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    September 22, 2003    PAGE FIVE      
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      The Low Carb Good Life with Brenda Crump

                                      "You can never plan the future by the past."
                                                            
Edmund Burke

We're proud to feature "The Low Carb Good Life" by regular columnist Brenda Crump, who's also one of our smart and resourceful moderators at Talking Low Carb (our Low Carb Luxury Discussion Forums.) Brenda has found the keys to making low carb a true lifestyle, with proper nutrition at the heart of it all!


There is no denying that much has changed in the low-carb world over the last several years.

It wasn't so long ago that asking for "no bread, no potato" at a restaurant would earn you the same reaction as asking for a plate of raw liver. Now, many restaurants not only permit substitutions for the high carb menu items — they're catering to low-carbers by creating special "Low-Carb" sections on their menus!

Many things that low-carbers today take for granted, like Splenda sweetened sodas and treats, were nonexistent just a few short years ago.

The are so many of us living the low-carb life now that we are actually influencing the demand for certain food items such as beef and pork rinds. Conversely, there is a decreased demand for wheat products and for things like frozen French fries, that is being directly attributed to low-carb consumers. We have become a force to be reckoned with!

The low-carb diet isn't new, of course. It existed even long before Dr. Atkins published his first book about the diet in 1972. But the developments and information examined in this article will all be very recent.

How has the media coverage of low-carbing changed over the last several years? What significant developments have occurred? What future developments will influence the way we make our food choices? Let's start with a look back...

 

1999:
LCL - in 1999 Lora Ruffner debuts Low Carb Luxury in June, 1999. It offers a mere nine areas at the time — recipes, tips, a personal story, news and shopping being chief among them. Over time, it would grow to feature over 22 million hits each month, and publish a bi-monthly magazine.

The low fat approach to weight loss is still the method most favored in the media. Dr. Atkins releases a new edition of Dr. Atkins' New Diet Revolution and it is an immediate bestseller. Sales of The Carbohydrate Addicts Diet by Dr. Richard F. Heller and Dr. Rachael F. Heller are also brisk. The Protein Power Lifeplan book by Michael R. Eades and Mary Dan Eades is also a NY Times bestseller.

As the popularity of low-carb dieting increases, so does virulent opposition from health organizations such as the American Dietetic Association.

In August, sucralose is approved by the FDA for general sweetener purposes.

In October, Dr. Atkins appears on short segments of the network nightly newscasts. He was also featured, quite unfavorably, on Dateline NBC and in a somewhat better light on ABC's 20/20.

As the American Dietetic Association prepares for their annual meeting, an AP article is released declaring low-carb "a nightmare of a diet."
DaVinci Gourmet
In November, DaVinci Gourmet makes the switch from aspartame to sucralose as the sweetener for its sugar free syrups.

In December, low-carb diets are featured on ABC's 20/20. The program discusses how decades of following a low fat, high carb diet has actually led to an increase in heart attacks for Americans. Low-carb is portrayed in a balanced and fair way.


     

2000:
People Magazine In January, Dr. Atkins is named one of People Magazine's "25 Most Intriguing People of '99."

In March, Diet Rite begins using sucralose to sweeten its cola and fruit flavored soft drinks. This is very good news for low-carbers who are searching for a non-aspartame sweetened sugar free beverage.

In October, Dr. Atkins appears on the Today show and is verbally attacked by Katie Couric, who refers to our diet as the "high protein — a.k.a.: meat, cheese and butter" diet. The segment portrays low- carb dieters as eating "no carbohydrates", which of course is untrue. We eat lots of fresh vegetables, nuts, seeds and low glycemic fruits.

In November, HealthSCOUT reporter Nancy A. Melville writes that meat demand has increased 4% since 1998, ending a downward slide that lasted two decades. The reason given for the increased demand? The popularity of high-protein, low-carb diets like Atkins.

     

2001:
In June, low-carbing is once again featured on two mainstream news programs. NBC Nightly News bases their report on research from Harvard University. As reported by NBC, the research shows that a low-carb, high-protein diet can help people shed pounds. The glycemic index is discussed as the "hottest topic in nutrition". Doctors confirm what we've known all along, that eating high glycemic foods causes our blood sugar to shoot up. And then our pancreas pumps out insulin to bring the blood sugar back down. The blood sugar may come down so fast that levels actually go below normal, and that makes us hungry again. Carb cravings!

Luther Vandross
Singer Luther Vandross is spotlighted on the ABC News 20/20 Downtown report. He was able to lose weight and improve his health by following a low-carb program. Vandross shed 120 pounds following a healthy low-carb diet that included chicken, fish, vegetables and fruit.

In December, Anheuser-Busch begins test marketing Michelob Ultra, a low-carb beer, in three cities: Denver, CO, Ft. Myers, FL and Tuscson, AZ.

     

2002:
Dr. Atkins' New Diet Revolution remains on the bestseller list for 285 weeks.

In April of this year, we learned yet another reason why a low-carb diet is a healthy one when information comes to light showing that heating carbohydrate rich foods causes them to contain dangerously high levels of a carcinogen known as acrylamide.

Gary Taubes In July, the New York Times prints an article written by Gary Taubes entitled, "What if it's all been a Big Fat Lie?". Taubes reports that a diet low in carbohydrates is a safe and effective method of weight loss and that it may, in fact, be healthier for the heart than a low-fat diet.

This article, along with research results given at medical conferences from Mt. Sanai Medical Center, University of Connecticut and the University of Washington, begins a trickle of favorable media reports that soon turns into a steady stream of more balanced coverage.

Josh Mankiewicz Also in July, Dateline NBC's Josh Mankiewicz does a story about how he successfully shed 47 pounds by following a low-carb diet. He not only lost the weight, it did it "without suffering". His story prompted many low fat advocates to write and revile him for his "irresponsible" and "biased" reporting. Of course, Mr. Mankiewicz also received the support and adoration of low carbers everywhere.

Dr. Atkins is chosen as one of the "People Who Mattered in 2002" in Time Magazine.

     

2003:
Dr. Atkins In mid-April, we lost our beloved Dr. Atkins as the result of a tragic accident. He touched the lives of thousands upon thousands of people. His work will continue to do so.

On May 9th, a memorial service is held in New York City and is attended by hundreds of people who wished to remember Robert C. Atkins and honor his life.

There are currently an estimated 20 to 30 million people in the United States who are on a low-carb diet. This figure has certainly been noticed by marketers.

Large companies are finding ways to tap into the low-carb market. A. J. Heinz is planning to add low-carb options to their line of Smart Ones frozen entrees.

The restaurant chain Ruby Tuesday will be test marketing a selection of low-carb entrees in their restaurants, with plans to take these choices nationwide in the future.

There is even a low-carb frozen French fry on the horizon!

     



So we've come a long way in a few short years. More and more research is being done and the results are revealing the benefits of low-carbing that we've known all along. As the number of low-carb dieters grows, and the amount of favorable information increases — so will the number of restaurant and food options available to us.

Who knows? Some day soon, non-low carbers may have to make a special request to get bread and pasta at a restaurant as salads and vegetables become the "normal" side dish. Or maybe people will turn their noses up at a plate of sugar-laden donuts the way they used to look at a plate of bacon and eggs.

In time, anything can happen.

Copyright © September 2003  Brenda Crump and Low Carb Luxury

                                                                             Brenda





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