February 18, 2004  
Volume 97, Issue 77  

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NEWS

Conspiracy Theory

By Laura Katsirdakis
Gazette Staff

Why is the Atkins diet so pervasive? Why has it gained such incredible popularity and widespread use? Conspiracy theory has found the answer.

The shining Atkins legacy was tainted by news that Robert Atkins, the creator of the popular diet, was obese when he passed away last April. Atkins, who followed his own diet, died at 72 from injuries he sustained from a fall while jogging. After his death, theWall Street Journal obtained medical records showing he was obese and had congestive hearth failure and hypertension.

Atkins’ widow reacted by publicly stating her husband’s condition was not caused by his diet. She has good reason to defend him. Other diet gurus have seen their empires collapse after their founders died with similar health problems.

When Atkins initially published his low carb diet suggestions in a 1972 book, the American Medical Association stated his plan was “without scientific merit.” When a second book promoting the diet was published in 1999, Atkins was able to sell over 10 million copies and even launched a line of 50 food products and over 100 nutritional supplements.

What’s this mean? Another news item that has been floating around persistently since 1999 has been the mad cow breakouts.

In Europe, and more recently in North America, the discovery of cattle infected with mad cow put a strain on the industry that led mainstream media to speculate about the onset of vegetarianism as a result of the outbreaks.
What better way to bolster the beef industry than to promote the growth and popularity of a diet that directs people to eat more meat.

Crazy, you say? How often is it that fad diets reach a level of popularity so widespread that restaurants start adding menu items specifically catered to them?

 

 

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