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PostWatch: An irregular correction to the Washington Post

Brought to you by Christopher Rake


Monday, February 24, 2003
11:49 PM

Michael Fumento on the PostWatch Diet Extravaganza... Mr. Fumento responded and I can finally post his reply. I have edited for length.
I'll only respond to 2 and 3. What you are offering in number two is mere anecdotal evidence. I can immediately cancel it out with my own routine, which is to eat almost nothing but pasta when I feel my belt tighten a bit. Obviously pasta is anti-Atkins, but it works in the same way Atkins does -- by restricting what you can eat. And I can stick with it, because I never go more than a few pounds above my ideal weight. Any diet can work so long as you can stick with it. As the 3,000-person Weight Registry that I discussed at great length (and that Taubes had no room for in his 3,000-word article) shows, virtually nobody can stick with Atkins. Six months doesn't cut it. It has to be for life.

Go to a site called Atkins and you'll find something quite remarkable. Everybody praises the Atkins diet to high heaven, but they are almost always judging the diet on the basis of what they lost in the first few weeks and, more importantly, on what the GOAL they hope Atkins will help them reach.... almost nobody ever actually says they reached their goal -- much less maintained it. The first person you come to who says she reached her goal shows a "before" photo, but no "after." Surely she would have tons of such photos. Why didn't she bother to show us one? Hmmm....? In fact, most of the postings are fairly old, with some dating back to 1999. Why didn't these people update them to show that they had finally reached their goal. Because THEY DID NOT. They couldn't stick to the diet. Regarding studies that support Atkins, I addressed that in the piece at great length.

As I think I acknowledged. Fumento then discusses the many studies contradicting the Atkins thesis, studies which Fumento says Taubes has either dismissed or ignored. I hope I made that point in my own posts.

Fumento continues:
Incidentally, I also offered to fax a copy of the AMA paper that Taubes claimed said Atkins worked but didn't care why, noting that my article states it says Atkins DOES NOT WORK and DOES SAY WHY. That one document shows that Taubes is not only a walking violation of journalist ethics but is entirely smug that no matter how falsifiable his remarks, he will get away with them. I must say that for the most part so far he has, because there are people far more interested in defending the Atkins diet than in whether Taubes and the NYTimes magazine committed journalist fraud.

No need for the fax; we'll stipulate.

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