Closing Off His Heart to the Atkins Diet

One can still go to the Atkins website, though, and read how innocuous saturated fat is. One reader asks, “Is it OK for me to consume more than 20% of my calories in the form of saturated fat?” The answer given is “Absolutely.”[396]

With this kind of advice, 53-year-old businessman Jody Gorran stayed on the Atkins Diet, and continued to recommend it to his friends even though his cholesterol had shot up 50%. Before starting the Atkins Diet, his cholesterol was excellent, he had no history of heart disease, and an unrelated CT scan showed that his coronary arteries were clean.[397]

For Jody Gorran, it took two years on the Atkins Diet before the crushing chest pain started. By then one of his coronary arteries was 99% blocked and his heart function was suffering for it. An immediate cardiac catheterization and stent placement may well have saved his life. In the opinion of his cardiologist, Gorran might well have otherwise had a massive heart attack and died within a short period of time. Mr. Gorran is now suing the Atkins Corporation, alleging that they “knew, or should have known,” that what they were saying about their diet and heart disease risk were false. He is trying to get the corporation to include warning labels on its books, website, and products that a low carbohydrate diet “may be hazardous to your health–check with your physician.”[398]

This is not the first time Atkins has been sued. When Dr. Atkins’ Diet Revolution first came out, a million-dollar class action suit was brought against Atkins and his publisher to recover medical expenses incurred by the diet’s side effects.[399] A Brooklyn Assemblyman on Atkins who nearly died after a heart attack sued Atkins and the publisher for publishing the book “without regard to the safety, truth or accuracy of the statements contained in the book.”[400] The book Nutrition Cultism cites 3 occasions in which Atkins was sued and the cases were each settled out of court in favor of the plaintiffs.[401]

“The point is,” Gorran said in an NBC News interview, “Dr. Atkins lied to the public. He didn’t care. For his ego or for corporate greed, that’s what this thing’s about.”[402] “A successful diet has to be more than simply losing weight” Gorran said on Good Morning America, “A successful diet should not kill you.”[403]