Dr. Robert Atkins’ famous diet may have had it right, says a new book.

This, happily, is not Oprah’s diet plan

SHARE This, happily, is not Oprah’s diet plan
SHARE This, happily, is not Oprah’s diet plan

Just like every January, scores of people are trying hard to stick to their resolution to lose weight. They so want this to be the year they succeed.


Only it won’t turn out that way. About one-third will give up the struggle by month’s end. Even among those who succeed, it’s more than likely they’ll put the weight back on or, even worse, end up larger than when they started.

They are not alone. Some 68 percent of American adults are overweight, according to the Food Research and Action Center; of that number, 35 percent are obese. And our kids are following in our footsteps; 32 percent of them are overweight, FRAC stats show. Those are staggering numbers.

There’s no doubt that excess weight is a serious health concern in the United States — globally really, because so many countries have adopted our way of eating. Yet, it’s time we stop accepting the mantra from the weight-loss industry that it’s all our fault, that we’re lazy and/or undisciplined.

In a year’s time Americans buy some $20 million in weight-loss products and programs, according to ABC News figures. If their products were so successful, why are so many of us still so fat? Might it be to the weight-loss industry’s advantage if two-thirds of us are living large?

We need to wake up to the fact that what we’ve been doing to lose weight is all wrong for most of us. We are listening to the “experts” who continue to tell us to ban fat from our diets and embrace carbohydrates. I don’t care if they’re talking whole grains and fruits, what’s resulted is an overload of carbs, which for most of us is what’s causing the weight gain in the first place. As one nutrition expert pointed out to me, since the 1980s the number of overweight American has risen parallel to the increase in carbohydrate (bread, pasta, rice, sugar) consumption here.

We also need to step away from the weight-loss industry’s promises and arm ourselves with new information, and I’ve got the book that’ll do just that, “The Big Fat Surprise” by Nina Teicholz (Simon & Schuster). It just was released in paperback ($17), and I’m betting it will surprise you, as it did me.

As Teicholz’s nearly decade of research shows, the low fat/high carb diet was embraced not because of the strong science supporting it, but rather because of the strong will and ego of one researcher, Ancel Keys, who based his information on very flimsy data. In fact there was science showing the contrary, but those researchers were systematically shut out, as Teicholz’s book reveals.

“Big Fat Surprise” shows that not only is saturated fat (meat, butter, cheese) not bad for us, it’s actually good for us. The book goes into a lot of detail to explain why the low-fat/high carb diet is particularly bad for women, who more than their male counterparts have tried to follow it. I think back to all those “Oprah” shows where she’d have as guests women who were young, thin and exercised religiously, yet ended up having sudden heart attacks. After reading “Big Fat Surprise,” I’m left to wonder if maybe that low-fat/high carb diet is what was doing them in all along.

In the last year a number of new research studies have backed up the premise of the “Big Fat Surprise” that saturated fat belongs in our diet. Yet, so many mainstream experts refuse to acknowledge this. After reading Teicholz’s book, I wouldn’t be surprised if this resistance has more to do with egos and lining people’s pockets than anything else.

Remember what Dr. Atkins said we should eat (meat, fat, veggies)? Turns out he was right; Teicholz’s book says he was ignored largely because people didn’t like him. Is that any way to decide nutritional guidelines?

Enough of the traditional low fat/high carb diet. Read Teicholz’s book and then flip that equation over; eat more meats, fats and cut down on the carbs.

Maybe then that resolution will come true.


Twitter: @sueontiveros

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