Unfortunately, people, especially women, have been worried about
looks since the beginning of time. Cave women were probably
complaining to their husbands about how the wooly mammoth fur made
their thighs look fat, only to receive a primordial, uninterested
grunt. Oddly enough, that is the same grunt used by men today; but
The past decades have seen fad diets some in and out. The
Cabbage Soup diet, Seven Day All-You-Can-Eat diet and the
Grapefruit diet are just a small sampling of myriad examples.
However, when the Grapefruit diet hit it big, you didn’t see fast
food chains run out, buy up all the grapefruits and starts offering
grapefruit-friendly burgers. Today’s newest fad diet, the Atkins
Diet, is hitting the street and affecting every aspect of food in
This diet, which has actually been around since the 1970s,
raises some very disturbing questions including, “What are the
expenses to such a diet?”, “Why has society embraced this low-carb
eating?” and “Will I ever get a normal hamburger again?”
The Atkins Diet is based on the premise that the real culprits
to disease and obesity are those nasty carbohydrates, which
disguise themselves in tasty pizzas, birthday cakes and bagels.
Never mind the fact that carbs give you energy, these things cause
fat and thus must be avoided at all costs. Dieters start out by
cutting out all carbohydrates, allowing only 20 grams a day. That’s
a significant reduction from the normal 300 grams a day. After the
two-week introductory period, carbohydrates are introduced back to
the body at five-gram increments, maximizing at a mere 50 grams.
Two more phases complete the diet, allowing a few more carbs, but
still focusing on the abstinence of the evil substance.
The American Dietetic Association does not promote this diet.
Shouldn’t that be your first clue? Eatright.org states that if a
diet promises a quick fix, encourages people to stop eating certain
foods or identifies “good” and “bad” foods, you are probably better
off skipping it. As the old saying goes, “If it sound too good to
be true, it probably is.”
The expenses to this diet are two fold, the expense of the food
and the expense of your health and possibly sanity. Every
restaurant and food manufacturer has jumped on the Atkins wagon.
Subway offers “Atkins-friendly” wraps, and Carl’s Jr. promotes the
“Low-Carb Six-Dollar Burger,” consisting of a piece of meat wrapped
in a lettuce leaf. Peanut butter, bread and pizza have all been
subject to the carb slim down and are offered at a pretty penny. It
may take a small loan to finance this eating fad. The monetary
expenses are arbitrary compared to the health expenses. Kathleen
Zelman, a spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association, states
that “..you can also burn muscle, and body protein can be in the
form of muscle — your heart muscle.” I don’t know about you, but I
really appreciate my heart muscle. We have grown pretty close over
the years and I would not want to do anything to cause it to hate
The reason people have embraced this diet is the quick fix. Who
wouldn’t want to loss 10 pounds in two weeks? Americans are experts
at finding the easy way out, and the door to Atkins is wide open. I
am not a doctor (and you should always talk to a doctor about any
diet), but I have always found that the best way to live is
moderation. Sure, eating only bread for every meal is not going to
keep you healthy, but neither is eating all carrots. The key to
remaining healthy, and sane, is eating right and exercising.
Hopefully, this diet will be a passing fad and people will begin
to focus all their will power into consistent exercise and healthy
eating. However, until those in society become content with
themselves, the fad diet will always have a place in their hearts.
If you will excuse me, I need to get off my soapbox now because I
can’t reach my bagel from way up here.
Stacey is a senior majoring in marketing. Her column appears
every other Tuesday.