Saturday, October 28, 2006

Kellow's Yellow Journalism On The Atkins Diet

Dietitian Juliette Kellow is obviously not a fan of the Atkins diet

It's that time of year again when those who think they know what diets people need to do and not do so freely share their opinions about what they think is healthy, nutritional, and safe. Of course, at the same time, they are just as eager to blab on and on about what diets they think are decidedly unhealthy, lacking in nutrition, and even allegedly dangerous. As I have said in the past, you should be very wary of any "expert" weight loss advice because the source may not be very reliable.

Furthermore, do I even need to tell you which ones a typical dietitian thinks are good versus the one ones that are supposedly bad? No, I don't because the examples of the intense and bitter feelings against livin' la vida low-carb have been evident with just about every dietitian who has ever written about or uttered an opinion on this amazingly healthy lifestyle. Click here to see just a few examples of this kind of stupidity from these self-proclaimed health "experts" that I have highlighted at my blog. The concerted effort by these people to not just maim but completely destroy all remnants of low-carb from modern-day life is as clear to see as the protruding stomachs of a majority of the world's population.

Well, even still we've got another dietitian and health columnist today from who continues with the Atkins-bashing party. Her name is Juliette Kellow and her bio describes her as a "bright and bubbly" professional who seeks to help people lose weight with her "wealth of experience in health, food and diet." HA! What you will quickly find is that Kellow shares more of the same old garbage information about low-carb because it is simply mindless and ridiculous attacks against the low-carb lifestyle. Will these people ever grow up and get a brain for once? We can only hope...SOMEDAY!

In the article entitled "A Decade Of Diets But Which Should You Try," Kellow gives her own personal lowdown on the most popular diets from the past ten years including Weight Watchers, The Food Combining Diet (never heard of!), Low GI Diet, South Beach Diet, Detox Diet, Blood Type Diet, Atkins Diet, and The Zone Diet. As you can see, half of these are considered "low-carb" plans. However, Kellow was not afraid to tell you quite explicitly which one she thinks was the worst among them: The Atkins Diet!

My blogging friend and fellow triple-digit Atkins diet weight loss success story Kent Altena wrote a letter to the editor of to express his concerns about how Kellow so blatantly distorted the truth about what the Atkins diet is about in her column. Kent did such an outstanding job with it that I'd like to share with you what he wrote. It is a fantastic, fact-filled response that exposes the malicious lies that Kellow tried to get away with! Not gonna happen!

Here is the classic masterpiece response that Kent wrote:

I would urge your health correspondent, Juliette Kellow, to actually research the topics before actually writing about them. I am of course referring to her recent "Decade of Diets" article where she reviews the popular diet plans. Her review of the Atkins Diet was chock full of misconceptions and gaping holes about this way of eating that were so large a truck could drive right through them!

I am an avid follower of the Atkins way of eating and have lost over 200 pounds on the diet. Because of the gross misrepresentation that Kellow made with her column, I would like to respond to each of her points individually to share the truth:

"HOW IT WORKS This high-protein diet cuts out carbs so your body begins to burn fat. Bread, potatoes, pasta, milk and fruit are off-limits but you can eat meat, fish, cheese, cream and butter."

There is not a single phase of the Atkins diet that cuts out carbs altogether. Her statement simply ignores the fact that there are four distinct phases to the diet and she conveniently leaves out the fact that vegetables included even in the Atkins diet. In fact, during the Induction phase people are encouraged to eat six servings of vegetables per day, which is considerably more than the average person eats. The purpose of the Atkins diet is to simply get people to take back control of their eating first and foremost and then begin adding back foods that are healthy for them long-term.

THE PROS You lose weight quickly - around 6-10lb in the first two weeks, slowing to 1-3lb a week after this.

No argument here, but let's not forget that the point of the Atkins diet is not to lose weight but to learn how to eat healthy.

THE CONS Research shows this diet is unhealthy. A high fat intake increases the risk of heart disease, a lack of fruit, veg and fibre are linked to cancer and excessive protein may cause kidney problems. Side effects include bad breath, fatigue, nausea, constipation, headaches and insomnia. And veggies can forget it.

Boy, there's a lot of FUD (Fear, Uncertainty, Doubt) being spread in those statements, Ms. Kellow! Most of the current scientific research is showing how beneficial to your health a low-carb dietary approach really is. I eat more vegetables today than I ever did before I went on the Atkins diet. Additionally, Dr. Atkins recommended in his books for people to eat vegetables high in fiber rather than ones high in starch. I don't know where you are getting the notion that the Atkins diet is lacking of vegetables because it is certainly not from the Atkins books! Certainly some of the side effects you mention can happen when you are first getting in a state of ketosis, but I'll take them over obesity and diabetes any day! Atkins or obesity: Which do you think is more dangerous, Ms. Kellow?! The good news is that most of the side effects you mention are gone after the first few days of Induction.

JULIETTE'S VERDICT There are lots of healthier diets. If you must, follow it for two weeks and make it healthier by choosing lean meat, grilling rather than frying and skipping butter and cream.

Skipping butter and cream for trans-fat-loaded margarine or flavor-free skim milk? Umm, NO THANK YOU! Why would I follow the Atkins diet for just two weeks and then leave just as the results are beginning to happen? I would highly encourage Ms. Kellow to simply admit that she doesn't know one single fact about the Atkins diet and how it really is more than just eating meat, cheese, and bacon for three straight meals!

WOO HOO, YOU GO GET 'EM, KENT! Man, I must be rubbing off on you with a response like that! LOL! I enjoyed the way you broke down each point one by one because it really was loaded with factual errors that an "experienced" health writer should not be making. But we know why she wrote what she did and it has to do with her low-fat/low-calorie/portion control agenda. There's no doubt about that.

Just look what Kellow said about Weight Watchers:

Eat or drink whatever you like, providing you stick to your daily points allowance. Points are based on the calorie and saturated fat content of foods so ultimately you're following a reduced-calorie, low-fat diet. Counting points takes away the need to tot up calories or fat. And it's a good way to learn about healthy eating.

Says who?! What makes Weight Watchers "healthy eating" and the Atkins diet NOT, Ms. Kellow? The senile subjectivity of a "healthy diet" is something that people who are livin' la vida low-carb have had to deal with from day one of their plan. The pervading myth that low-fat is inherently good and low-carb is obviously bad must stop if we are ever going to move forward with getting a handle on obesity. What happened to rational thinking and open-mindedness, hmmmm?

She got in more comments in her review of the other low-carb plans:

- GI Diet--"When combined with a low-fat intake, the GI diet is a great way to lose weight."
- South Beach Diet--"The first two weeks are similar to the Atkins diet - this means you won't get your five daily portions of fruit and veg and may suffer similar side-effects. This diet is more flexible than other low-carb plans and requires serious willpower only for the first fortnight."
- The Zone--Trying to work out how to make each meal and snack meet the 40:30:30 ratio is almost impossible, unless you have a degree in nutrition or plenty of spare time. As with all low-carb plans, this is likely to be lacking in fibre and certain nutrients. There are loads of easier diets.

"Easier?!" Is that what losing weight is all about, Ms. Kellow? Nobody ever said weight loss was going to be easy, but frankly speaking on a personal level, eating a low-carb lifestyle has been one of the easiest diet plans I have ever followed in my life! Too bad I can't say the same about my low-fat diet experience. Talk about a hard diet to follow and to keep following over the long-term. I pity those who have fooled themselves into believing that they HAVE to eat that way for the rest of their life to be healthy. It's simply not true and the proof is in the fact that people like me and Kent have lost 200 pounds each and kept it off for several years now.

Special thanks to my friend Kent Altena for sharing his impressive response to Kellow's misguided remarks about the Atkins diet. We all need to openly challenge the status quo health "experts" when they make these kind of ridiculous comments about livin' la vida low-carb in places where people can be influenced such as a newspaper column. I try to find them and respond when I can, but YOU should be on the lookout for them and reply when appropriate as well.

If we ever hope to change the hearts and minds of people concerning low-carb living, then it must begin with our staunch and undying support for what we believe in. Even if that means taking on the "experts" like dietitians. Don't be intimidated to tell them they are wrong about livin' la vida low-carb because they usually are!

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Blogger Newbirth said...

Great. Another idiot. Atkins doesn't allow veggies? Where does she GET this stuff. I must have imagined the 1 pound salad I ate today topped with plenty of tomatos and cucumbers. Sure was tasty for not existing!

10/29/2006 11:52 PM  
Blogger renegadediabetic said...

Even though I'm following the Schwarzbein Principle instead of Atkins, I did read through most of Atkin's book just to see what it was all about. I found that, past the induction phase, Atkins is pretty similar to what I'm doing. I'll even admit that my decision to choose something other than Atkins was based in part on my own misconceptions.

Yep, the Atkin's & low carb critics I have heard have obviously never read the books and don't have a freakin' clue what it's all about. I don't know where she gets her "easier" diets. I found it impossible to stick to my point count in Weight Watchers due to the insatiable cravings. Low Carb is much easier, even though it is still hard work.

10/30/2006 1:12 PM  
Blogger Shelby said...

Hello, I'm a registered dietitian, and I know that low carb diets CAN work to result in weight loss. There is a lot of misunderstanding among nutrition professionals about what low carb dieting really is. Most think it is an unlimited diet of high fat and fried meat, and zero fruit, vegetables, or other carbs. I gave a presentation on Atkins almost two years ago to a group of about fifty dietitians, and I thought I was going to be burned at the stake afterwards just for mentioning the dreaded Atkins name! Please don't think all dietitians think alike. Some of us are more open-minded than others.

3/12/2007 5:57 PM  
Blogger Jimmy Moore said...

THANKS for sharing, Shelby, and I'm not opposed to ALL dietitians. But, as you noted in your comment, the overwhelming thought process of the Atkins low-carb diet is so demonized by the vast majority of them.

I'm so glad to know you aren't among that closed-minded group. But we need more people like you to help spread the positive message of livin' la vida low-carb with real people who are hurting to know the truth!

I've considered becoming a nutritionist myself, but really don't know where to start. I'd love to talk to you about it if you would do me the pleasure of e-mailing me at THANKS again for your comments!

3/12/2007 6:53 PM  
Blogger Shelby said...

I just sent you an email with some info. Cheers!

3/13/2007 3:20 PM  

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