'Sunshine and Sex'

Atkins’ remedy to counteract or cover-up the toxic effects of his diet is a list of prescriptions. Constipation? No problem, he says, take a laxative.[203]

Leg cramps? They are “probably due to a calcium deficiency,” Atkins explained, “I treat it with calcium supplements and Vitamins E and C. Sometimes magnesium and potassium have to be added.”[204]

What if uric acid goes up? Not an obstacle for Atkins, who wrote: “this rarely poses a problem because I routinely prescribe a drug to prevent uric acid formation… if it goes above the normal range after being on the diet.”[205] He fails to mention, however, that this drug can cause irreversible liver damage, life-threatening anemia, and, in rare cases, even death.[206]

Breath that smells “like a cross between nail polish and over-ripe pineapple?”[1158] Great!–that means it’s “working at full efficiency.”[207] Just “carry around… one of those purse-sized aerosol mouth fresheners, and you can have sweet breath…”[208]

Despite the side effects of ketosis, Atkins’ books encourage people to repeatedly test their urine for ketones to ensure they remain in this unhealthy state. Atkins almost fetishized ketosis, describing it being “as delightful as sunshine and sex.”[209] Atkins did, after all, start his career off as a stand-up comic.[210] One dieter replied, “I don’t think Dr Atkins had much sex if he thinks that ketosis is better than sex. It’s certainly not.”[211]

In fact, thanks to its side effects, those who go on the Atkins Diet in an attempt to attract others may find it counterproductive when a potential mate gets too close and finds a constipated, cognitively impaired “zombie” with bad breath.