Local News

Nutritionists Look To Help Former Low-Carb Dieters

Posted September 7, 2005 1:41 a.m. EDT

— Many people lost weight doing Atkins, but it was not always healthy weight loss. Nutrition experts are helping some of them pick up the pieces.

Peggy and Carl Council probably tried several diets, including Atkins' low-carb program. The program includes plenty of meat and dairy products with restrictions on rice, pasta, fruit, vegetables and whole grains.

"I've been on and off every diet," Carl Council said.

"The diet was wonderful for food," Peggy Council said. "It made me sluggish. I did not lose weight."

Peggy's heart problems and diabetes were a concern, so the Councils dropped Atkins. Peggy joined a cardiac program at Rex Hospital, including regular exercise and a tailored food program.

"You never want to be on any type of diet that tells you to avoid certain food groups," dietitian Rose Langley said.

Langley said she has helped several former Atkins dieters. First, she comes to the defense of carbs.

"Carbohydrates have a place. They are our energy yielding food," she said.

Carbohydrates in certain fruits, vegetables and whole grains contain soluble fiber, which cleanse the blood of artery-clogging cholesterol. Apples, bananas and oranges may be high carb, but they are good complex carbs, rich in fiber.

"You don't have fiber, you end up with certain types of cancers," Langley said.

The Councils still eat meat, but it is lean meat. They avoid saturated fats and trans fats.

"We're getting to the age now that if we got any clogged arteries, we don't want to clog them anymore than we got them," Carl said.

Exercise is key. In one month, Peggy has lost 11 pounds.

"It seems to be working and, surprisingly, I'm not hungry," Peggy said. "I think I can live with this."

Many people do lose weight on the Atkins diet and many find it also lowers the bad cholesterol in their blood. However, a recent study in the Journal of the American Medical Association showed people on the Atkins diet had one of the highest drop-out rates, compared to other popular diets.