Mar 292004
Authors: Stacey Schneider

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

I digress.

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? 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 “ 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.

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