The best thing about this book is just how mainstream and prestigious are the scientists, physicians and institutions who now endorse (and prescribe) a Low-Carb diet. Just a few years ago, Dr. Robert Atkins was vilified for his insistence that dietary fat is not the cause of the obesity epidemic in America. He made the outrageous claim carbohydrates make us fat and in fact are the main cause of diabetes and heart disease.
People “in the know” called him crazy and dangerous and were totally dismissive of his ideas. But now thanks to ever-mounting scientific evidence (especially in the last 10 years), the pendulum has swung the other way and more and more reputable scientists, physicians and institutions are boldly proclaiming what Atkins insisted all along: Carbs, not dietary fat, cause obesity.
The fact that such respected people/institutions (as those listed below) would put their reputations on the line to support what was just a few years ago considered a “crackpot” notion, gives one greater confidence in the veracity of this premise. No longer should one be made to feel conflicted in following a Low-Carb diet against the advice of ordinary physicians (perhaps your own doctor) who are sometimes light years behind in their understanding of the latest scientific breakthroughs and tend to play it safe (following conventional wisdom) when prescribing a medical course of action.
This book and its authors (by virtue of who they are and the science they have pioneered) bring Low-Carb dieting out of the shadows and for the very first time make it acceptable – even mainstream.
Here’s a partial list of Who’s Who in the new Low-Carb World: (Take the time to read it and see the caliber of scientists and physicians who now stand shoulder to shoulder with the late Dr. Robert Atkins and others to proclaim to the world “Cut carbs from your diet. They are killing you.”
- Dr. Stephen D. Phinney (co-author of this book) has spent 30 years studying diet, exercise, essential fatty acids and inflammation. He has held positions at the University of Vermont, the University of Minnesota and the University of California at Davis. Following his tenure at U.C. Davis as professor of medicine, he worked at the university’s leadership level and as a consultant in nutrition biotechnology. Dr. Phinney has published more than 70 papers in peer-reviewed literature and holds several patents. His medical degree was earned at Stanford University and he holds a PhD in nutritional biochemistry from MIT. He also received postgraduate training at the University of Vermont and Harvard University. Dr. Phinney is the chairperson of the Atkins Science Advisory Board.
- Dr. Jeff S. Volek (co-author of this book) is an associate professor and exercise and nutrition researcher in the Department of Kinesiology at the University of Connecticut. In the last decade, he has published more than 200 peer-reviewed studies, including seminal work on low-carbohydrate diets that points to the Atkins Diet as a powerful tool for losing weight and improving metabolic health. He has provided some of the most convincing evidence to support the idea that dietary fat, even saturated fat, can be healthy when consumed in the context of a lower-carbohydrate diet. Dr. Volek is a member of the Atkins Science Advisory Board.
- Dr. Eric C. Westman (co-author of book) is an associate professor of medicine at Duke University Health System and Director of the Duke Lifestyle Medicine Clinic. He combines clinical research and clinical care to deliver lifestyle treatments for obesity, diabetes and tobacco dependence. He is an internationally-known researcher specializing in low-carbohydrate nutrition. Dr. Westman is currently the vice president of the American Society of Bariatric Physicians and a fellow of the Obesity Society and the Society of General Internal Medicine.
- Eric H. Kossoff, MD (author of preface) is an assistant Professor, Neurology and Pediatrics, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. He is one of the world’s leading authorities on the ketogenic diet — a low carbohydrate, high fat diet proven to control seizures in children. His research focuses on non-pharmacological treatment of childhood and adult epilepsy using many different treatments other than medications, including the Atkins Diet. He is a co-author of The Ketogenic Diet: A Treatment for Children and Others with Epilepsy. He is an active child neurologist and lectures widely on this topic.
- Elizabeth J. Parks, PhD is an associate Professor, University of Texas Southwestern Medical School. As a professor of clinical nutrition, Dr. Parks studies the effects of diet and lifestyle on liver function. Lecture topics include the effects of dietary macro-nutrients on body fat synthesis and blood lipid levels. Dr. Parks’ research program is currently investigating how body weight and ethnicity impact the development of fatty liver disease and how weight-loss diets may improve liver function in insulin resistance. Other studies focus on how the taste of fat in meals may change metabolism.
- Jaimie Davis, PhD, RD is an assistant Professor of Research, University of Southern California, Keck School of Medicine. She is a registered dietitian and an assistant professor of preventive medicine. Her research is primarily with the overweight pediatric population and centers on the role of nutrition and physical activity in the development of obesity, Type 2 diabetes and cancer risk. She is a nationally recognized expert on diet and weight loss.
- Dallas G. Hoover, PhD is Professor of Food Microbiology, University of Delaware. He holds a doctorate in food science and has conducted research in the fields of food process microbiology and food safety. He is an associate editor of the Journal of Food Science and has worked in the prevention and control of food borne microorganisms using high pressure processing.
- E. Allen Foegeding, PhD is W.N. Reynolds Distinguished Professor of Food Science, North Carolina State University. He studies the influence of food macro-molecules on food texture and sensory quality. He is on the cutting edge of the science of food’s functional properties. His current research includes determining texture mechanisms in natural cheese and stability of proteins in beverages. He is an associate editor of the Journal of Food Science and Food Hydrocolloids.
There are lots of juicy little nuggets of helpful information in this book:
- The reason some people get weak and/or light headed on the Induction Phase of the Diet when carbs are extremely restricted is the loss of potassium and sodium – the diet has a naturally diuretic effect . The Solution: drink more fluids and take in a little more salt by eating bouillon broth.
- Low-Carb diets (known as Ketogenic Diets) have been used for close to one hundred years to cure epileptic seizures and remained the standard of care for seizure disorder until effective anti-seizure drugs were developed in the 1950’s. The only reason it went out of favor is that physicians found it vastly easier to write a prescription for a drug than to educate and motivate an individual or family to make a major dietary change. Drugs are, however, no more effective in their treatment of the seizures and there has been a recent resurgence in the Ketogenic Diet throughout the world. (Click here to see a wonderful video first aired on Dateline explaining this remarkable diet.)
The New Atkins for a New You is also very flexible:
- You don’t like meat: no problem, it shows you how to be a vegetarian or vegan.
- Want to remain true to your culinary or spiritual heritage: no problem, it shows you how to eat kosher or Hispanic or any number of other international cuisines.
- Not a big fan of exercise or cutting carbs below 50 grams per day: no problem, it shows you how to achieve fat loss without making major changes or sacrifices to your lifestyle
Here’s the Bottom Line:
I liked the book. It is definitely worth reading. It is especially helpful to a new generation of dieters who missed the first wave of Low-Carb diet books. It is easy to read. It has very simple guidelines. And it tells you everything you need to know to have confidence that this is no fad diet.
Having said that, I must admit I found the reading of the original Dr. Atkins New Diet Revolution published in 1992 (almost 20 years after his first book on the subject) to have been more exhilarating.
Perhaps, it was because it was all new to me at the time.
Perhaps it was because Dr. Atkins took a no-compromise approach (he was certainly not as flexible as these authors are today).
Perhaps it was because in adopting a Low-Carb lifestyle I felt I was part of a “Diet Revolution.” I well remember hiding my Atkins book behind magazines while reading it on airplanes and whispering to the waiter, “Can I substitute a vegetable for that potato?”
It was all so much more exciting and adventuresome when it was “in the shadows.”
To be sure, those days can never be recaptured again. Low-Carb is much more mainstream now. And hurray for that. Dr. Atkins – wherever he’s at – must be proud.