Transcript: Atkins Diet: Trouble Keeping It Up
Remember the Atkins Diet? I wrote a book about it a few years ago. The Atkins Corporation threatened to sue me, but I kind of won by default, because they declared bankruptcy six months later. You can read the whole book and my rather amusing back-and-forth with Atkins' lawyers at http://atkinsexposed.org/.
Here's an illustrative case report of what can happen when you go on such a diet, reported recently in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association: "Development of symptomatic cardiovascular disease after self-reported adherence to the Atkins diet".
Started out healthy, 51-year-old man; pretty good cholesterol, no chest pain, and a working penis. He was gaining a few pounds, though, so he decided to go on a low-carb diet. One month in, his cholesterol shot through the roof, but hey, he lost five pounds, so, he kept it up. And after two years more on the diet, he lost three pounds, but he also lost the ability to have an erection. And he started having chest pains. But hey, that's what drugs are for, so he started taking Viagra, one of the wonders of modern medicine, which also came in handy when he landed in the emergency room with crushing chest pain.
He got a cardiac catheterization which found a 99% blockage of one of his coronary arteries supplying blood to his heart. Luckily, they found it in time. He got a drug-eluding stent placed.
He was eventually discharged from the hospital and finally decided, maybe this Atkins thing isn't such a great idea, so he switched to a low-fat diet with greens, whole grains, beans, vegetables, nuts, and even (gasp!) the inclusion of vegetarian entrees. Two months on the new diet, his weight was down, his cholesterol was down, and he stopped taking the Viagra.
Now, a skeptic might suggest that he had clogged arteries before he even started the low-carb diet. But no, he actually got a coronary artery scan right before starting on Atkins and there was no measurable plaque in his coronary arteries. And then just 29 months later, after the initiation of the low-carb diet, 99% blockage. Now they were able to open that surgically with a stent, but it took his changing to a more healthy diet to open up blood flow to other parts of his body.
To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video. This is transcript contributed by Bruce A. Hamilton.