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A Counter-Attack for the Quack

All of these letters were the result of an article I felt obligated to write when Dr. Atkins, already in seeming poor health, died after striking his head in a fall. The media lionization of this supposed "vindicated" man who was "ahead of his time" was outrageous. Somebody needed to set the record straight. Predictably, the Atkins lard-butted legions rose to his defense. Funny thing, though. When I started sending them my photo and asking for one of theirs in return, the most I got was more vitriol. Just as no alleged sufferer of Gulf War Syndrome has ever risen to my challenge to fax some of his or her medical records, no Atkins apostle, whatever personal anecdote they provided ("I lost 1,000 pounds in ten days and I've kept if off so you're a lying idiot!") will send me a photo to show how nice and slim they now are. Fat, foot-loose, and fact-free, here they are in all their glory.

Low I.Q. Fanatics

Subject: Low Carb Friends

Mr. Fumento,

It's really too bad that you are so uneducated about the Atkins diet. Just last week, Primetime Live did a study on 6 overweight people doing 6 different kinds of diets and guess what???? The Atkins diet resulted in more weight loss than any of the others. As a matter of fact, several of the others said they felt they were starving and losing squat. Several research instituations [sic] are doing and have done studies on the Atkins diet versus other so-called healthy diets and found the same. I don't have all the technical information but am sure that even if I did, it would be wasted on you. And really, why bother, there are plenty of other low-carbers sending you all the pertinent info as we speak, through this same email address.

Btw, the reason obesity have steadily crept higher and higher during the last twenty years or so certainly isn't because of the Atkins diet. It's because the rising amounts of refined sugars and grains that the "low-fat" craze started, not to mention the upside down food pyramid. Ask any farmer and he will tell you the best way to get his livestock to gain weight is through an increase in carbohydrates, specifically corn and grain. And amazingly, the formula for hog grain, matches nicely to the food pyramid ratio.

But anyways [sic], say what you want, I've been low-carbing for three years and maintaining for two and nothing you say can take that away from me or MILLIONS of others who are living their life skinnier, healthier, and longer.

Enjoy your spaghetti you putz.

Sincerely,
[omitted] Wilburn

Dear Mr. Wilburn:

Prime-Time Live? Funny, I've never heard of that medical journal. Where is it published and how does it pick referees for peer review? I'm also impressed by the fact that its Atkins cohort comprised a grand total of one (1) person. That sure beats the heck out of that recent JAMA review that I mentioned surveying 107 articles comprising 3,268 participants that found "insufficient evidence to conclude that lower-carbohydrate content is independently associated with greater weight loss compared with higher-carbohydrate content." And those "several institutions" you've named; none of them have published their findings. But again, I can see how you would find that more impressive than those 107 studies. In any case, I discussed those findings at great length in earlier articles. Too bad the only thing you seem to know how to read is what's posted at that Atkins propaganda site, "low-carb friends."

I think that if I "asked any farmer" he would tell me that corn is a grain and he wouldn't think much of you for not knowing either that or that the feed grains that farmers use are employed not because they are high in carbohydrates but because they are high in fats and protein. The main ones in this country are corn and soybeans. Does it strike you as coincidence that two of the most popular cooking oils come from those two grains?

As I discussed at length in one of those articles you neglected to read, Americans are growing fatter for one simple reason: They are eating more of everything. More fat, more carbohydrates, and more protein. But certainly you'd think that 15 million successful Atkins dieters would have an impact on the obesity epidemic, wouldn't you? But they haven't. Why? Because while 15 million people may have started it, virtually nobody has been able to stick to it. Your "millions" figure is sheer fabrication.

Finally, I do eat spaghetti and absolutely anything else I want. I just eat it in moderate proportions and I exercise. Finally, if I'm a putz, I'm one that's in excellent shape as shown in pictures posted to my website. And my data are strong enough that I don't feel the need to hurl epithets instead of responding with numbers. Or is being so sour, like being constipated, a result of the Atkins diet?

Sincerely,
Michael Fumento

Publicity Hound vs. Chow Hound

Hi Mr.Fumento,

hatemail16.html
 
I am responding to your article about the Atkins "diet". While I am sure you are doing this for publicity, I think it was very poor timing. While you may be a struggling writer (the Paypal link tipped me off), being classy is MUCH more important. There is a really excellent website on class/proper etiquette called http://www.etiquettegrrls.com/ .Check it out!

Also just because you are able to control your weight one way, doesn't mean it works for everyone. [Another unverifiable personal testimonial deleted.] Don't be naive and stupid!

[omitted] Martin

Hi Ms. Martin,

You are so intelligent! A health journalist writes about one of the greatest health con-men of our time and he must just be doing it for publicity! A Paypal link tips you off that I'm a struggling writer, notwithstanding that my bio shows exactly the opposite and notwithstanding that practically everybody with a website these days has such a link. But you're right, being classy is more important than being scientifically correct or caring about people's health. There is a really excellent website for you called http://www.howtonotlooklikeanabsolutefool.com. Check it out! I would also admonish you to not be naïve and stupid, but we must all follow our calling must we not?

Sincerely,
Michael Fumento

Mr. Fumento,

I have a website, and I don't have a paypal [sic] link. I also visit many websites a day and have failed to see one yet. And if you are an accomplished writer...then that is ANOTHER classless thing you are doing....greed is NOT attractive on a man. [I didn't even know it was wearable.] Anyways [sic], you sit here and say the Atkins diet is dangerous...but really all you do is babble on about some weak statements. *If* Atkins didn't work and people were becoming "sick" from the diet, why would he sell so many books? OBVIOUSLY, people pass on their success story to their friends and they try it. Any basic business course would teach you that sir. You tell *me* not to be naive and stupid, when I have had the diet WORK for me. How much sense does that make...ummmm....none?

I hope for your research you read his book. If you didn't, you need to. You will see that after the initial 2 weeks, you add back foods. Since when did cutting out white flour and sugar become UNHEALTHY? Because thats [sic] what it comes down to cutting out. I get plenty of fruits, fiber, dairy, veggies, etc. Sorry, your article is built on old assumptions that have LONG been discredited. That should embarrass you as an "accomplished writer". ::insert rolley eyes here::

Also, I have taken plenty of courses on P.R. and can tell you with 100% confidence that this was a publicity stunt.

[omitted] Martin

Why Ms. Martin, you know just about everything about everything and aren't shy about letting the world know it, are you? As your last sentence attests, you even read minds. Some of the most famous individual-run websites use Paypal or Amazon.com's donation icons, including Andrew Sullivan's, Virginia Postrel's, and Instapundit Glenn Reynolds'. But you've never heard of them, and you know everything, so they don't exist. Moreover, these people and I are "classless" to you because we operate websites that cost us hundreds of dollars a year ($360 for me just for server access and domain name) and offer a chance for readers to support the site.

My point was that the Atkins diet was dangerous because it was horribly misleading, telling people that magic could replace proper nutrition and exercise. Somehow Miss Omniscient missed that. As far as the numbers of people who buy his books, ever hear of P.T. Barnum and the phrase about "a sucker is born every minute." In the case of the Atkins diet, as I've noted there often is major weight-loss at the beginning. That's when people tell their friends to buy the book. Then the weight all comes back. But whoops, their friends have already bought the book and recommended it. And on it goes.

And then there are the god-like persons like you who provide personal testimonials over the web that nobody can verify.

I read the Atkins' book. And do you know which part I liked the most? Where he said that not only could you eat massive amounts of calories and lose weight with it but also claims his diet will relieve "fatigue, irritability, depression, trouble concentrating, headaches, insomnia, dizziness, joint and muscle aches, heartburn, colitis, premenstrual syndrome, and water retention and bloating." Sounds like he plagiarized a label of Dr. Quack's Amazing Snake Oil, doesn't it?

Sincerely,
Michael Fumento

Yes, the Atkins Diet IS Difficult to Swallow

"It's difficult to swallow," says [a researcher named] O'Brien, "but the data are the data [regarding a low-carb diet study], even if they go against 30 years of dogma." You need to read this and get a CLUE before spouting your mouth off about that which you know nothing about. Oh and btw- you won't be getting any paypal [sic] help for your website from me- nor will I buy your book. You're too stupid to respect in that manner. :) http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2003/02/15/health/main540776.shtml

BTW – posting things publicly online that are untrue about others, other websites, etc. is called slander. Think about it. :)

Shelley

Dear Shelley,

Oh, no! Another person who won't buy my book or make a Paypal (note proper spelling) contribution! That's it; I'm bankrupt!

I know you think that a single CBS news story and a single quoted person outweighs the 50 years of research and over 200 studies I've written about, but you should also know that I've interviewed the other two experts quoted in the story, James Hill and Gary Foster, and quoted them in other articles. They both said that to the extent the Atkins diet helps people lose weight, it's simply because it tremendously restricts their choices of food. That's what I wrote in the column you're raving against. Hill and Foster, by the way, are the experts who are going on to conduct the multi-year Atkins study, not the person you quoted. So I guess that means I won't be buying your book or making a Paypal contribution to you, either.

BTW - I have a law degree, so I suspect I know just a bit more about slander than you do. For one, if it were posted it would be called "libel." For another, truth is an absolute defense. Therefore, for example, if I used your full name and wrote that you were a complete blathering idiot, it wouldn't constitute libel and if you tried to sue me the judge would probably give me a slap on the back and you a slap somewhere else.

Sincerely,
Michael Fumento

A Gut Wrenching and Visceral Reaction

[For obvious reasons, I'm not going to bother with "sic"s.]

i read your article on dr atkins in the san Diego union a few days ago and this letter is my reaction to your commentary. before i begin let me first state i have never met dr atkins nor am i involved with the medical community nor with the diet field. I am presently on the atkins diet and doing well on it but that has nothing to do with this letter either.i have never written to anyone before on any subject . i"m simply a 67 year old salesperson who reads a lot and has a moderate to high i.q. i stated all of this to let you know this is from one of the masses.your commentary created in me an anger gut wrenching and almost visceral in its force.you began by stating that the adage (paraphrasing) you should not talk bad about the dead was something everyone ignored as most did talk badly about the deceased.not only is your statement patently false but signaled to me a forthcoming attack vicious in its nature not so much on the book but on the man. perhaps living so much in your mind you may have forgotten something about living in the human community also.as bright as you are you really mean to tell me that the adage speak no ill about those gone is to you just words to be disregarded at will.well let me give you a few points you should have pondered. the adage is there not only on a written level but also on a subliminal level also it lets all of us know that all of us face the same end and as we travel through life doing some good and much harm we know deep down that at the end those left will announce that as humans we are all imperfect beings and that not focusing on our imperfections but letting all of us know our few perfections that we accomplished during our brief stay raises all that are left just a tad higher spiritually. your comments were personal in nature,mean spirited at the least and fraught with misconceptions about a man that neither one of us knew.frankly i felt your judgement was clouded at best and that your article would not stand the test of objectivity, listen,no one of any class attacks someone unable to defend themselves your whole article smacked of jealousy and sour grapes.if your concern was as you tried to use as justification the fact that the diet was a danger to those using it then i would have expected you to challenge dr atkins a long time age to save all of us on the diet from harm. strangely your were quite until there was no one to rebut you at the bottom of the article it said you had written a diet type of book also.alas im sad to report to you it was close but dr atkins book did just a touch better than yours. in closing let me say this, your article on the intellectual level was without logic or proof rendering it moot,on the human level it was an affront to his family and to the rest of us who you made realize that even in death the chaos goes on, your article made a million of us hope and pray that you go first. sir,i expected more from someone of your background but alas all i got was someone who has the tittle of fellow but does not deserve the word good before it.

sincerely
robert [omitted]
san diego ca

Dear Robert:

Regarding IQs, you bring new meaning to the word "moderate." And has it occurred to you that your "gut wrenching" that is "almost visceral in its force" may have nothing to do with my column and everything to do with a diet of fatback, pork rinds, bacon, and lard?

But I apologize wholeheartedly for my "patently false" statement about people saying you shouldn't speak ill of the dead and then doing it anyway. After all, I've never even heard anybody speak ill of Hitler, have you? Nor of Stalin. No, they were both quite evil while alive, but once you're dead you become a saint and nobody must say anything worse about you than to that perhaps your mustache was a bit funny. No, no, we must not even go that far.

As it happens, I first challenged Atkins and all diet gurus and shysters six years ago in my book The Fat of the Land. I challenged him directly in December and then in January again. Strangely, you seem to believe you have read every article and book that mentions him. Atkins made no effort to refute me because he knew it would simply draw attention to the obviousness of his fraud. With people probably buying his book at a greater rate than ever because of his recent death, I wasn't about to stand by and watch even more people suffer at the hands of this $100-million-dollar snake oil salesman – be he alive or dead.

Finally, I am most sad that you don't believe I deserve my "tittle". But I hear tell lots of people these days have undeserved tittles. I'm going to hurry up and die so you can't say anything further that's negative about me and my tittles.

Sincerely,
Michael Fumento

A Bloated and Rather Flatulent Accusation

Subject: Atkins Was Prescient

Dear Mr. Fumento:

I read your article "The Atkins Diet: May it rest in peace" in The Orange County Register yesterday. I was disappointed that your strong words better supported your ignorance of carbohydrate metabolism than provided accurate information for your readers. It was a good example of "a step behind in a changing world" by citing reputable sources with tangentially pertinent comments, suggesting financial success somehow precludes value, and missing the point completely.

High blood glucose triggers release of insulin from pancreatic cells. This normal physiological response, hyperactive from the increasingly disproportionate amount of carbohydrates ingested by Americans, is the basis for why "two-thirds of Americans are overweight and one-third obese", not your conclusion that it has something to do with the Atkins diet. The carbohydrate ingestion/insulin response cycle causes blood glucose level peaks and valleys which can precipitate more carb ingestion, more caloric intake followed by another insulin response. Ask anyone how they feel when eating a "normal" or high carb diet versus a low carb diet. Then speak with a few more recently-trained diabetologists/endocrinologists to understand how significantly contributory today's normal or high carb diet supports the manifold increase in adult onset diabetes.

[Personal anecdote omitted.] I have Dr. Atkins' prescience to thank for these results...and a better life.

Sincerely,
[omitted] McIntosh

Dear Mr. McIntosh:

It never strikes me as less than bizarre that people will defend a source by using that source, rather than an outside one. In this case, your arguments seemed pulled straight out of the Atkins book and the Gary Taubes article. The closest you get to citing anybody to support you is "Ask anyone." Very impressive! But studies of the Atkins diet show that among the problems it causes is terrible constipation, namely through lack of fiber. That almost inevitably leads to both bloating and flatulence. Regarding hyperinsulinemia, even the person that Taubes relied on to support the theory, University of Washington endocrinologist Michael Schwartz, doesn't believe in it. "Although the concept that insulin triggers weight gain has little scientific merit, it remains a key selling point for advocates of diets that are low in carbohydrate and high in protein and fat," Schwartz wrote in Science magazine. I wonder what diet guru he might be talking about, Mr. McIntosh. "If hyperinsulinemia has adverse consequences, obesity does not appear to be among them," Schwartz concluded. Atkins' own defense of the theory reads like a bad joke. (He has a nasty knack for citing 40-year-old studies.) Since neither Atkins nor Taubes could find people to support the insulin theory, you shouldn't feel bad that you couldn't either. You should just feel bad that you sent an email putting your ignorance on display.

Sincerely,
Michael Fumento

Nutrition Advice from an Expert - A Broker Can't Spell his Job Title

Dear Mr. Fumento:

I have never read anything by Atkins. I am not paid by any source for my opinion. I am just a 54 year old [sic] real estate Broker [sic] that has had for my entire adult life an acute interest in nutrition. I do not even know if I eat an "Atkins diet". [So much for his "acute interest."] But I do know that some of the information cited in your article is misleading and not supported by some experts you cite. [Strong words; too bad he couldn't come up with a single such expert.]

[790 words of fluff omitted.]

All this is Nutrition 101 that even Real [sic] Estate [sic] Brokers [sic] can know. How can a person of your stature ignore it? [Trust me; it was easy.]

Stan [omitted]

Dear Stan,

Nobody expects real estate brokers to know anything about nutrition or the obesity epidemic and you've done nothing to indicate otherwise. There are few things of which I am less tolerant of than somebody who wears their ignorance as if it were a medal. You sell your properties (though judging by your performance here, you don't sell many); I will write about diets and obesity, as I have in one book and countless articles. Your arguments are infested with termites.

Sincerely,
Michael Fumento

A Bad Bet

Dear Mr. Fumento:

I had the opportunity to read the captioned editorial [Huh?] and I have a few comments.

1. It's pretty chickensh [sic] – of you to wait until Atkins died.

2. There are ongoing studies at Duke and other universities that contradict your editorial. Funny you didn't mention them.

3. I'll bet you weigh 400 lbs. and can't lose it because you refuse to accept the fact that Dr. Atkins was right.

That's okay. Just keep stuffing your face with carb-loaded crap. Your heart will love you.

Margand [omitted]

Dear Margand:

1. I first criticized low-carb (and low-fat) diets six years ago in my book The Fat of the Land, which was put out by a major publisher and sold well. I first criticized the Atkins diet specifically in December of last year, six months before the Great Guru's death. In January of this year I wrote a 5,000-word critique of the Taubes love letter to Atkins. Both of these are readily found on the Internet and are posted to my website. Isn't it rather egotistical of you to presume that if you haven't read it, it hasn't been written?

2. The first Atkins piece to which I referred was entirely a criticism of the Duke study, the one that was bought and paid for by the Atkins Center. Does that fall under your definition of "not mentioning"?

3. I'll bet I was overweight until I learned that fad diets like Atkins don't work and am now extremely thin, muscular, and at 43 in the best shape of my life not only in the obvious physical looks department, which you can see in the attached photo, but also in terms of cholesterol, triglycerides, blood pressure, and so on. I got there in part by exercise and in part by not "stuffing my face" at all – the only way to maintain a healthy weight. Wanna trade photos?

Sincerely,
Michael Fumento

[No photo was forthcoming.]

Dr. Atkins Could Whup Mother Theresa Any Day of the Week!

I'm angered by your biased writings denigrating the work of Dr. Robert Atkins. Unbalanced journalistic reports – such your article so well exemplifies – scared off thousands and thousands of overweight individuals 30 years ago when his research first was published. I wonder how many of those people have since died of weight-related diseases such as diabetes and heart disease. Even now, when Dr. Atkins is being validated in major university studies, many continue to ignore the recent fact-based vindication of his theories, and instead merely touted out [He means "trotted out.] the tired old diatribes which have been proven false. In no case does such negative and biased rhetoric belong in a discussion about a great physician whose work has saved countless lives. An apology is in order to the many thousands who have chosen his food plan as superior to all the others, both for weight loss and for maintaining a healthy normal weight. To do less than this – to not correct your errors – only magnifies your offense in the eyes of the many of us who are rejecting your writings in our search of more objective sources.

[omitted] Thornstensen

Dear Ms. Thornstensen:

Actually you're angered precisely because I built my case on objective sources such as the Journal of the American Medical Association and the Journal of the American Dietetic Association and the hundreds of studies that went into their reviews. Dr. Atkins is not being validated in major university studies, as I wrote in the March issue of Reason and as appears on my website. You would know that if you had some source of information other than the Atkins website. Dr. Atkins saved a hundred million bucks, but no lives. He lied to every last one of the 15 million people who bought his books and who trusted him. You're just an electronic sandwich board for a wicked man who brought misery and heartache to people around the world.

Sincerely,
Michael Fumento

Subject: Your Atkins Article Is Ignorant

I may not be researcher [sic] or intellectual elitist, like yourself [and he's proving it already], but at least a third of the most outspoken "proffesional" [sic] critics of the Atkins diet are eating their words. I believe there's a 3 year study being conducted by the federal government at this time. No doubt will this conclude that the diet works, when done correctly, and maintaining weight after the fact has NEVER been easier. I'm a 38 year old male who has done phen-fen, meridia and just plain fentermine to curb cravings. Within 2 days of being on the diet my body adjusted and it was easy sailing. I didn't "pig-out" on anything. I just did the diet.

I think time and research will prove you and your traditional thinkers wrong. One more thing. Fat calories are WAY more satiating than carb calories. I am 6'3" 155 lbs down from 180.5 in 8 weeks. I can go through the day on 2 boiled eggs for breakfast, a couple of pieces of string cheese along with some sunflower seeds (1/4 cup) throughout the day, lunch I guess you'd call it. Then a sensible dinner of some type of meat and a vegetable. It's easy. I don't even think about being on a diet. If I get hungry, I eat...protien [sic]. And the weight keeps coming off to your dismay.

Mark [omitted]

Dear Mark:

Pray tell where you come up with this "at least a third" figure? Is too much fat making the neurons misfire? You "believe" there's a three-year study being conducted. I know it is. I've interviewed the researchers and quoted them in my articles. They plan to do a professional, objective job. That's very bad news for Atkins apostles such as you. No, fat calories are not "WAY" more satiating than carb calories; this area has been studied to death and I've written about it. Fat and carbohydrates are equal in promoting satiety; protein may have a slight advantage but the Atkins regimen is high-fat, not high protein. It's telling that you describe the drugs you took but nowhere mentioned – the horror of it – turning off the TV and getting a bit of exercise. Finally, I'm hardly dismayed if you really are losing weight (though I have no reason to trust you); it's common to those who have recently gone on the Atkins plan. But you will soon join the legions who are dismayed to find out that when they can no longer stick to eggs, seeds, and string cheese all those pounds come flooding back.

Sincerely,
Michael Fumento

Everything I Know I Learned from the Dictionary

Michael,

I read your article today about Dr. Atkins – calling him "con-man". All Atkins ever did was try to help people. If you had read "Eat Fat and Grow Slim" by Mackarness in 1958, you will notice that the only thing Atkins ever did was evangelise/market (very well) this information!

If you were to take a class in endocrinology [He linked to a one-sentence dictionary definition] you would soon realise that it's the modern high-fat and high-carbohydrate diet combined with sedentary lifestyles that makes us fat. Finally, I wonder what the hacks will say when you pass away....not much I would have thought.

Regards,
Richard [omitted]

Dear Richard,

If you're trying to make the point that all Atkins did was dust off an old scam and put a new paint of coat on it, you're right. But as I've written, it's actually worse than that. Atkins' "Revolutionary New" diet actually dates back to 1863. The diets didn't stick around for the simple reasons that they didn't work any better then than now. It took somebody with a medical degree and the slickness of Atkins to convince people that either it did work (even when their own scales showed otherwise) or that it didn't matter if it didn't work.

I happen to know just a bit more about endocrinology than having looked it up in the dictionary. My March article on the Taubes advertorial about Atkins goes into length on how the very researchers that Taubes presented as supporting the theory that low-carb diets have an endocrinological advantage say the theory is bunk.

Finally, I don't care what people say about me after I'm dead. It's what you do while you're alive that counts. All Atkins did was to make himself filthy rich by taking money under false pretenses and by making fat people fatter. That's not the sort of legacy I would cherish.

Sincerely,
Michael Fumento

Dear Mr. Fumento:

Your bitter editorial in the Orange County Register really astounded me.

I hate diets and diet fads; but, as a biologist, I was readily able to understand the metabolic chemistry underlying the low carbohydrate theory. It is correct and it works exactly as promulgated by the late Dr. Atkins. I lost 30 pounds and normalized my cholesterol nearly three years ago by cutting carbs and have maintained that weight loss easily ever since. I have never heard of anyone gaining weight ("his readers stuffed their faces and expanded their bellies") by proper adherence to a low carb diet – and I personally know 20-25 people who have experienced its benefits.

Your statements and facts are incredibly incorrect and/or misapplied. I would love to know your real reason for your vitriolic attack. Your information is so skewed that it belies some underlying cause or agenda – certainly not the agenda of truth or protecting the public. I realize that the issue is still controversial, but your rabid attack, versus a balanced informational approach, makes your editorial suspicious.

Perhaps you truly do not understand the role of the carbohydrate/insulin relationship in promoting overeating and the effect the increase of carbs in our modern diet. I would be glad to refer you to the sizable and growing number of studies that support the theory. As to the effectiveness of a low carb diet, properly followed, ask anyone who has tried it and they can tell you.

As to eating 5,000 calories a day, I think I have read all that Atkins has written on the subject and no where does he make the claim that you can eat 5,000 calories a day and lose weight. In fact, his readers are warned just the opposite. Overeating is overeating.

The role of fat intake in producing satiation may, indeed, cause followers of the diet to eat fewer calories than otherwise, but that is the whole point. (I actually eat slightly more calories than I have in the past, but it has not led to weight gain, contrary to your assertions.)

And, finally, I have never before been motivated to write in response to any editorial I have ever read. This is the first time. I was so struck by your audacious misrepresentation and the curiously hateful nature of your writing that I am motivated to ask you -

Why?

Terry Sears

P.S. I would really love an answer.

Why? Maybe because everything you think you know is horse hockey and maybe because the science says exactly the opposite of what you claim and what Atkins did claim so long as he was alive to torment people. Why don't you try applying science instead of psychoanalysis? You're the one compelled to use "bitter," "rabid," "vitriolic," "audacious," and "hateful." Is that technical language used by biologists, or the words of somebody trying to project his personal problems onto others? All of your alleged physiological claims, such as fat being more satiating are not only false but have been dealt with in my other writings on Atkins. As to eating 5,000 calories a day, you obviously never read the first Atkins book that appeared in 1972. He withdrew the claim in his next edition because he was so fiercely criticized over it, including by the American Medical Association in a detailed scientific rebuttal of the Atkins diet that you no doubt would describe as "bitter," "rabid," "vitriolic," "audacious," and "hateful."

Sincerely,
Michael Fumento

Diminished Capacity

Mr. Fumento,

I thought I'd write you again to ask about your sensationally-titled article, "The Dangerous Legacy of Dr. Atkins." I've read it twice, and I can't find where you highlighted the "danger." [479 adipose-laden words omitted.]

With diminishing respect,
John May Cumming, GA

Dear Mr. Cumming:

I want you to know that I couldn't even sleep last night over your having signed your name "with diminishing respect." In fact, I was downright suicidal. But enough of that.

Fact is, I didn't slug my piece that way; the folks at Scripps Howard did. That said, I made the dangers apparent. Since the first Atkins book appeared, Americans have been getting fatter by the second. It would be totally unfair to lay the blame for this entirely at the feet of the late shyster, but with his 15 million books of high-fat baloney he certainly deserves some credit. When you tell people with authority that they can eat all they want so long as they [fill in the blank with some magic formula; in Atkins' case it was "so long as you keep your carbohydrates extremely low"] then they eat all they want. And they become fat. And that adiposity kills them. Dying is dangerous. Have I made my point?

Sincerely,
Michael Fumento

So Tell Me, Where Are those Unpublished Studies Published?

Dear Mr. Fumento -

Your recent article debunking the Atkins diet was interesting. Can you provide more detailed references to the Foster and Seeley studies you mention? I have been unable to find them on MedLine.

With regard to funding of obesity research, perhaps you didn't know that Dr. Seeley's work on the hunger hormone leptin is sponsored in part by Proctor & Gamble, to the tune of $1 million a year. Perhaps you also didn't know that Dr. Foster is a member of the scientific advisory group for Healthe [sic] Tech, a manufacturer and distributor of personal health monitoring devices. His compensation, if any, is not disclosed on the company's website.

Thanks for your help.

Susan [omitted]

You know, I don't mean to be rude but wasn't my very point about the five studies Taubes cited that none of them had been published? If they haven't been published, wouldn't that explain why they have no MedLine citations? [Since this exchange, two of the studies did finally appear in print.] As for the conflicts of interest you're alleging, it's my experience that virtually every top obesity researcher has some sort of consulting arrangement with somebody. The question is, does that arrangement create a real conflict? It rather blows me away that you think that working with a company that makes health monitoring devices somehow compromises a researcher's ability to evaluate various diets.

Sincerely,
Michael Fumento

Go Figure!

I'm smiling as I write this as I found an article written by you attacking the Atkin's diet. Have you heard the lastest [sic] research? You are WRONG again! Go figure!

Why is it everytime [sic] I find something "controversial" you are always right there "disproving" it. I'm sure if I looked up AIDS from articles years ago I would find your name disproving that also.

Kelly [omitted]
sister of DEAD Gulf war vet brother (you know...the "malingers")
mcs [sic] [multiple chemical sensitivity] sufferer (sorry to inform you that I have yet to try to "live off our government" because of the disease....fully employeed [sic] as an RN)

Dear Registered Nut,

I'm smiling as I write this because my very next column is about the latest (though not the lastest) Atkins research. I was RIGHT again! Go figure.

I'm sorry that it bothers you that I have a reputation for disproving either sloppy science or, in this case, good science that was misrepresented by some journalists. In this instance, some journalists actually did bother to read the studies, leading to such headlines as the Washington Post's: "Atkins Similar to Low-Fat Diets; Study: Long-Term Results Differ Little" and Reuters' "Atkins Diet May Be No Better than Just Cutting Fat."

You're partially right about AIDS. I did disprove the hysteria surrounding the AIDS epidemic, although the epidemic itself is obviously quite real. I also disproved the existence of what you claim to suffer from, multiple chemical sensitivity. I am sorry if you truly have a dead or even DEAD Gulf war vet brother, but also sorry that you are under the impression that all vets are supposed to live forever. Data compiled by the VA show that while naturally some vets who fought in a war 12 years ago have since died, their death rate is slightly lower than that of vets who didn't deploy to the Gulf.

This, along with much other data, shows that on so-called GWS I was right again.

Go figure.

Sincerely,
Michael Fumento

Thou Art the Atkins; I am Unworthy of You!

Your commentary and use of name-calling make it clear you neither know anything about the Atkins program, or anything about general health. Atkins clearly stated that hiis [sic] program was aimed at people who were diabetic or potentially diabetic. That is a large group in our society. The program was not intended to fit everyone.

I doubt I am the only one who had success with the plan. But I fit the profile he gave, so it is no surprise it worked for me. I used it successfully, and had the annual physicals to document my success, as opposed to the physicals I took before using Atkins, which showed me that traditional calorie counting was not for me. I was on the verge of jaundice before I discovered Atkins.

That I let it go, and eventually quit the program was simple laziness and lack of willpower. Even today, twenty years after I first tried it, I feel much better when I stick to the program.

Those of you who insist that reducing calories and increasing exercise are the only steps necessary for anyone to lose weight are every bit the quacks you accuse Atkins of being.

[omitted] Crump
"I'll believe in skepticism when I see it"

Dear Mr. Crump:

"I believe in intelligent life when I see it; no sign here."

It's sad that you pride yourself on skepticism when it's clear you're just a sap. If Atkins is a quack, I'm going to say he's a quack. That's not name-calling, anymore than saying that Hitler had a lousy mustache.

Atkins obviously touted his program for everybody, which is why he provided in his book a list of ailments his diet could allegedly clear that clearly puts him the in the middle of the duck pond, including "fatigue, irritability, depression, trouble concentrating, headaches, insomnia, dizziness, joint and muscle aches, heartburn, colitis, premenstrual syndrome, and water retention and bloating." Can you spell "snake oil," boys and girls?

"Potentially diabetic" simply means "potentially obese" since there's such a powerful correlation between obesity and type 2 diabetes. That you don't seem to recognize this speaks volumes, yet not as much as when you say it's a wonderful diet but you can't stick to it. That's my whole point! There's not a fad diet out there – from jelly beans to peanut butter – that can't and won't induce quick weight loss. But virtually everybody soon falls off the wagon and regains all the weight. The fad diet book author is left richer while the overweight person is left not only poorer but also quite possibly with the belief that it's impossible to lose weight under ANY regimen. After all, Atkins' books have outsold the second-leading diet by four-to-one. If Atkins doesn't work, the thinking would go, then nothing would.

But that's wrong. There is a real way to lose weight healthily and permanently. It's called reducing caloric intake and increasing caloric output. If you want to get personal, that's exactly what I did to lose weight six years ago and I've never fallen off the wagon. If that puts me and essentially every nutritionist and weight-loss expert in your "quack" category, then I'm proud of my flippered feet. So scarf down that scrapple and pork out on pork rinds, but I'd rather be thin and healthy.

Sincerely,
Michael Fumento

He didn't say the diet was a cure-all, he merely stated that many of these conditions lessened or went away.......Again, it worked for me, improving my over-all health, mostly because of the avoidance of sugar.

Many of us will have many symptoms of diabetes without actually reaching that level. I exhibit many of the same symptoms, even though my annual physical shows me to be within acceptable limits.

I didn't say I couldn't stick to the diet. I said I was too lazy to stick to it. I choose not to stick to it, because I like too many of the sugar and carb laden foods that I need to avoid. I am not the sterling example of humanity that you are to stay with a particular regimen. As for your "less calories, more exercise" party line, it is not the answer for everyone, and those comments alone should alert anyone who reads them that you are not to be heeded. It doesn't take college degrees to realize that there are many different types of people in the world, and they will respond differently to differing regimens.

[Personal anecdote omitted.]

When you say, "Scarf down that scrapple and pork out on pork rinds, but I'd rather be thin and healthy," it's just more evidence that you didn't read it, or just don't get it. Those are not staples of Atkins. He merely states that you can eat those foods without taking in carbs or sugars. The program was originally called the "steak and salad diet", hardly an unhealthy lifestyle. That was before the sugar industry panicked over his condemnation of them, and they had to hire people like yourself with lots of useless alphabet soup after your name to try to shut him up.

You are a dangerous individual, and should not be allowed to spout your psuedo intelligence [sic] You overestimate your importance in our lives.

[omitted] Crump

Sorry Crump ol' boy, but I happen to have his book. Regarding the diet's ability to cure everything but cancer, it states specifically, "Atkins is a specific prescription against such ills." That doesn't jibe with how you described it.

Let me get this straight, you swear by the Atkins diet. You've tried the Atkins diet. You say the Atkins diet can prevent diabetes or a pre-diabetic state, yet you also admit YOU are in a pre-diabetic state. Again, your fanaticism seems to utterly overrule any common sense you might otherwise have. It is a mark of the successful fad diet author that when people find, as they inevitably do, that they can't stick to it they blame not the author or the book but themselves. What you cite as a problem intrinsic to yourself is intrinsic to virtually everyone who has tried Atkins, and by that we're talking over ten million people. They can't stick to it because, like eating nothing but jelly beans or peanut butter, you can't go on month after month eating so few carbohydrates. You may well be the laziest person on earth, but you keep falling off the Atkins bandwagon for the same reason everyone else does.

Obviously "less calories, more exercise" isn't the answer for everyone because in this day and age even the slightest amount of self-discipline is frowned upon or even laughed at. That's why you have members of groups like the National Association for Advancement of Fat Acceptance (NAAFA) saying their "natural weight" is 400 pounds or more, when there's no such thing as a "natural weight" and swearing that weight loss is utterly impossible when we all know people who have lost large amounts of weight and kept it off. They utterly refuse to put down the cheezypoofs and Twinkies and go for a walk. My point is that if you want to lose weight and keep it off, adjusting caloric intake and outflow is the only way that works.

So Atkins helped you lose weight temporarily as it often does, only for you to slap it right back on. Is that your idea of success? Would we have won the second Gulf War, in your opinion, if we had occupied the country only to be driven out a few months later?

As to being in the employ of the sugar industry, is that why I have an entire chapter in my 1987 book The Fat of the Land called "Give Us this Day our Daily Sugar" blaming our massive intake of natural sweeteners for much of the obesity epidemic. If the industry hired me, they sure didn't get their money's worth.

And whatever some people call it, Atkins is a high-fat diet and there are only so many high-fat foods you can eat.

The bottom line is that if you had followed my advice you would have lost the weight necessary to get your job and would have kept it off, rather than being in a pre-diabetic state and presumably fat again. That said, you are not a dangerous individual because nobody in their right mind would rely on your testimonial to worship a god who failed you and many millions of others in his successful quest to line his pockets with $100 million. Too bad the monster isn't around any more to spend it.

Sincerely,
Michael Fumento

I would respond but as in most "Strawman" arguments you twist my words around and then argue against YOUR version of what I said, making response pointless.

Obviously, your system is better. It is backed by the medical establishment so it must be right.......... unfortunately it also why obesity is a national epidemic.

Response is pointless because you have nothing with which to respond. You admitted that even you failed on the Atkins diet, even as you defend it to the death. As to why obesity is a national epidemic, it was your pal Gary Taubes, the Atkins advertorialist who argued that ignoring Atkins led to the epidemic, that we are in the midst of an obesity epidemic that started around the early 1980's." Gee Crump, wasn't that right about when the Atkins diet caught on, with its advice that you could wolf down absolutely as many calories as you want so long as you followed his regimen?

Signing off,
Michael Fumento

An Angry Young Man

Mr. Fumento-

Your issues with the Atkins diet would probably carry more weight (no pun intended) were you to refrain from writing while feeling so angry. You really sound as if you're in a snit and it makes it difficult to determine whether you're serious about your point or just mixing the pot to promote your name.

Ever since the great Upton Sinclair (and later Ralph Nader) provided modern society with a real look at some of what goes on in corporate America, there have [sic] the others who, (sic, "whom") in the name of "truth" have exploited their work in order to make a name for themselves (not to mention a few $.) I'd hate to think that you were one of those, but as I research your name on the Internet, it appears this indeed may be the case.

Regarding the Atkins diet, I am looking for some information regarding it's effectiveness. I thought I'd found it with some of what you'd written, but when I compare what the late Dr. had written before you wrote your article, it seems that you haven't read his books. So you've wasted my time.

Why is it that people like you never have any answers? You're not looking to build, only to find things that you think you can tear down. The tone of everything you write strongly carries that sub-text. Your style of write [sic] further suggests that you like to think of yourself as a de-bunker [sic], suggesting that you have the path to the truth. These are all very disturbing characteristics and they severely handicap your credibility.

I'm not saying that I disagree with all your points, but from much of what I've read about you, I can't say that I'd ever refer to your work to support my position in either a debate or in a publication, for it's quite evident that to do so would call into question my credibility.

Sorry.

Charles

Dear Charles,

Your letter comprised 318 words. Not one of them provided an example of how I am writing in anger, notwithstanding that being angry at a person who duped over 15 million people to become filthy rich seems reasonable. You act as if you are in search of information regarding the effectiveness of the Atkins diet, yet you refer to "your article," which means you didn't search very hard considering I've published three different articles on Atkins and all are on posted on my website and many other websites as well.

One was a critique of the Gary Taubes advertorial in the New York Times, which comprised 5,000 words, quoted from Atkins book, and discussed essentially every aspect of the diet. Another focused specifically on an unpublished study that Atkins funded which received tons of media play when released at a conference. The last looked specifically at two different published studies of the diet. Who is wasting the time of whom? Reading between the lines, what you're saying is that I'm wrong because I didn't support your position. You want the diet to work and notwithstanding that it clearly does not you will lash out at anyone who says the emperor has no clothes.

No answers? On the subject of obesity alone, I wrote an entire book of answers. I used actual published medical data to show readers exactly what does and doesn't work to lose weight. But again, they just weren't the answers you want to hear. Like all persons who have yet to figure out that fad diets don't work, you're still looking for something for nothing. Apparently your overall laziness is represented by your evident intellectual laziness.

And thinking of one's self as a "de-bunker" (Is that someone who blow up bunkers? I did actually train for that in the Army.) and that maybe, just maybe, I know something about an issue I've spent eight years writing about is a disturbing characteristic that severely handicaps my credibility? Hmm . . .

Finally, you just don't know how deeply it hurts me that you can't say you'd ever refer to my work to support your position in either a debate or in a publication. My only solace is that I'd be shocked to hear you've ever debated anything more important than who gets to use the bathroom first, or that you so much as had a letter to the editor of the Podunk Herald published. Finally, regarding calling into question your credibility, sorry Charlie but you have to have some in the first place to have it questioned.

Sincerely,
Michael Fumento

Get back to work and stop emailing me!

Sorry, Charlie. But since I only responded to your email, it would seem you're the one with anger issues, wouldn't it? Psychiatrists call that "projection." Have a nice day!

Sincerely,
Michael Fumento

And I Wish to Make Several Deletions . . .

Mr. Fumento: Regarding your recent NY Post Article [sic] regarding the Atkins Diet, I wish to make several observations.

[686 words omitted for incredible excess pomposity.]

I invite your response.

[omitted] Bliss.

Invitation declined.

Sincerely,
Michael Fumento

Introduction to Hate Mail and Other Hate Mail Volumes

A Review of Michael Fumento's Hate Mail

Fumento Flambé


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