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Is Atkins the Healthiest Choice for Weight Loss?
ABC News ^ | April 12, 2007 | ABC News

Posted on 04/17/2007 2:03:10 PM PDT by freedomdefender

The beleaguered Atkins diet may get a breath of life from a new study that suggests the high-protein, low-carbohydrate diet regime leads to more effective weight loss with fewer negative health effects than three other weight loss strategies.

The study, which pits the Atkins diet against the Zone, Ornish and LEARN diets, appears in the current issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).

Related: Questions About Breast Cancer? Ask National Experts.

But the findings could be too little too late for the popular diet, which at one time changed the way Americans ate.

Proponents of Atkins say the study is only the latest piece of evidence testifying to the effectiveness of a diet that cuts carbs to a minimum.

"Clearly, this study shows that controlling carbohydrates is as or more effective than the low-fat, low-calorie approaches we've seen in the past," says Dr. Stuart Trager, author of "The All-New Atkins Advantage: 12 Weeks to a New Body, a New You, a New Life."

"The proof is now in the pudding," says Dr. Fred Pescatore, former medical director of the Atkins Center and best-selling author of "The Hamptons Diet," a guide on another low-carb regime.

"These findings are consistent with over a dozen papers in the past five years demonstrating the beneficial effects of carbohydrate restriction," says Dr. Eric Westman, associate professor of medicine and director of the Lifestyle Medicine Clinic at Duke University Medical Center. "I think low-carbohydrate diets should be first-line therapy for weight loss."

But will the new research be enough to save Atkins — or even restore it to its former lead position in the pack of new diet regimes? Many diet experts say no.

"Health is not measured as the combination of several cardiac risk markers and weight over the course of a year," says Dr. David Katz, director of the Prevention Research Center at Yale University School of Medicine. "If it were, every patient getting chemotherapy would be 'healthy.'"

"Some heart indicators were better, but what about the mountains of evidence about high consumption of fruits and vegetables to promote overall health?" says Keith-Thomas Ayoob, associate professor at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine's department of pediatrics in Bronx, N.Y.

The JAMA study suggests that women on the Atkins diet not only lose more weight than those on the other diets studied, but that these women also maintain better cholesterol profiles and blood pressure levels.

Related: Questions About Breast Cancer? Ask National Experts.

But Dr. Dean Ornish, creator of the Ornish diet and president of the Preventive Medicine Research Institute in San Francisco, says the conclusions from these findings are misguided.

"This is simply not true," he says. "If you read the study carefully, you will find that the authors reported that there was no significant difference in weight loss between the Atkins and Ornish or LEARN diets after one year.

"This directly contradicts their primary conclusion."

Other experts say the fact that the study only features results for up to one year makes such conclusions premature at best.

"The weight loss with Atkins maxed out after six months and really started regaining then, and somewhat faster than with the other diets," Ayoob says. "It would be interesting to see if, by 18 months or so, everything evened out."

"The public may not realize that keeping weight off for one year is no indication of permanence," says Carla Wolper of the Obesity Research Center at St. Luke's Hospital in New York City.

"It may be that more than two years of weight stability are required before one can feel safe with weight loss achieved."

And some say the shortcomings of the research reach beyond simple weight loss. In particular, there's a belief that the study downplays the wide spectrum of factors that contribute to heart health.

"Numbers don't lie, but they don't tell the whole story — by a mile," says Jackie Newgent, instructor at the Institute of Culinary Education in New York City. "There are more than just a couple numbers that determine your overall health. And as cholesterol numbers and blood pressure levels improve, it doesn't mean other heart-health indicators improve."

Since heart concerns have remained at the center of the debate over low-carb diets since their inception, the study may do little to silence critics with these concerns.

In recent years, the Atkins diet has also found itself surrounded by a lean, mean pack of other diet regimens, most with their own best-selling books.

Related: Questions About Breast Cancer? Ask National Experts.

Michael Roizen and Mehmet Oz's "You: On a Diet," one of the more recent wunderkinds of the growing diet genre, is now enjoying its 17th week on The New York Times best-seller list.

Other diets, low-carb and otherwise, likewise flood bookstore shelves — a phenomenon that threatens to lead to diet-reader fatigue as the choices become ever more diverse and, in many cases, complex.

So, what's a dieter to do?

In short, losing weight and keeping it off may be more a function of adopting an overall healthier lifestyle — and less about cutting whole classes of foods out of your diet.

"This is the message of this article — focus on lifestyle and environmental factors and don't worry about the macronutrient composition of the diet, particularly if you can achieve the NHLBI guidelines of a 5 to 10 percent weight loss," says Dr. George Blackburn, chair in nutrition medicine at Harvard Medical School. "I think that was my message for the past 20 years."

"A healthy diet is the same as it ever was," Katz says. "Focus on health, and the long term, and your weight will take care of itself."

"It's not about demonizing whole food groups," Ayoob says. "It's about how much and how often, and learning to strike a balance between what we know we need, and what we don't want to live without."

And for diet book authors on both sides of the debate, an armistice in the "diet wars" would be a positive outcome by any measure.

"I'm tired of these diet wars," Ornish says. "It's not low-fat versus low-carb. It's both. An optimal diet is low in total fat and low in refined carbohydrates, emphasizing whole foods such as fruits, vegetables and whole grains."

"The future needs to be about getting away from this 'beauty pageant' mentality of what diet is best," Trager says. "It needs to be about incorporating the best practices of each approach to make lifestyle changes more achievable and improve adherence."


TOPICS: Culture/Society
KEYWORDS: atkins
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1 posted on 04/17/2007 2:03:11 PM PDT by freedomdefender
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To: freedomdefender

Eat less, excise more. Best diet plan there is.


2 posted on 04/17/2007 2:05:06 PM PDT by P-40 (Al Qaeda was working in Iraq. They were just undocumented.)
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To: freedomdefender

It really bugs me when people criticize the Atkins diet but have never read through the whole thing. They stop at “butter, whole cream, and steaks” and have a figurative heart attack. If you follow the plan, you end up eating about a pound of vegetables a day, healthy fats, drinking lots of water, and getting plenty of protein. Because of the way it preserves muscle by burning off fat, you look leaner and lose inches. However, it is NOT a “diet” that you go on for a while and then go off. It is truly a way of eating that, once you reach your goal weight, should continue for the rest of your life.


3 posted on 04/17/2007 2:10:42 PM PDT by ChocChipCookie (Homeschool like your kids' lives depend on it.)
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To: freedomdefender

Ornish is simply wrong about grains. Humans are not meant to eat a lot of grains. They are meant to eat vegetables, fruits (especially low sugar fruits like berries) and meat. Not juices, not grains, and not refined sugar at all. The present USDA food pyramid (a product of ag interests)is based on grains and is a recipe for diabetes. Atkins is the only diet I have ever used that is effective and I’ve been able to stick to.


4 posted on 04/17/2007 2:11:39 PM PDT by Desperately Seeking Freedom
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To: P-40
Eat less, excise more. Best diet plan there is.

Sit on my butt, eat nachos and watch TV is far easier even if it is less effective.

5 posted on 04/17/2007 2:12:22 PM PDT by KarlInOhio (Parker v. DC: the best court decision of the year.)
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To: P-40

There’s GOT to be a better way!! ;o)


6 posted on 04/17/2007 2:13:40 PM PDT by Millee (Tagline free since 10/20/06)
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To: ChocChipCookie

If it’s not too much trouble, could you give me an example of a day’s menu on the Atkins’ plan. I did not know that vegetables were a big part of the plan, for example. I thought it was just a meat-eating thing.


7 posted on 04/17/2007 2:14:28 PM PDT by freedomdefender
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To: KarlInOhio

It’s less effective because that’s unbalanced.

You need to add ice cream or chocolate to hit all four ares.


8 posted on 04/17/2007 2:16:29 PM PDT by Hoodlum91 (I support global warming.)
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To: BibChr

bookmark

Worked out pretty healthy for me.

(How many posts before a clueless “Just don’t eat so much” post?)


9 posted on 04/17/2007 2:19:06 PM PDT by BibChr ("...behold, they have rejected the word of the LORD, so what wisdom is in them?" [Jer. 8:9])
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To: BibChr

Not long. See post 2.


10 posted on 04/17/2007 2:20:04 PM PDT by Hoodlum91 (I support global warming.)
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To: Desperately Seeking Freedom

I agree...the problem for me is getting back on it, once I’ve fallen off the wagon. :(


11 posted on 04/17/2007 2:20:20 PM PDT by alice_in_bubbaland (As for me, I will remain neutral...for the time being.)
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To: KarlInOhio
Sit on my butt, eat nachos and watch TV is far easier even if it is less effective.


12 posted on 04/17/2007 2:20:36 PM PDT by TChris (The Democrat Party: A sewer into which is emptied treason, inhumanity and barbarism - O. Morton)
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To: freedomdefender

In Stage 1, you’re to eat 20 carbs per day with at least half of them from vegetables. That’s 10+ carbs. However, when you deduct the fiber you get from the veggies, you need to actually eat way more than the 10 carbs. That might be a spinach/cheese omelet in the morning, a large salad with a variety of veggies plus protein for lunch, and maybe a steak or other protein with a couple of side cooked veggies for dinner. Believe me, you’re never hungry!


13 posted on 04/17/2007 2:24:02 PM PDT by ChocChipCookie (Homeschool like your kids' lives depend on it.)
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To: freedomdefender

The meat, eggs, salad is only for two weeks. That’s where everyone stops. They think that is the diet. Next phase is to add vegs. You can buy a carb counter. Men are allowed more carbs than women. After the two weeks you add carbs slowly but not going over the suggested carb count.
It works very well.


14 posted on 04/17/2007 2:26:45 PM PDT by Bitsy
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To: P-40
Eat less, excise more. Best diet plan there is.

Thread over. You win.

15 posted on 04/17/2007 2:27:21 PM PDT by Wormwood (Future Former Freeper)
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To: freedomdefender
The first two weeks are fairly restrictive, but during the long term weight loss phase my daily diet looks something like this:

Breakfast:
2 egg omelet with ham and cheese
1/2 c. strawberries
1c. low carb milk

Lunch:
2c. mixed greens
1/2 sliced med. cucumber
1/2 sliced med. bell pepper
4 oz. grilled chicken breast
1 Wasa bread cracker
Ranch Salad dressing

Dinner:

2c. mixed greens w/vinaigrette
(vinaigrette made with olive oil and your choice of vinegar)
6 spears steamed asparagus
6 oz. pan grilled sirloin
1/2 c. cubed cantaloupe

Snack:

1/2 c. smoked almonds
1/2 c. plain yogurt sweetened w/Splenda and vanilla extract

I like salads, so I eat at least one everyday. I usually have salads with both meals, and if I do brunch on a weekend I have a salad then.

16 posted on 04/17/2007 2:28:03 PM PDT by mouse_35
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To: KarlInOhio; P-40
“Eat less, excise more. Best diet plan there is.” P-40

“Sit on my butt, eat nachos and watch TV is far easier even if it is less effective.” KarlInOhio

At least KarlInOhio won’t be accused of having the latest “eating disorder” (overexercising).

http://www.healthyplace.com/Communities/Eating_Disorders/peacelovehope/exercise.asp

17 posted on 04/17/2007 2:28:03 PM PDT by USFRIENDINVICTORIA
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To: P-40
Eat less, excise more. Best diet plan there is.

First of all, the less you eat, the body will slow down your metabolism even more than it already has. Exercise more, fine and good except somebody already obese can't exercise very efficiently, if at all. There alot of different metabolisms and body types. And many reasons people can get fat, from illness to eating the wrong stuff. The Atkins diet works because it cuts out sugar, refined grains aka bad carbs.
18 posted on 04/17/2007 2:30:33 PM PDT by FreedomGuru
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To: freedomdefender
If it’s not too much trouble, could you give me an example of a day’s menu on the Atkins’ plan.

After my cardiologist demanded that I lose a ton and a dietitian's telling me that carbs were my problem,I started Atkins...the "strict" form (as described by the Atkins website).

Basically I ate beef,chicken,chicken salad,eggs and a few other things,and basically nothing else.I gave up many,many things that I was addicted to.Quickly,I discovered two things,1)the pounds were just falling off of me (I was "power-walking" religiously at the same time) and,2)how easy,*EASY* it was to stick to it...in spite of the fact that it was very restrictive and *very* boring.

My primary care doctor,who was trained at Harvard and whose practice was at one of the major Harvard hospitals,explained my success like this:

"Protein (in which Atkins is very rich) is more effective than any other kind of food in turning off the little switch in our brain that tells us we're hungry so those who follow it faithfully take in fewer calories and,thus,tend to lose weight and often find it easy to stick to the diet." (Of course,this isn't an exact quote)

19 posted on 04/17/2007 2:34:18 PM PDT by Gay State Conservative ("The meaning of peace is the absence of opposition to socialism."-Karl Marx)
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To: P-40

“Eat less, exercise more.”

Yes, but you can make a lot of money leading people to believe that there’s another, “easier” way.


20 posted on 04/17/2007 2:35:00 PM PDT by tabsternager
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To: ChocChipCookie
However, it is NOT a “diet” that you go on for a while and then go off. It is truly a way of eating that, once you reach your goal weight, should continue for the rest of your life.

That's the problem with Atkins in a nutshell. I've never tried that diet because I prefer to use commonsense eating habits along with exercise to stay in shape. However, I have known too many people who have tried it and lost weight, but because it it is an unnatural way of eating they weren't able to continue it "for the rest of their life". Those that I know who used the Atkins diet plan ended up not only gaining their weight back, but ended up weighing more than they did when they started the diet.

21 posted on 04/17/2007 2:40:09 PM PDT by Chena (I want a President who will also be tough against liberalism. (Kevin McCullough))
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To: P-40
If you need to lose under fifteen pounds yes. Anything over that and not really.

Certainly it may not be the healthiest.

22 posted on 04/17/2007 2:44:38 PM PDT by Harmless Teddy Bear (Mobile phones kill more people than exploding cupboards, ironing boards and Godzilla.)
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To: All

There are other reasons why the Atkins diet can be harmful and downright dangerous. I would suggest that people research the dangers of this sort of diet before trying it and consult with their doctor.


23 posted on 04/17/2007 2:50:07 PM PDT by Chena (I want a President who will also be tough against liberalism. (Kevin McCullough))
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To: ChocChipCookie; Bitsy

Thank you both. You exploded some myths/ignorance that I was holding about Atkins.


24 posted on 04/17/2007 2:50:53 PM PDT by freedomdefender
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To: mouse_35

That’s a lot of help. You went to quite a bit of trouble. Thank you.


25 posted on 04/17/2007 2:53:03 PM PDT by freedomdefender
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To: Gay State Conservative

interesting. thanks. congrats on your success.


26 posted on 04/17/2007 2:53:47 PM PDT by freedomdefender
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To: ChocChipCookie

Drives me nuts too.

I have been following the Fat Fallacy plan by Will Cower which, if you don’t mind the Donald Rumsfeld jabs, has some decent principles. It is based on the French way of eating.

It’s pretty much Atkins with beans and baguettes. A lot of all natural, nonprocessed food, avoiding High Fructose Corn Syrup, etc.

My mom asked my how I “lost the weight.” I started with the 5 servings of fruit and vegetables, moved to the 1 or 2 grains, mentioned the full fat dairy.....

She perked up. “Full fat dairy?!?” Of course that is only one piece that fits in a larger picture. Without the veggies and the behavior modification, I would have lost the weight.


27 posted on 04/17/2007 2:54:56 PM PDT by PrincessB ("I am an expert on my own opinion." - Dave Ramsey)
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To: freedomdefender

Keeping the carbs low works for me.


28 posted on 04/17/2007 2:55:44 PM PDT by TBP
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To: freedomdefender

Ever notice how they never give citations for these, erm, “dozens of scientific papers?” LOL


29 posted on 04/17/2007 2:59:33 PM PDT by Constantine XIII
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To: freedomdefender
"The beleaguered Atkins diet..."

Beleaguered by the disease industry perhaps.

It's the only weight loss diet that doesn't destroy your body.

30 posted on 04/17/2007 3:03:25 PM PDT by editor-surveyor (Turning the general election into a second Democrat primary is not a winning strategy.)
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To: freedomdefender

Eat less. That will cause you to lose weight.


31 posted on 04/17/2007 3:04:44 PM PDT by devane617 (Let's take back our country -- get a job in the MSM, or education system. We need you.)
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To: Desperately Seeking Freedom
"The present USDA food pyramid (a product of ag interests)is based on grains and is a recipe for diabetes"

You have to recognize that the disease industry makes billions off of diabetes.

32 posted on 04/17/2007 3:05:30 PM PDT by editor-surveyor (Turning the general election into a second Democrat primary is not a winning strategy.)
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To: mouse_35

Low carb milk?

Is that intended to be funny? Milk is a huge, high glycemic carb load.


33 posted on 04/17/2007 3:12:28 PM PDT by editor-surveyor (Turning the general election into a second Democrat primary is not a winning strategy.)
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To: Desperately Seeking Freedom

The thing about *diets* is everyone pretty much has an agenda. I like the way I feel on Atkins, altho I admit it’s sometimes difficult to stick to when everyone else is eating tastey things I grew up eating that are full of white flour and sugar.
I am most concerned about corn sweeteners in everything, in addition to all of the other refined carbs. The Neanderthin diet is probably the best one, but it’s just too darned difficult.
susie


34 posted on 04/17/2007 3:12:43 PM PDT by brytlea (amnesty--an act of clemency by an authority by which pardon is granted esp. to a group of individual)
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To: ChocChipCookie

Your nickname is VERY high in carbs..... ;)
susie


35 posted on 04/17/2007 3:13:57 PM PDT by brytlea (amnesty--an act of clemency by an authority by which pardon is granted esp. to a group of individual)
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To: Harmless Teddy Bear

Actually the bigger the weight loss target the better off you are going for eat less excercise more. Large quantities of weight lost quickly tends to not allow the skin to reshrink, which causes wierd baginess that usually needs plastic surgery to correct, eating less and excercising more is a slow steady weight loss regimen that lets your skin shrink. Also because of the long haul nature of that kind of weight loss you’re more likely to have the real behavioral change you need to not yo-yo. I dropped 65 pounds eating less and excercising more, took two years (well OK I too most of fall and all of winter off in between waves) and have kept it off, it was a total rewrite of my life style so even when I’m not trying to lose weight I just don’t eat all that extra food. The other nice part about going straight for your calorie balance is you don’t have to stop eating anything, you just eat less, I had lasagna and cheesecake at one early point in my new regimen, the real stuff too not low anything, lost 3 pounds that week. Show me another diet where you can have Carnegie Deli cheesecake for desert with no guilt and keep your positive results.


36 posted on 04/17/2007 3:14:24 PM PDT by discostu (only things a western savage understands are whiskey and rifles and an unarmed)
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To: freedomdefender
Diets don't work and they're unhealthy. Eat to live and not live to eat.

Learn to eat healthy smaller portions no processed foods no refined sugar no simple carbs...with smart eating habits over a couple of yrs you can obtain your ideal weight....now that's healthy...

37 posted on 04/17/2007 3:14:30 PM PDT by shield (A wise man's heart is at his RIGHT hand; but a fool's heart at his LEFT. Ecc 10:2)
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To: Bacon Man; Hap

Atkins works and we carnivores love it ping!


38 posted on 04/17/2007 3:14:47 PM PDT by Xenalyte (Anything is possible when you don't understand how anything happens.)
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To: tabsternager
Yes, but you can make a lot of money leading people to believe that there’s another, “easier” way.

Have you tried the Crispy Cream diet?

39 posted on 04/17/2007 3:15:38 PM PDT by editor-surveyor (Turning the general election into a second Democrat primary is not a winning strategy.)
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To: Chena
" but because it it is an unnatural way of eating..."

Actually, it is the very most natural, healthy way of eating. It's just not compatible with restaurant junk.

40 posted on 04/17/2007 3:18:08 PM PDT by editor-surveyor (Turning the general election into a second Democrat primary is not a winning strategy.)
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To: Chena
"I would suggest that people research the dangers of this sort of diet before trying it and consult with their doctor."

actually, there is only one danger: - You're going to be beset with inane comments like this one, which was invented by the disease industry.

41 posted on 04/17/2007 3:21:22 PM PDT by editor-surveyor (Turning the general election into a second Democrat primary is not a winning strategy.)
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To: All
My wife and I have been on Atkins off and on for about 4 years. I am no where near my ideal weight. I lost 50-60 pounds in the first year, and have kept that off. I am getting tired of the weight I am at now, I have another 100 or so to go(ideally), and have been getting frustrated in myself.

Thanks for all the words about Atkins, and restoring myself in knowing that it will get better. I am on a long-term diet. I did not put it all on in a month, I know I am gonna take a long time to take it all off. My goal is to get down to what I was when I went into the Navy. That was 23 years ago. When I got out 19 years ago, I put on alot of weight. Time to keep taking it off. Thanks again to all.

Atkins may not be for everyone, but it is working for me.
42 posted on 04/17/2007 3:28:45 PM PDT by AJMaXx (ILU Roo.....!)
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To: editor-surveyor

“Actually, it is the very most natural, healthy way of eating. It’s just not compatible with restaurant junk.”

IMO, the best way to lose weight is to limit restaurant eating (way too many carbs and fats). This from someone who was once in the business.

Only problem with Atkins is that you have to severely restrict your booze intake (carbs). Instead, I stopped eating desserts. A man has got to know his limitations (and his priorities).


43 posted on 04/17/2007 3:31:47 PM PDT by neocon1984
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To: editor-surveyor
No. There are reduced carb milks on the market. I drink a brand called Mootopia. It is a house brand from HEB, which is a chain in Texas. It has 4 carbs per cup and tastes better than any of the other low carb milk on the market. There is another brand carried by WalMart, but I don’t really like it bu itself. I will use it for smoothies if I can’t get the Mootopia.
44 posted on 04/17/2007 3:33:49 PM PDT by mouse_35
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To: Hoodlum91

Don’t you love those geniuses?

“I’m so depressed, I could just die.”
“Well, just cheer up!”

“I think my marriage is collapsing.”
“You two need to get along with each other!”

“My family’s near bankruptcy.”
“Dude, you need more money!”

Geniuses.


45 posted on 04/17/2007 3:42:57 PM PDT by BibChr ("...behold, they have rejected the word of the LORD, so what wisdom is in them?" [Jer. 8:9])
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To: TBP

Lost 18 pounds by not eating white sugar or white flour products and started movin’.


46 posted on 04/17/2007 3:45:17 PM PDT by cowdog77 (" Are there any brave men left in Washington, or are they all cowards.")
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To: P-40
"Eat less, excise more. Best diet plan there is.

You stole the words straight from my mouth! A billion dollar industry is wrapped around the simple fact of EAT LESS!

It' amazing that intelligent people cannot figure that OBVIOUS fact out for themselves.

47 posted on 04/17/2007 3:46:41 PM PDT by avacado
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To: editor-surveyor

“Low carb milk?”
You can actually buy such a thing. Only it costs twice as much as regular milk. Plain, unsweetened, soy milk is low carb also.


48 posted on 04/17/2007 3:48:02 PM PDT by dynachrome ("Where am I? Where am I going? Why am I in a handbasket?")
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To: dynachrome
"Plain, unsweetened, soy milk is low carb also."

Yes, but soy milk is probably the biggest threat to health that money can buy. Soy products (not sauce, which is fermented) contain phytoestrogen, which is our #1 carcinogen at this time. It causes breast cancer, and prostate cancer, and evidence is pouring in that it is also the culpret in Pancreatic cancer.

49 posted on 04/17/2007 3:55:00 PM PDT by editor-surveyor (Turning the general election into a second Democrat primary is not a winning strategy.)
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To: editor-surveyor

“soy milk is probably the biggest threat”
Moderation in all things. (except maybe pizza!) :)


50 posted on 04/17/2007 3:58:10 PM PDT by dynachrome ("Where am I? Where am I going? Why am I in a handbasket?")
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