Shortly after finishing college, I found myself wallowing in Globo Gym hell when I wasn’t playing water polo. Standard stuff…three days per week of legs, chest, shoulders, abs, biceps, etc etc. I was living life to the fullest on the weekend and undoubtedly finding my waist size increase. I was eating a low-fat diet full of processed foods (and beer…lots of beer). That’s when I ran into a friend of mine from high school and we started on a regular training schedule in the weight room. David Yost is his name and this dude was cut. All he did was lift weights and eat on a nutritional plan called Atkins. He ate as much steak, butter, and bacon as he wanted while cutting out virtually all carbohydrates…sounds AMAZING right? I started doing some research on it back then, but like most people, I didn’t want to suffer a heart attack at the age of 45 from too much fat and cholesterol…which was the common belief. This was really my first interest in nutrition and, for that, I’m eternally grateful.
Traver and I primarily promote the Paleo Diet because it’s delivered the best results and is sustainable for a lifetime. It is not the only one we’ve researched. There’s Paleo, South Beach, juicing, intermittent fasting, Zone, Deflame, Primal Blueprint, vegetarian/vegan, Glycemic Load and…well whatever happened to our friend Atkins?
In the 1960’s, the New York Cardiologist, Dr. Robert Atkins, was getting impressive results for his overweight patients by having them cut out all plant-based foods (veggies, fruit, grains, and sugar). They were eating rich foods like steak, eggs, cheese and butter and the weight was sliding off WITHOUT CUTTING CALORIES.
In 1971, he published his book “Dr. Atkins’ Diet Revolution.” It was an instant best seller, but the timing really couldn’t have been worse. At the time, researchers had just found the connection between high blood cholesterol and heart disease. The general thought back then was “you are what you eat,” so therefore the diet was chastised for causing high blood cholesterol and fat gain.
This general, simpleminded thought led people to believe that the best way to lose weight and lower cholesterol was to cut out eggs, red meat, dairy, and any other foods high in dietary cholesterol and fat. This was the birth of the low-fat, low-cholesterol diet high in carbohydrates that still greatly afflicts this country. The timing was not right, but Atkins did not give up.
In 1991, he released “Dr. Atkins’ New Diet Revolution.” After over 20 years, the generally accepted low-fat and low-cholesterol diets proved to make America fatter. The desperation was rampant as people pumped their bodies with ephedra, wire their jaws, drank meals out of cans, and stapled their stomachs. As desperation led to more radical methods, people were more receptive to Atkins this time around and it started to, again, build a following.
In contrast to the 1970’s, doctors were now regularly monitoring their patients’ cholesterol and blood pressure. Shockingly, not only were people on the Atkins’ diet losing weight, but research wasn’t showing the adverse reactions to people’s health that they were expecting. It was revealing that they were actually better off for it. The world was shocked that a low-carb diet proved more effective then a low-cholesterol, calorie-restrictive diet.
Just to add some more drama to the story, Atkin’s suffered from a heart attack in 2002 and survived. His detractors piled on saying that it was the natural result of a diet high in fat and cholesterol. The truth of it was that heart attack really had nothing to do with cholesterol. It was the result of a chronic infection and this was made public by numerous respected physicians. The same physicians stated that he survived the attack due to his strong cardiovascular health.
FINALLY! In 2003, The New England Journal of Medicine published results of studies that vindicated Dr. Atkin’s and proved that low-carb diets were more effective than low-fat diets. The revolution had begun.
Sadly, Dr. Atkin’s died a month before the publication at the age of 72 by slipping on icy pavement and suffering severe head trauma. A cruel twist of fate.
I’m guessing your next question would be “why doesn’t everybody do Atkins now?” It sounds to me like it’s simply not sustainable. I’m not going to touch on the quality of today’s meat selection because that’s another overwhelming topic within itself. It’s no secret that our bodies need vitamins, minerals, and fiber that come with consuming vegetables and fruits. Without these, your brain starts to create overwhelming cravings for these foods (as well as sweets) and people quit and go back to their old ways. We’re not looking for “fad” or “crash” diets that people try and eventually fail. We’re planning for a lifetime full of health and quality.
Strive to eat more vegetables, lean meats, nuts, berries, some fruit, little starch and no sugar. Stay away from processed foods and absolutely, positively do NOT blindly follow the recommendations of the American Dietetic Association, FDA and USDA. Do the research and try it out for yourself. Ask questions and seek knowledge
“Tabata Torture” (oh Hogies!)
Tabata sets of each movement with 60 seconds rest between: