What the Huh?

by Dan Malovany
Sometimes I see things that make me go what-the-huh and think, “What the heck were you thinking in the first place, boy?”
Take the lawsuit filed by a Florida man, suing Atkins Nutritionals Inc. The former hard-core Atkins follower alleges that the diet almost killed him. According to reports out of Palm Beach, he ate gobs of pastrami and cheesecake for more than two years while on a low-carb bend. As a result, his cholesterol skyrocketed, his arteries clogged up, and he had to have angioplasty.
What a moron.
Of course, in America, just because you’re a bonehead doesn’t mean you can’t sue to try to get a jury of your peers to compensate you because you are, indeed, pathetically stupid.
Because nuisance suits drive me crazy, I almost agree with the Atkins folks that this whole thing should be dropped. Well, that is, if it weren’t for my stronger belief that the diet is unhealthy and the late doctor preyed on suckers who thought they could safely lose weight going on a pastrami-and-cheesecake bender or a steak-and-bacon diet.
Atkins’ attorneys countered that Mr. Pastrami ate food that wasn’t on the diet. Then they argued that the diet book is no more responsible for health problems than the Weather Channel is for giving the wrong weather report.
What-the-HUH? Does that mean we have a 40% chance of losing weight or a 60% chance of gaining it with this diet? Will we be partly fat or mostly thin? Sounds to me like they’re saying the Atkins diet is an inexact science.
Now, the judge in the Atkins’ case should have thrown them all in the clink for insulting our intelligence, but noooo. She let it proceed. Maybe she wants Fox-TV to turn it into a reality show called “The Gluttons” where slobs pig out week after week before a national audience and the last person to clutch their chest and drop wins. Woo hoo! You won the defibrillator challenge. Come and join the Zipper Club.
Hopefully, the justice system will finally prove that dumb and dumber doesn’t add up to smart. Then again, don’t hold your breath.
And, maybe Americans are finally getting the message that calories, not carbs, count. The latest NPD Group study, which tracks what people actually eat, shows the percent of true low-carb dieters has plummeted to 5% — about half of what it was about six months ago.
Sure, carb watching will remain part of the overall health consciousness for some time. And yes, it will continue to impact several bakery categories. However, the trend in the bread aisle is morphing nicely toward whole grains. That’s great news for the industry. Meanwhile, sweet good producers are successfully playing the indulgence card. Hey, if you’re going to be bad, be really bad. If you’re going to count calories, make them count.
Unfortunately, there are simply too many Mr. Pastramis and Ms. Cheesecakes out there. In the end, the low-carb fad shows us once again that Americans can’t stick to any diet, whether it be low carb, low fat or low cal.
Yes, Americans have spent billions of dollars over the years on fad diets, and what have we got to show for it? We’re an inch taller and 25 lbs. heavier than we were 40 years ago, and we’re not getting any thinner. The latest studies show that 60% of Americans are still either obese or extremely overweight. The good news, if you can call it that, is that the percent of overweight Americans is the same as it was last year. The bad news is that it’s the holiday season. There’s still time to set a new record.
Do I hear 65%, 70% or 75%? Nope, I don’t hear nuttin’. Maybe that’s because everyone’s mouths are too full.
Editor’s Note: I would like to thank the Grain Foods Foundation for changing its name from Foundation for the Advancement of Grain Based Foods. Aside from the fact that the name is shorter, it was tough to come up with an, uh, appropriate acronym for the previous name. Think about it.