Interviewer: Doctor, when you talk about diet, and you mention when you
first started you were giving the wrong advice, when you look at the Atkins
diet, that's gotten a lot of press, both good and bad. Is that closer to
maybe what we should aim for?
Dr. Bowden: Atkins was a brilliant nutritionist. He had the misfortune of
being a really unlikeable guy, and he certainly was the scapegoat for a lot
of things people felt were wrong with, "How can this be - eat bacon?" He
would be a little bit incendiary. He would say, "Yeah, well pork rinds are
better than..." Well, that's kind of right, but that's not the point.
He became known as the doctor who recommended pork rinds, and nobody could
wrap their minds around it. But the fact is that late period Atkins, not
1972 when he first wrote the book, but he did several revisions of it... We
didn't even know what trans fats were in 1972, so you've got to give him a
break on that. But in the later versions of the Atkins diet, he was making
a lot of sense.
He was talking about insulin as being the driver of obesity. He was right
about that. I don't think there's much disagreement about that anymore and
he was the first to talk about that. He was talking about carbohydrates
being the drivers of insulin. He was right about that. You can do an Atkins-
type diet. There was a study done recently called the - they call it in the
literature, it's known as the "Eco Atkins Study". You can google that under
"Eco Atkins". There's a real study.
What they did is they put people on a vegan version of Atkins. Now, that's
almost an oxymoron, but it was the same proportions of protein, carbs and
fat, except all the sources were vegan sources. They still had improvement.
We eat too many carbohydrates, so any way you strike it, reducing
carbohydrates, particularly the grains and starches.
Not the fruits and vegetables, but the grains and starches that form the
bulk of our diet is a good thing. It's a good thing hormonally,
metabolically, in terms of obesity and in terms of heart disease. So he had
a lot of things right, Atkins did.