Shameful Atkins Bashing by

RANT mode definitely ON

I spend some time on as there’s a small but interesting community of Zoners there and it’s one of Dr Sears official sites. I received an email from them yesterday advertising a press release which they’ve posted on their front page here The article is entitled: “Arizona State Researchers find Zone is superior to Atkins for energy, healthy bones, and cholesterol levels.”

I was shocked when I read this article. It’s one of the most sensationalised, vitriolic, gutter tabloid, trash journalism, being passed off as real “science”. The factually incorrect research jumps to wild and unfounded conclusions, in a desperate attempt to make The Zone Diet look better than Atkins. It shows a surprising level of insecurity on behalf of the Zone Diet, that it feels the constant need to bash the Atkins Diet by constantly comparing themselves, and trying to discredit Atkins.

I went off on one in the comments and have felt quite justified in my criticism by being backed up by several other commenters too. This is a reproduction of my comment (or you can read it at the bottom of the article linked above):

By Colin @ Tuesday, December 11, 2007 3:38 AM
Before I critique this article, I’d like to say that I’ve tried both the Atkins and the Zone, and I find the Zone to be the superior diet and am a big advocate of it. However it’s a shame that such a biased report such as this appears on this website.

> The Atkins diet entails very low carbohydrate, less than 20 grams daily,

That is a factually incorrect statement. The Atkins takes a 4 stage process, the first of which is a very strict “Induction Phase” which dictates a 20g carb per day restriction, but this is only for the first 2 weeks. Note this is not “less than” 20 grams as the article says, and the article makes no reference to the fact this is only for 2 weeks, which Atkins freely admits should not be sustained.

> The downside of severely low carbohydrate intake is that dieters go in to what’s called ketosis or the inefficiency of the body to oxidize fat

I have 2 issues with this statement. The first is that Ketosis is not a “downside” of the Atkins diet, it is in fact the *aim* of the diet. Atkins asserts that the presence of ketones in the urine is a natural by product of burning fat for energy, and is simply a measure of the diets success.

The second is that in the article ketosis is defined as “inefficiency of the body to oxidize fat”. I do not believe that is a suitable interpretation of the term ketosis, rather it’s one that attempts to paint ketosis as bad.

> their research uncovered that the ketogenic diet may increase bone loss because of an increase in acid in the body

Very inflammatory use of the word “uncovered” here, suggesting some dark revelation, whereas in fact the research found “an increase in acid” though which one and where and how much isn’t mentioned. Note also that they did not discover bone loss, they discovered an increase of acid, and made the very unscientific leap that this acid “may” result in bone loss, without any evidence of that.

> a higher percentage of calcium was found in the urine of those on the KLC diet, leading the researchers to believe that the bones are “leaching” calcium.

Another shocking and knee jerk interpretation of the facts here. The Atkins is typically a high calcium diet, due often to an increase in intake of dairy products. Leaping to the conclusion that bones are “leaching” calcium (is that even possible?) strikes me as a desperate attempt at trying to make the facts match a pre-existence theory, rather than real science.

A proper scientific response here should have been: We detected in increase in Calcium in the urine, a specific dietary controlled study is required to determine if a low carb diet is responsible, where 2 diets are compared that have an equal intake of calcium.

> those following the KLC diet experienced a greater increase in LDL cholesterol

It is laughable that this argument is used to discredit the Atkins diet, when Dr Sears himself has regularly stated that cholesterol is an irrelevance, e.g. when it comes to preventing heart attacks. I quote Dr Sears from p17 of The Anti Inflammation Zone: “The trouble is, 50 percent of all heart attacks occur in people with normal cholesterol levels, and the best drug that reduces heart attacks (aspirin) doesn’t have any effect on cholesterol levels.”

> Their most recent article published in October explains that the body needs carbohydrates for energy so if you are taking in an extremely low amount of carbohydrates and only receiving energy from protein

Fat is stored carbohydrates. Stored energy for later use. That’s why it’s there. In order for any dieter on any diet to lose fat, that fat must by definition been broken down for use as energy. This ridiculous statement that “the body needs carbohydrates for energy” is an attack on all diets. It is also extremely rare for the body to consume protein for energy, something that only occurs in extreme cases of malnutrition.

Let me summarise, I am a believer in the Zone Diet as a superior diet to Atkins, but for reasons that are nothing to do with the content of this article. I sincerely hope that Dr Sears is not aware that such a biased and factually incorrect article, one that is almost devoid of any scientific process, is being used to promote his diet. The Zone diet does not need this kind of tabloid journalism and today I am ashamed to call myself a Zone convert and be associated with this tripe.

RANT mode OFF.

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