AR-News: (UK/US) Dr Atkins and the $40bn question - was it something that he ate?

Animalconcerns info at
Thu Feb 12 15:02:46 EST 2004

Ten months after his death, diet guru Robert Atkins is at the centre of
more controversy. A medical report showing he was obese when he died has
been seized on by Atkins opponents with their own views to promote. At
stake is control of the $40bn-a-year diet industry and the profits of
America's food giants

FOR A MAN WHO changed millions of lives, Robert Atkins’s own ended in an
awful mess. Last April he slipped on an icy pavement, banged his head,
suffered (possibly) a heart attack, then went into a coma from which he
never emerged. He died within a week.
To enemies of the Atkins diet it looked like a heinous cover-up at the
expense of the ill-fed and the credulous, and yesterday these enemies had
their chance to gloat. It turns out that Atkins died obese, with a history
of heart disease and a score of 35 on a standard index that put him 10
points over merely overweight. “To us,” says a spokeswoman for a group of
American doctors called Physicians’ Committee for Responsible Medicine
(PCRM), “the significance is we’ve been saying for years and years that
the Atkins diet is a diet that’s likely to cause heart disease.”

But what is the PCRM? Where did it get its information about Dr Atkins’s
corpse? And is this argument really about a global public health
emergency, or something altogether simpler? Determined dieters who’ve
spent small fortunes trying weight-loss programmes from both ends of the
medical opinion spectrum may have an idea of the answer.

The PCRM is a fiercely anti-meat, pro-vegetarian brains trust that has
opposed the Atkins diet for years, apparently with the best of intentions.
It obtained its information on Dr Atkins’s body from Dr Richard Fleming, a
Nebraska-based cardiologist, outspoken critic of the Atkins diet and
author of two high-profile books on how to minimise your risk of heart
disease without a high-protein diet. 
This feud is about business. This is not to say it is not also about
health, but it does emphasise with the concision of a fine haiku that in
America, and increasingly here too, health is business.

full story:,,8123-998623,00.html

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