business news in context, analysis with attitude

Reuters reports that food companies are beginning to see a real impact from the teachings of Dr. Robert Atkins, the diet guru who says that protein and fat are good and that carbohydrates and sugar are bad.

There reportedly are some 15 million Americans on some form of the Atkins diet, generating millions of dollars in sales of low-carb products and turning Atkins’ books into best-sellers.

However, according to Reuters, Atkins’ popularity is “fraying the nerves of some food companies who rely on the consumer appetite for carbohydrate-laden foods such as pastas and pizzas, cakes, cookies and cereals, to add heft to their own bottom lines.”

This is particularly critical at a time when the decade-old “Federal Food Guide Pyramid” is being reconsidered, with some suggesting that it is wrong to advise people that six-to-11 servings per day of bread, cereals, rice, and pasta are the foundation for healthy eating.

The argument against Atkins isn’t that people won’t lose weight on the diet -- they do -- but that it may be damaging their bodies in other ways, creating the possibility of cardiovascular disease, high cholesterol, kidney damage, some cancers, headaches, constipation and even bad breath. This logic says that carbs don’t cause obesity, but that laziness and overeating do.
KC's View:
We think that if the argument against Atkins suggests that people should eat more pizza, cakes and cookies, it’s not going to be very successful. But if it means people should have a rounded diet that includes whole grain rice and pasta, and that they should exercise frequently, then it stands a better chance.

From our perspective, we can tell you that Mrs. Content Guy has managed to lose 15 pounds (that she didn’t really need to lose) on Atkins over the past month or so. But we’ve had so much steak, bacon, eggs and other such stuff in our house lately that the rest of us are going a little crazy. (When we jumped off the diet, which we’d started with her, Mrs. Content Guy seemed ready to initiate divorce proceedings.)

We’ve also found that we’re spending more money on food that she’s willing and able to eat, not less money. So somebody’s getting richer. (Probably Stew Leonard’s…)

We just have trouble with a concept that bacon is better for you than a banana. (Yes, we know we’re oversimplifying. But we do that.)