This post is the third in a series of carbohydrate exploration. This series uncovers and demystifies carbohydrates for what they are, what they do for our body, and all the hype that we hear in the media.
Are no-carb diets new?
Carbohydrates have been around since the beginning of plant-life on earth. However, it wasn’t until only recently, around the mid-1970’s that it was determined that carbohydrates should be avoided in the human diet.
The idea of low-carb was popularized in 1972 when Dr. Robert Atkins published Diet Revolution and sold 15 million copies. This signaled a new craze in American culture and established the Atkins brand empire. Diet Revolution introduced the idea that if people consumed fat and protein and eliminated carbohydrate, that they would experience significant weight loss and reach optimal health. Unlike other diets around this time, Diet Revolution deemed calories as irrelevant.
According to Obesity and Fad Diets, “The Chair of Harvard’s nutrition department went on record before a 1973 U.S. Senate Select Committee investigating fad diets: “The Atkins Diet is nonsense… Any book that recommends unlimited amounts of meat, butter, and eggs, as this one does, in my opinion is dangerous. The author who makes the suggestion is guilty of malpractice.”
No-carb marketing jackpot
After Atkins hit the jackpot, others were ready to piggyback on his success. Soon Zone Diet, South Beach Diet, and Paleo Diet hit bookstore shelves. All of these diets have experienced marketing success with cookbooks, meal replacement bars, and other products.
These low-carb marketing successes have experienced financial gains by tapping into people’s desperation to lose weight. In fact, they target people who are willing to try anything, including the elimination of a crucial energy source, to obtain the perfect body (we will dive deeper into this idea in a later post).