The High Priest of High-Protein, Low-Carb Diets
March 23, 2001 (Orlando) -- By his own admission, Robert C.
Atkins, MD, author of the best-selling diet books The Diet Revolution
and Dr. Atkins' New Diet Revolution, has experience "not as a
research scientist but as a practicing internist/cardiologist with 41 years of
practice, in which time I treated 20,000 patients with heart-related problems
Atkins, founder and medical director of the Atkins Center for
Complementary Medicine in New York, discussed his popular but controversial
diet plan in a one-on-one interview with WebMD.
Is your diet plan appropriate for everyone, or
are there people who should not be on it?
Atkins: The whole idea that one diet is best doesn't
make any sense to me. But there are many people who can benefit from my
Atkins: There are an awful lot of people who have an
insulin disorder, and among the people with insulin disorder are certainly the
overweight group; diabetics; people with unstable blood sugar, which is called
low blood sugar; and people with hypertension. It's also very useful for
preventing the recurrence of breast cancer, it's useful for polycystic ovary
syndrome, and we use it for [the digestive disorders] Crohn's disease and
colitis. So there are an awful lot of situations where we might use our
Your diet allows high-fat foods such as
and sausage, but that flies in the face of conventional
wisdom in cardiology, which holds that to prevent heart disease you need to
avoid fats, and if you're already at risk -- overweight, high cholesterol
levels, etc. -- you should seriously cut back on your intake of fats from
Atkins: As far as cardiovascular disease is concerned, I
think it's the treatment of choice for people who have [high levels of]
triglycerides [harmful blood fats] ... and it's also very useful for raising
the HDL [good] cholesterol levels when they're too low.
Any time you have a heart patient, there's a combination of
prevention and reversal and controlling the illness, so that when people have
heart problems the diet is quite appropriate.