Cardiologist Robert Coleman Atkins (1930-2003), creator of the high-protein, low-carbohydrate Atkins Diet, was born on this day in Columbus, Ohio.
He began his controlled carbohydrate approach to eating while in private practice in New York City in 1963. Nine years later, he published the revolutionary book, Dr. Atkins' Diet Revolution.
"Cut out your carbohydrates and you’ll burn up your fat," he said.
Dr. Atkins' controversial weight-loss plan allowed patients to eat more protein and fat and cut back on carbohydrates. He said complex or simple carbohydrates--including bread, sugar, fruit and even some vegetables--increased blood sugar levels and the desire to eat.
Obesity is easy to explain, said the doctor. "Back in 1970, we didn't have a lot of obesity, but then it started to increase...In 1970, 40% of our diet was fat. And by 2000, it became 32% of our diet. But in those 30 years, according to the U.S. government, there was an increase in the intake of sugar per person by 30 pounds per year."
Critics claimed that the Atkins diet would not work beyond a few months, and could cause heart problems and kidney failure.
Critics aside, Dr. Atkins' dozen or so books have sold over 25 million copies and about 20 million people have tried his diet plan. To help others create a more healthy lifestyle, he founded The Atkins Center for Complementary Medicine.
Dr. Atkins said, "The main thing that I want to accomplish in life is putting an end to the epidemic of diabetes and obesity, which I call diabesity."
Cut the starch and pass the bacon...