a permanent lifestyle change. That's how I was able to lose 180 pounds from my body forever going from a lazy, morbidly obese 410-pound man into an energetic, happy and healthy 230-pounder today!

Dr. Stamford believes America is "a much fatter society today than we were the day the Atkins plan came crashing onto the scene."

Again, why is the obesity epidemic the fault of the Atkins diet? The American public has never been given all the facts about healthy low-carb living and, thus, cannot be expected to know much about it apart from what they hear from the government, health leaders and the media. Oh, but they HAVE heard a lot about the low-fat/low-calorie/portion control diet since that message has been hammered and shoved down our throats for over thirty years! Where has that gotten us, Dr. Stamford?! Hmmm? Fatter and fatter and fatter and....

I just about fell out of my chair while typing this blog post when Dr. Stamford accurately proclaimed that "many of the health warnings tied to the Atkins approach and advanced by medical experts have not come to pass."

No kidding! That just goes to show you and others like you Dr. Stamford, that you should withhold judgment about something you don't know enough about until you can get all of your facts in order. All these doomsday reports that the so-called health "experts" and media personalities like yourself keep saying about the Atkins diet are just your opinions and not based on any evidential research. Shame on you for lashing out at Atkins the way you have.

Regardless, Dr. Stamford still insists on slamming the Atkins diet at every chance he can get.

"The Atkins diet was too good to be true. It simply couldn't last."

It's lasting pretty well for me and millions of others who are livin' la vida low-carb, Dr. Stamford. In fact, would you like to hear from a few of them? I'm sure they'd be happy to send you some e-mails this week sharing their amazing weight loss experiences and how low-carb has changed their lives forever for the better!

Finally, Dr. Stamford had a special message to share for everyone who is still livin' la vida low-carb in 2006.

"Without exception, everyone I know who at one time embraced the high-fat [Atkins/low-carb] plan has moved back to a more balanced diet. Call it what you like, as long as you no longer pursue the high-fat fantasy that can be so devastating to your health."

What an absolutely idiotic alarmist this Dr. Stamford is! Fat is NOT the great enemy and there's so much more to the Atkins diet than just eating fat. I suppose people like Dr. Stamford thing we low-carbers go around gnawing on a stick of butter all day long. Sheeez! Get real!

What a joke this Dr. Stamford is and you should let him know what you think about his baseless attacks against the Atkins diet are. Send him an e-mail at Let's see if he has anything more brilliant to say this time other than "I'm delighted. Thanks for letting me know." Please forward any comments you get back from him.

5-15-06 UPDATE: Well, I did hear back from Dr. Stamford today with a few more comments this time around.

Hi Jimmy...

Congratulations on your success. It's natural to take personally the things I have written about the Atkins diet, because it has become such an integral part of your life. But in fairness, for the tens of millions who never followed through as you have and morphed the diet into an actual healthy eating plan, they have perhaps lost weight as always occurs on a crash diet of any type, but there is lots of proof that the ultimate outcome for such folks is a high fat, high sugar diet, gaining back all they lost plus some more, and a worse health profile.

Is it the fault of Dr. Atkins that the public grabbed one small aspect of his diet plan and ran with it? Yes, I believe it is, because this one small aspect is what sold 25 million books...and it is what the media pushed, and what the Atkins group emphasized... not in the core of their books, but few folks actually ventured there as you apparently have done.

At any rate, the proof is in the pudding. If Atkins worked for the masses it would still be as popular as ever and growing, because when something works it is sustained and shared. The fact that Atkins is disappearing tells the story.

Take care... Bryant

At least he responded with his thesis: Atkins failed because it has stopped being as popular as it once was. I don't buy into that theory because I still don't think the public knows enough about what the Atkins diet REALLY is and Dr. Stamford says as much in his response. Then how about pushing for a real education about what low-carb is, Dr. Stamford? In the sense of fairness regarding health, that's the RIGHT thing to do, don't you think? I'm still not buying his thesis at all.

7-12-06: Dr. Stamford idiot and insane comments about how the low-carb lifestyle has contributed to the obesity problem continues in his his latest column where he claims the "Atkins diet was just another fad that couldn't last." Sigh. Then I guess I'm gonna be on that fad diet forever, Dr. Stamford, because it helped me lose 180 pounds and keep it off forever. MORON!


Blogger diamondwife said...

Here is a copy of my e-mail to Dr. Stamford. We'll see if he replies...

I read about your bashing of the low carb life-style on a low-carb blog.(Livin' La Vida Low-Carb) I just want to ask you if you have ever read the Atkins new diet revolution. I lost about 70 pounds on a low cal/low fat diet, then plateaued for over 4 months. When my husband decided he wanted to lose weight too and wanted to do Atkins, I decided, why not. I was miserable, hungry all the time, and not losing weight any longer with what I was doing despite eating a "balanced" diet including whole grains and working out 5 to 6 days per week. We started eating a low carb diet in February. My weight loss resumed and I have lost an additional 18 pounds and my husband has lost 50 pounds off of his previously 350 pound frame. We plan on staying with this way of eating for life by following the lifetime maintenance phase in the Atkins New Diet Revolution book. (Yes, we did read it). Here is an example of a daily menu that we follow (hardly the bacon, eggs, and cheese diet you refer to, but, then, as I previously mentioned, I did read the book).

2 egg omlette with spinach, tomato, and cheese

1/3 cup red raspberries
1/3 cup plain yogurt
1 packet splenda

(depending on how busy I am)
either a protein bar or
2 to 3 cups of salad greens
raw veggies (cauliflower/broccoli/celery, whatever I have)
canned tuna mixed with 1 tablespoon of mayonaise, a boiled egg, a small pickle, chopped, and a little pickle juice (for flavor)

1 ounce of roasted almonds
a sugar free energy drink

chicken breast or pork chop
1 cup stir fry veggies
2 cups salad greens
handful of grape tomatoes
ranch or blue cheese dressing

sugar free jello with sugar free whipped cream or
low carb ice cream treat

I challenge you to tell me this is an unhealthy way to eat. The vast majority of any fats I eat are natural fats, not the horrible trans-fats that are in the typical American diet. I also challenge you to say I eat exclusively protein and fat, or I don't get enough fruits and vegetables. My diet is very balanced. I get plenty of carbs from healthy dairy, vegetables, and berries. I eat 5 cups of greens per day along with plenty of other vegetables and some low glycemic fruits (mostly berries). I get healthy fats from nuts and fish. Grains are bad for my body and the bodies of lots of other people out there. Grains (even whole grains), potatoes, rice, and pasta spike up my blood sugar, causing it to plummet soon after and make me feel shaky and hungry. I found out this was why I was miserable and hungry all the lime on the low-cal/low-fat plan. Now, I am losing weight again, and I'm not hungry. The sooner the medical esablishment realizes there is NOTHING necessary in grains and stops pushing the consumption of 6 to 10 servings per day, the healthier this nation will become. I challenge you to tell me my husband would be healthier at 350 pounds than he is losing weight on a menu like the one listed above. I used to be one of the nay-sayers of the low-carb diet. All I have to say to those nay-sayers, including you, is do some research, and read the book with an open mind. You can't blame the failure of people who did not actually follow the plan on the Atkins diet, because they did not follow the Atkins diet. It's that simple. Read the book, with an open mind. Minds that are open have a chance of changing. Changing your mind isn't so bad, it doesn't hurt a bit. I promise. Lisa England

5/14/2006 6:45 PM  
Blogger Newbirth said...


Excellent letter! You should post that on your blog.

5/14/2006 9:28 PM  
Blogger 1Peter3 said...

... And what about those who "fail" at low fat/low calorie diets? Is it the diet's fault?

No, they wouldn't think that, would they? In that case, it would be the fault of the person for giving up on the diet, or perhaps for not exercising enough willpower.

5/14/2006 10:33 PM  
Blogger Lowcarb_dave said...

If Dr. Stamford's friends have gone back to a 'balanced' diet after their 'psuedo atkins', and have found unbridled health and weight loss success - then that is great.

But I don't think that happenned now did it!

I can see fully that it's a 'mentality' that this guy has. It has nothing to do with how intelligent his brain can be (he is probably very itelligent), he is thinking with the blinders on and he is guided by his beliefs!

Unfortunately for the world these guys are in power and influence and they have the most influence over what people eat.

Don't we have an obesity epidemic?

Is this guy trying to shift his portion of the blame ?

5/14/2006 11:42 PM  
Blogger Science4u1959 said...

Professor Dr. Stamford needs to go back to medical school, at least to ask his money back. The only thing he proves with his moronic statements is that his degrees have not protected him from Alzheimer's.

The more idiots like this are exposed for what they are, thanks to Jimmy, the more clear it becomes that even highly credentialed so-called "authorities" can be very, very wrong and highly biased too.

5/15/2006 10:31 AM  
Blogger diamondwife said...

Here is the response I got from Dr. Stamford. For some reason he still thinks Dr. Atkins made money from selling books to the people who chose to follow the media's version of the Atkins diet and obviously did not read his book. Doesn't make much sense to me. He also believes my letter made the point he was trying to make. Funny, but, what he said and what I said were not even close to the same thing. I just think he had no good argument against my letter to him.

HI, Lisa…

Thanks for your note. You make the point better than I was able to do in my writings about Atkins. You have adopted a healthy way of eating.

Congrats on your success. Getting rid of problem carbs from the diet is a good thing and I applaud that.

But, in fairness, for all those who did not read the book (the vast vast majority of Atkins dieters) they believed that eating primarily fat (and fat of any kind including lots of saturated fat and trans fats) was okay. It’s not. You know this and you pursue healthy fats.

Now then, is Dr. Atkins responsible for the fact that the media played up the high fat intake and that eating cheese wrapped in bacon is a good thing to do? Maybe not. But then what did he do to discourage this… nothing, because it sold lots of books.

At any rate, you have used a sane approach and it works for you. For everyone like you there are thousands who took a different Atkins route and it cost them dearly.

Bottom line is when something works for the masses it is sustained and is shared and continues to grow. Atkins worked for some like you who took it seriously. But for all the rest, it was a disaster.

Good luck with your continued weight management… sounds to me like you have found the key to success…

Take care… bryant

5/15/2006 6:32 PM  
Blogger Jimmy Moore said...

You confounded the wise with the simplicity of livin' la vida low-carb, Lisa! This guy is smokin' crack if he actually believes this garbage he is spouting. I'm proud of you for sharing your story and encourage others to follow in her footsteps by sending your own story of low-carb success to Dr. Stamford!

5/15/2006 7:03 PM  
Blogger Newbirth said...

>Is it the fault of Dr. Atkins that the public grabbed one small aspect of his diet plan and ran with it? Yes, I believe it is, because this one small aspect is what sold 25 million books...and it is what the media pushed, and what the Atkins group emphasized...<

No, it's the media's fault for picking only the sensational and running with it.

And what "Atkins group" emphasized meat, cheese, and eggs? I never saw any of that. And in the TV commertials (when they aired), veggies were prominant (I remember one with swiss chard), not meat, cheese, and eggs.

But hey, blame the messanger if you personally dislike them, eh?

5/15/2006 7:12 PM  
Blogger Lowcarb_dave said...

I can understand what he is saying, but I think he is a little confused.

He should focus less on his distain for the Low Carb craze, where people weren't following the proper Atkins diet, and focus on the underlying low carb philosophy.

Stupid people who went on their own version of Atkins, who called it atkins, who said they 'tried atkins', they have a lot to answer for all the trouble us real Atkins dieters face today!

5/15/2006 8:28 PM  
Blogger fieldingcarroll said...

I think you may be a bit overzealous about the low-carb naysayers. Diet is such a complex issue that just when we think we've got it perfected, we realize there might be a better way. In my personal opinion, both you and Dr. Stamford are correct in your assertions. The human body was made for a low-carb diet, but not in the gross sense it is being commercialized and marketed. First, the consumption of meat and other proteins at the quantity and frequency they're being consumed by adherents to the low-carb diet is burdensome to the system over time. And secondly, the prepackaged processed foods that make the atkins diet easy and convenient in no way are natural/healthy foodstuffs (they are processed...key word here).
That being said, the line of truth is drawn somewhere between yours and Dr. Stamfords' arguments. And I think the details of that truth are that we should be eating a natural low-carb diet consisting of fresh vegetable and sprouted nuts, seeds, and grains. Fruit should make up no more than 1/5 of the consumption of foods, and meat should be minimized to no more than once a day, preferably less.
You may disagree with me now, but I think over time you're going to see a trend that brings us away from the commercialized foods and crazes that Atkins and others continue to make money off of, and a sincere movement back to what we used to eat--raw, living plant/vegetable matter that is the essence of life for our bodies. Even a surface knowledge of physiology tells us that life begets life, but hey, so do our bodies. Good luck. And hope I stirred the waters enough.

Dr. Fielding Carroll

5/19/2006 12:46 PM  
Blogger Jimmy Moore said...

THANKS for adding to the discussion, Dr. Carroll.

5/19/2006 1:03 PM  
Blogger Ronald said...

Where did he find the "fact" that Atkins is disappearing is another story. I want to know where he digged up that one.

8/24/2006 5:18 PM  

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