Sunday, December 10, 2006

Low Carbohydrate Diet Revolution -- A History

Diet Resource Site

Diet Articles

Low Carbohydrate Diet Revolution -- A History

Most people think of the Atkins diet when they hear the phrase low-carb. Indeed, Dr. Robert C. Atkins is the author of a number of low carbohydrate ketogenic diet books. The first one was published in 1972, and his pioneering efforts revolutionized the dieting world we see today. For everything that you hear; however, Dr. Atkins did not create low-carb dieting.

William Banting published pamphlets in the 1860s extolling the health benefits of the low carbohydrate diet he was put on by his medical advisor, Mr. William Harvey, F.R.C.S. The basic tenet of his diet was to consume as little as possible bread, butter, milk, sugar, beer, and potatoes due to his belief that these contained starch and saccharine matter, which tended to create fat. Mr. Banting found that his indigestion disappeared, his umbilical rupture was cured, he lost 50 lbs, his sight and hearing were surprising for a man in his 70s, he slept better at night, and he basically felt in better health than he had for the previous 26 years of his life. Mr. Banting revolutionized dieting in his time, and he received thousands of letters from readers thanking him and telling him how his low carbohydrate diet had changed their lives for the better.

The Johns Hopkins University and Mayo Clinic devised a diet to treat epilepsy in the 1920s. The diet requires high fat consumption and a low intake of carbohydrates in order to induce ketosis. They studied how the diet worked with children who were unsuccessful in treating their epilepsy with medication, and they found that 55 percent of the original patients remained on the diet and 27 percent had a greater than 90 percent decrease in their seizures. There were some children who had no seizures for two years while on the diet, and they appeared to be cured of the epilepsy even after stopping their low-carb ketogenic diet.

Walter Lyons Bloom and Gordon Azar did a study in 1963 comparing carbohydrate restrictive diets to fasting diets. They concluded that eating a diet adequate in calories, protein and fat, but deficient in carbohydrate, resulted in weight loss similar to that of fasting patients.

The first truly popular low-carb diet was popularized in the book The Doctors Quick Weight Loss Diet by Dr. Irwin Maxwell Stillman in 1967, and the low carbohydrate revolution began. The diet consisted primarily of protein sources like meat, fowl, fish and eggs while curtailing the consumption of carbohydrates to close to nothing. The book sold 2.5 million copies from 1967-69 and large numbers of people lost a lot of weight on this controlled carbohydrate diet.

Dr. Robert C. Atkins opened his practice as a cardiologist in New York City in 1960. When he was in his 30s and overweight, he ran across a 1963 article by Bloom and Azar. Their article said you do not have to go hungry to lose weight; instead, you can lose weight by cutting back on carbohydrates. This convinced Dr. Atkins to try the diet, and to his amazement it worked very well. After his success with the diet, he began recommending it to his patients and found that not only did they lose weight; other health problems they were fighting with either had greatly improved symptoms or went away completely. These included high blood pressure, elevated cholesterol levels, heartburn, diabetes, acid reflux, and arthritis. The vast majority of his patients also reported that they slept better, had more energy, got sick less often, and basically felt better overall.

Dr. Atkins published his original book, Dr. Atkins Diet Revolution, in 1972; however, the revolution was off to a slow start. His low carbohydrate diet countervailed what had been taught in the mainstream medical institutions and was attacked by the likes of nutritionists, dieticians, physicians, and the Journal of the American Medical Association; however, other doctors were also now aware of the connection between carbohydrates, disease and obesity.

In 1983 Dr. Richard Bernstein, a type 1 diabetic since the age of nine, opened his highly controversial clinic to treat diabetics with a very strict low carbohydrate approach to the disease. Bernsteins ideas were ridiculed at first by the medical establishment, but the low-carb revolution picked up steam.

In 1992, Dr. Richard Heller wrote his first diet program called The Carbohydrates Addicts Program for Success: Taking Control of Your Life and Your Weight, which blamed high carbohydrate consumption for the increased obesity being found throughout the USA. He found a fast growing audience for his ideas as the revolution continued to grow.

The first edition of Dr. Atkins New Diet Revolution was published in 1992, and another came in 1999. These two editions sold over 10 million copies and the editions combined to become one of the 50 top selling books of all time.

The year 1999 was a breakthrough year for low-carb practitioners and the low-carb revolution steamed full speed ahead. Dr. Richard Bernstein published his book Diabetes Solution, and it was an instant hit selling upwards of a million copies. Today the latest 2003 Edition has a preface by none other than the president of the American Diabetic Society, quite a victory for a man who when he first preached his controlled carbohydrate approach to the disease was regarded as a crackpot and eccentric by the American Medical Association.

Also in 1999, Dr. Richard Heller teamed up with his wife, Dr. Rachel Heller and Dr. Frederic Vagnini to publish The Carbohydrate Addict's Healthy Heart Program: Break Your Carbo-Insulin Connection to Heart Disease, a newer version of his first book that documented very clearly the relationship between high carbohydrate consumption and the plethora of Syndrome X diseases as well as, of course, obesity. This book and several related ones by this group of authors sold and continue to sell millions of copies.

One low-carb diet; however, was much more successful and popular with the public than the others; that was Dr. Robert Atkins diet. Literally millions of people succeeded in losing weight and improving their overall health by following the programs put forth in Dr. Atkins New Diet Revolution.

Dr. Atkins nutritional approach spread primarily by word of mouth as people successful on the diet introduced it to others. The medical establishment was stubbornly against the Atkins approach and tried their best to discredit it. The debate over the Atkins nutritional plan grew into a roar as millions tried and succeeded losing weight and improving their health while the experts claimed it was wrong and could not be done. The real testament as to the validity of Dr. Atkins program is that while a large majority of the medical & nutritional establishment claimed his diet was just plain wrong, the number of people following the program continued to grow at a faster and faster pace as successful individuals motivated and encouraged their friends and others to try the Atkins Nutritional Plan.

As more and more people found the diet worked for them, other successful low carbohydrate diets quickly followed such as The Zone, Sugar Busters!, The No-Grain Diet, and The South Beach Diet, to name a few.

The revolution took off at amazing speed when Dr. Atkins published an updated version of his book, Dr. Atkins New Diet Revolution, in 2002. The new edition incorporated slight changes in his program based on his last 30 years of research. This edition of his book was soon followed by a plethora of published research findings validating the weight loss and health benefits of a low carbohydrate diet. Some people in the groups that previously attacked his diet were now considering the possibility that low carbohydrate consumption was a safe, effective way to lose weight and eat for life.

Now millions of people are doing Atkins, and the revolution has skyrocketed. Companies have begun putting out a myriad of low carbohydrate foods, which have quite literally flown off the shelves. More and more restaurants are providing low carbohydrate menus or net carbohydrate counts on their existing menu items. Even fast food companies have jumped on the bandwagon with low carbohydrate hamburgers, wraps, and breakfast bowls.

What the future holds for low carbohydrate diets is anyones guess. They have entered the mainstream, and the results of current research will certainly have a major impact on the continued acceptance of low carbohydrate diets. I am certain that Mr. Banting would be pleased to see the low-carb revolutionized world of today.

Elleth Faewen and Frank Arnade, co-authors, both began the Atkins diet in 2003, and they made low-carbohydrate dieting a way of life. They provide support for those interested in low-carb dieting at

Elleth Faewen also provides support for women at, an Internet company dedicated to helping women who are trying to conceive, pregnant, or adopting.

Frank Arnade has an MBA and now runs his own business selling high quality herb ingredients at, an Internet company dedicated to providing the best quality ingredients and excellent customer service.

Related Links:

You Are What You Eat

Why Many Fat Free Diets Do Not Work

Vegetable Diets: Facts For Fitness

Diets - Why Drastic Does Not Work

Low Carb Intelligence vs. Low Carb Stupidity

Diet Resource Site

Diet Articles

Low Carb Intelligence vs. Low Carb Stupidity

Remember that movie with Jim Carey, Dumb and Dumber? And remember the sequel to that movie, Dumb and Dumberer? Well, the low carb mania that is sweeping the globe today has reached a level beyond dumberer Its more like dumberererer (try to say that five times real fast)

There is an epidemic of low carb stupidity running rampant among millions of people throughout the world today and fast food restaurants, food product manufacturers, supplement companies, and weight loss programs are capitalizing on it in a big way!

The low carb diet is not inherently stupid, however. It can be quite beneficial within certain parameters and under the right circumstances. The problem is that many practitioners are uninformed, misinformed, or simply lack the common sense and intuitive bodily wisdom to utilize the low carb approach intelligently.

Many low-carbers dont even know why they are on a low carb diet, theyre just following the followers (Not intelligent!) Doing what everyone else is doing is always one of the surest, straightest routes to arrive at mediocrity! If you want to be a success, your chances are far greater if you look at what the masses are doing and do the exact opposite!

Fortunately, there is such a thing as low carb intelligence. Hopefully, by reading my brief rant, you will increase your carb IQ, and soon join the ranks of the extraordinarily fit, lean and healthy carbo geniuses!

Low carb stupidity #1

Selecting your beer or liquor carefully to make sure you have the brand with the fewest grams of carbs.

Low carb intelligence

Avoiding alcohol if youre trying to lose body fat. Drinking only in moderation if youre trying to maintain your weight and be healthy.

Low carb stupidity #2

Believing any of the following: Low carbs diets are the only way to lose fat, low carb diets are the best way to lose fat, no one should ever eat a high carb diet, high carbs always make you fat, starches and grains make everyone sick and unhealthy.

Low carb intelligence

Adjusting your approach according to your health status, your goals and your body type, not according to generalizations preached by dogmatic diet gurus.

Low carb stupidity #3

Going on the Atkins diet (or any other very low carb/ketogenic diet) with absolutely no idea why youre doing it or how the diet works (going on it because everybody is doing it and because you see it advertised everywhere.)

Low carb intelligence

Studying the physiology and biochemistry of the low carb diet and completely understanding all the pros and cons. Then making an informed decision whether to restrict carbs based on your own personal goals, needs and heath status.

Low carb stupidity #4

Thinking that very low carb (ketogenic) dieting is a maintainable lifestyle.

Low carb intelligence

Understanding that reasonable (moderate) restriction of carbs can be a helpful short term strategy for fat loss, a good way to reach a peak, a legitimate method to control appetite, and an effective way for some people to control insulin. But also understanding that a balanced diet of natural foods is probably the most suitable of all the diets for health, lifelong maintenance and weight control.

Low carb stupidity #5

Believing calories dont count if you just cut out your carbs (or not counting calories because its too much work.)

Low carb intelligence

Knowing that fat loss always did and always will boil down to calories in vs. calories out. Taking the time and effort to crunch your numbers (at least once), typing up your menu on a spreadsheet, keeping a diary, and/or using nutrition tracking software.

Low carb stupidity #6

Staying on a low carb diet that has stopped working (or never worked in the first place).

Low carb intelligence

Adjusting your diet according to your results; understanding that a common definition of insanity (and/or stupidity) is to continue to do the same things over and over again, while expecting a different result.

Low carb stupidity#7

Believing that you dont need exercise because all you need to do is cut carbs.

Low carb intelligence

Knowing that dieting is the worst way to lose fat and that exercise is the best way to lose fat (Burn The Fat, dont starve the fat).

Low carb stupidity #8

Using the argument; Theres no such thing as an essential carbohydrate as justification for low carb dieting.

Low carb intelligence

Realizing that textbook definitions of essential can be taken out of context to promote a fad diet and that just because theres technically no essential carbohydrates (as there are essential amino acids and fatty acids) doesnt mean carbohydrates arent essential in other respects.

Low carb stupidity #9

Using the argument, You have to eat fat to lose fat as justification for a high fat, low carb diet, without explaining it or putting it in context (exactly how much fat and what kind of fat?)

Low carb intelligence

Understanding the importance of essential and omega three fats (the good fats), but not taking any single nutritional principle to an extreme (such as, If a little fat is good for you then a lot is even better.)

Low carb stupidity #10

Saying, All carbs are bad or All carbs are fattening.

Low carb intelligence

Avoiding generalizations, and instead, having multiple distinctions about carbohydrates (and other foods) so you can make better choices. For example:

Low GI vs. high GI carbs
Simple vs. complex carbs
Starchy vs. fibrous carbs
Natural vs. refined carbs
High calorie density vs. low calorie density carbs

Low carb stupidity #11

Not clarifying your definition of low carbs.

Low carb intelligence

Realizing that there are very low carb diets, low carb diets, and moderate carb diets and that you cant lump them all together. (Some people consider The Zone Diet, at 40% of calories from carbs, a low carb diet, others consider 40% carbs quite high).

Low carb stupidity #12

Believing that carrots are fattening because theyre high on the glycemic index and because a popular fad diet book says so.

Low carb intelligence

Have we lost all vestiges of common sense? With an average carrot clocking in at 31 calories and 7.3 grams of carbs, do you really think that this orange-colored, nutrient-dense, low-calorie, all-natural, straight-out-of-the-ground root vegetable is going to make you fat? (if so, you are in "carbohydrate kindergarten.")

Low carb stupidity Lucky #13

Eating lots of processed and packaged low carb foods (including those protein candy bars) and thinking youre being good and following your diet.

Low carb intelligence

Realizing that natural, unrefined foods are one of the keys to lifelong weight control and that anything man made and refined is NOT an ideal diet food including the highly processed low carb foods that are all the rage this year. (Doesnt this bandwagon reek of the late 80s and early 90s no fat craze, when all those fat free foods were being passed off as healthy diet food, but were really highly processed and full of pure sugar?)

--End of Stupidities--

Forgive me for the obvious dashes of sarcasm, but sometimes I just cant help myself and I end up going into rant mode I think the last time this happened was in my newsletter almost a year ago that was the issue where I wrote about the ad for the candy bar that increases your bench press by 50 pounds? Yeah... I heard those bars are especially effective when you combine them with low carb potato chips (weren't those low fat potato chips a few years ago??? Oh nevermind... it's all soooo confusing!)

Copyright 2005 Tom Venuto

Tom Venuto is a certified personal trainer, natural bodybuilder and author of the #1 best selling diet e-book, "Burn the Fat, Feed The Muscle. You can get info on Tom's e-book at: To get Tom's free monthly e-zine, visit

Related Links:

7 Reasons Low Carb Diets are Wrong

Top 15 Reasons to Avoid Low Carb Diets

Low Carb and Lowfat Diets...A Scam?!

How to Select the Best Diet for You?