Despite U.S. attempts to stall and sabotage the World Health Organization’s report on diet (as they tried to do with tobacco), in May 2004 the WHO Global Strategy on Diet, Physical Activity and Health was unanimously endorsed by all 192 Member States of the United Nations. The report blames the growing pandemic of global chronic disease in part on “greater saturated fat intake (mostly from animal sources), reduced intakes of complex carbohydrates and dietary fiber, and reduced fruit and vegetable intakes,” in other words, they place blame for the global epidemic of obesity, cancer, heart disease and diabetes on exactly the kind of diet Atkins’ books recommend. As the Harvard Health Letter put simply, the Atkins Diet “is not a healthy way to eat.” The World Health Organization is calling for limiting the consumption of saturated animal fats and “increasing the consumption of fruits, vegetables, legumes [beans, peas and lentils], whole grains and nuts.”
The evidence to support their position is “overwhelming.” After 11 years following 11,000 people, for example, researchers found that eating whole grains may help people live longer. That did not seem to be the case for refined grains, though. And the Atkins Diet is based on that half-truth.
Atkins was right in going “against the grain” in the case of refined carbohydrates like white flour and sugar. But he was wrong to restrict good carbs–the carbs found in whole unrefined foods–like those recommended in the WHO’s report: “fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains and nuts.” A bunless burger is not the answer to a fat-free doughnut.
Just because jellybeans and Wonder Bread are not health-promoting foods does not mean one has to switch to pork rinds and bacon. Let’s not throw the wheat germ out with the wheat.