Autoimmune Thyroid Disease

An Unfortunate and Lengthy Adventure in Misdiagnosis

No we don't eat more protein

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It seems there isn’t a day goes by when someone in the media is making an ill-informed remark about the Atkins diet.

Women’s magazines in particular, really have the knife out. They seem to spend half of their time ripping “celebs” to shreds for being on diets designed to make them skinny, and the other half of their time printing pictures of overweight D-listers and laughing at them, presumably designed to make their readership feel better.

Women’s magazines just can’t figure out whether they want us to be fat or thin. One minute all attempts at weight-loss are unhealthy and anorexic, the next minute they’re giving some poor girl a slagging because her bum is too big.

The thing is, if you are a skinny or an overweight celeb, you are guaranteed to get in a woman’s magazine. Pick up any woman’s magazine, and you have an almost 100% chance of finding pictures of poor, anorexic Nicole Richie (her of the chihuahua-look), Posh Spice (who opted for a bizarre pineapple diet in order to go skeletal for the world cup), Britney (who is sporting the most unattractive pregnancy), and Charlotte Church, (who is only there because she eats junk food and is gaining a stone a year). The other person guaranteed to be found is Jennifer Aniston, who is “still in love with Brad”, and variously has “lightened up and relaxed her strict low-carb diet”, “gained a beer belly since she met Vince Vaughn”, and “stressed and thin and unable to get pregnant because she is on Atkins”.

Every week the same magazines have a new celebrity diet along the lines of “how I lost 10 pounds in only 5 days by eating salads and exercising”, or “how I lost weight sensibly by doing exactly what Weight Watchers told me to”. The same magazines, when they analyse a celebrity low-carb diet, invariably employ a bogus nutritionist like “Dr” Gillian McKeith to find it lacking. “We require carbohydrates for energy and can’t live without them!” is the pat reply she invariably trots out.

This kind of fluff might be alright for the pasta-eating masses, but a quick search of BBC News quickly confirms the anti-Atkins bias is still alive and kicking in the more reputable end of the media. According to recent news reports from the BBC:

  • High meat diet ‘can stress baby’.
  • Following a low carb diet could cause serious health conditions, doctors have warned.
  • Girls ‘diet for pop star bodies’ (this is Atkins’ fault)
  • The New Year may be diet prime-time, but more are opting for balanced eating plans instead of ‘trendy’ diets.
  • Low fat diets ‘as good as Atkins’
  • The controversial Atkins diet is to come under government scrutiny amid growing concern over obesity figures, it is reported.
  • Critics of the Atkins diet claim it can have consequences such as kidney damage, thin bones and high cholesterol.
  • The potential long-term consequences of high-fat diets are still unknown, they warn, and are likely to include a higher risk of diabetes and early heart attack.
  • A recent study warned that the diet might also reduce woman’s chances of conceiving.

These claims of dire consequences for health were all addressed by Anthony Colpo before he took down his site. One of the most interesting aspects of these claims is they largely relate to isolated studies of high-protein diets, largely on rodents, and largely performed with artificial foods like soy protein isolate. However, human beings are not rats, and meat comes with a number of vital fat-soluble cofactors missing from soy protein, which is high in oxalic acid (chelates calcium out of the body and causes gallstones and kidney stones) and phytic acid (reduces mineral absorption), and phytoestrogens (which act as contraceptives).

This really is a dreadful situation. The Atkins diet is ironically being blamed for the ill effects of soy protein consumption!

Real world studies of Atkins dieters find they have better bone density, lower cholesterol, and perfectly functioning kidneys. Numerous diabetics attest to the Atkins diet reversing their high blood sugars and helping them to normalise their weight. One of the most ludicrous aspects of this media assault is that studies have found that Atkins dieters really don’t eat any more protein than the average person! The real differences in the diet are the reduction in carbohydrates, not an increase in fat and protein. Meat consumption across all industrialised countries stands at around 7.4 ounces per day, and in America it stands at around 12 ounces per day. I defy anyone to eat more than that!

How about the BBC spending more time getting doctors to quote on the largest source of calories in the American diet, sugary soft drinks? Going through pages and pages of sugar related articles on the BBC, I find only six on health: four negative but solely related to the use of soft drinks in schools, and two positive! According to the BBC, “sugary snacks cut stress”, and heparin (inappropriately labelled “sugar” in the title), may help reduce cancer.

Heaven help us. The BBC won’t.

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Written by alienrobotgirl

12 July, 2006 at 9:33 am

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