Alright, I guess it's time I gave you guys my opinion on all this Atkins crap.
Oh, wait, I just did. That was easy.
For those of you who have been living under a rock for the past year and a half, Atkins is to diet as Satanism is to religion. In either case, you have a belief system that attempts to change people's behaviour. All the various major religions and dieting systems preach the importance of (virtue / low fat-high fiber), though they do so in very different ways. Then, very recently, along comes this young upstart (Aleister Crowley/Robert Atkins) who preaches the exact opposite (vice / high protein-low carbs).
Here's where the metaphor breaks down. Satanism was actually practised by very few people, and those who claim to practice it now are mostly black-clad teenagers trying to annoy their parents. Atkins has taken over the world.
All of a sudden, people have started enjoying their protein and cutting the carbs. Restaurants are offering bizarre low-carb treats for their fad-conscious clientele. Steak has become health food, and the baked potato that comes with it is a calorie-laden temptation.
The pendulum has swung.
Of course, weight loss has never been about high carbs or low carbs or low fat or high protein. You could eat nothing but butter for the rest of your (short) life, and you could still lose weight. Weight loss, as an end in itself, requires only one thing: that your calories in be less than your calories out.
That's it. That's the secret to dieting, right there. Eat less energy than you expend. Input must be less than output.
Chris Crosby, my role model and one-time patron, recently turned to Atkins in an attempt to shed the 350 pound girdle of fat that encases his torso and threatens his health. After a week or so, he wrote, with disappointment, that though he had been eating nothing but ribs for the past seven days, he had not lost weight. He claimed he was betrayed by a deceptively high-carb barbecue sauce.
It wasn't the sauce that screwed you up, Chris. You were betrayed by your own phenomenal efficiency at consuming ribs.
It's that efficiency that Atkins - or any other nutritional skew - attempts to override. It is difficult for you to obtain food, and it is difficult for your body to extract energy from that food, when some artificial standard has made one nutrient good and another evil.
You know what's making a comeback, as a result of this carnivorous chicanery? Gout. The kidneys of well-meaning Atkinsites around the world are being overwhelmed by lactic acid, and the natural uric acid they're supposed to filter out of the body is collecting and crystallizing in people's big toes. It's disfiguring, it's painful, and it's incurable.
That's a side effect, though, to any unbalanced diet. Sure, you get fewer calories, and that's good, but when your body gets too much of one nutrient and not enough of another, you get disorders. Scurvy, rickets, dizziness, heel spurs, anaemia, and corneal melting.
I'd rather be fat.