Authorities recommend Americans start roughing it with “at least 30-35 grams” of fiber a day “from foods, not from supplements.” The initial phase of the Atkins Diet, which dieters may have to repeatedly return to, has as little as 2 grams of fiber per day–that’s less than 7% of the minimum daily recommendation of the American College of Gastroenterology. Other independent analyses–one at Tufts, another published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition and a third published in the 2004 volume of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology–found 4 grams of fiber a day, only 16% of the FDA’s Daily Value.
Atkins can’t help but concede the health benefits associated with fiber found, in his own words, in “vegetables, nuts and seeds, fruits, beans and whole unrefined grains;” but then asks “How can you get the benefits of fiber without the carbs contained in these foods? The answer is supplementation.” He then goes on to basically recommend that all his followers start taking sugar-free Metamucil. What must Mother Nature have been thinking, putting all the fiber into such “poison” foods?
The May 2004 Annals of Internal Medicine study which was misleadingly much lauded in the press with headlines like “Scientists Give Thumbs Up to Atkins Diet,” showed once again that most of the Atkins Dieters suffered from headaches and constipation. They also had significantly more diarrhea, general weakness, rashes and muscle cramps–despite taking the 65 supplements prescribed by Atkins. One subject was so constipated he had to seek medical attention. Another developed chest pain on the diet and was subsequently diagnosed with coronary heart disease. No wonder Consumer Guide gave the Atkins Diet zero out of four stars for being “outright dangerous” and the editor of the Healthy Weight Journal gave Atkins the dubious Slim Chance Award for “Worst Diet.”