Diet Gurus Belly Up to the Debate Table
WebMD News Archive
Meanwhile, Sears attacked Ornish's plan, charging that patients on his diet
had died of heart attacks. And Glickman told reporters that he personally would
be unable to adhere to a vegetarian regimen.
Robin Woo, PhD, deputy director of Georgetown University's Center for Food
and Nutrition Policy, tells WebMD, "The [Atkins] low-carb, high-protein
diet is excellent for the early management and treatment of some diabetes
conditions. The Ornish diet, with the very low fat, is very good for some
problems with [hardening of the arteries] and some of the cardiovascular
conditions [such as heart disease and stroke]."
But Woo says, "The unbiased academic would say that none of those diets
are ideal. They are for diseased states. They're not good for the long haul. We
have to remember that we're omnivores, that we should have balanced
Ayoob had a similar view, saying that "the real issue is long-term
weight management," with research telling us that "diets don't
work." Any diet would work in the short-term, he said, as long as it cut
The other diet gurus proposed varying plans. According to Bethea, co-creator
of a low-sugar diet, eaters should not drink water with meals and should avoid
potatoes, beets, corn, and carrots. But under Sears' "zone" approach,
individuals should focus on eating fruits, vegetables, and low-fat
McDougall, supporter of a low-fat, starch-based diet, maintained that both
plans were "semi-starvation" approaches, because they were too complex
and would leave people hungry.
The diet program kings agreed on relatively little. But their consensus
areas included that water and physical activity are crucial to weight loss and
health, that Americans should eat less refined and processed food, that smaller
meals throughout the day are best, and that Americans should generally eat less
Woo tells WebMD, "The message is moderation in everything. Avoid taking
intensive saturated fats and fatty acids. Make sure that you're positive in
your eating habits, that you get good variety, that you eat plenty of
vegetables and fruits, and that you get enough protein and calcium."
After their debate, the pack of diet gurus completed their day like
Washington politicians might -- by smiling and clustering together for an
official photo with Glickman.