Dr. Robert C. Atkins, 72, the low-carbohydrate, high-protein diet guru, died several days after suffering a severe head injury during a fall:
- Atkins died Thursday at the New York Weill-Cornell Medical Center after falling on an icy sidewalk April 8, said his spokesman, Richard Rothstein. He underwent surgery to remove a blood clot from his brain.
Atkins first advocated his plan – which emphasizes meat, eggs and cheese and discourages bread, rice and fruit – in his 1972 book, “Dr. Atkins’ Diet Revolution.”
When the book was published, the medical establishment was promoting a low-fat, high-carbohydrate diet. The American Medical Association dismissed the Atkins’ diet as nutritional folly and Congress summoned him to Capitol Hill to defend the plan.
Labeling it “potentially dangerous,” the AMA said the diet’s scientific underpinning was “naive” and “biochemically incorrect.” It scolded the book’s publishers for promoting “bizarre concepts of nutrition and dieting.”
Despite this, Atkins’ books sold 15 million copies and his diet attracted millions of followers. His philosophy enjoyed a revival in the 1990s with “Dr. Atkins’ New Diet Revolution,” which spent five years on The New York Times best-seller list. His most recent book, “Atkins for Life,” has been on the Times’ best-seller list since its release in January.
This year, his approach was vindicated in part by the very medical community that derided him. In February, some half-dozen studies showed people on the Atkins diet lost weight without compromising their health. The studies showed that Atkins dieters’ cardiovascular risk factors and overall cholesterol profiles changed for the better. [AP]
Vindication, then expiration – life is weird.