You are what you eat

I’ve been hearing a lot about the different diets that are popular now. Mainly, the Atkins diet comes up in every news program, or TV magazine or newspaper or magazine or whatever. There are usually two different angles:

   1. Low carb vs. low fat (and other diet trends)
   2. Economic impact of the Atkins movement

I get annoyed because the reports are so one-dimensional. A lot of people tend to be skeptical of Atkins simply for the fact that it’s so popular – the popularity backlash. Others criticize it because it makes money. In my old age I grow less appreciative of reactionary cynicism. And of course there are health professionals who don’t agree with the science and research behind low carb diets. Unfortunately, even most of the experts they quote don’t address or refer to the aspects of low carb diets that pertain to blood analysis: LDLs, HDLs, triglycerides, and the subclasses of lipoproteins et al.

But now there’s also an economic backlash. The low carb diets are having deleterious effects on sales of breads, pastas, orange juice, potatoes, fast foods and processed snack foods. There are now strong efforts by businesses and their lobbyists to resist low carb diets. For instance, companies and the industries I mentioned are lobbying the USDA to not make drastic changes to the food pyramid. The food pyramid is the way it is today because of lobbying (and is also the same ratio of food groups used to fatten up livestock).

Health and nutrition guru (not an Atkins advocate), Gary Null, is convinced that his specials are shunned by PBS because of the asserted interests and influence of refined-carbohydrate purveyors.

Coming from a family wrought with heart disease and diabetes, I’m glad that low carb is becoming a trend. If nothing else, spreading the word about how unhealthy refined carbs and trans-fats are is righteous work. Considering the following:

1. Approximately 11.4% of all African Americans 20 years or older have diabetes but at least one third of them don’t know it.

2. The average African American has a 50% chance of developing type 2 diabetes in his or her lifetime.

3. Once they do have diabetes they’re more likely to get amputations, kidney failure, blindness and cardiovascular disease.

4. 69%of African American women are overweight or obese.

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