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June 4, 1973

A Critique of Low-Carbohydrate Ketogenic Weight Reduction Regimens: A Review of Dr. Atkins' Diet Revolution

JAMA. 1973;224(10):1415-1419. doi:10.1001/jama.1973.03220240055018

There has been a rekindling of public interest in the low-carbohydrate ketogenic diet touted as a "miraculous" and "revolutionary" approach to weight reduction. A recent example is the publication and extensive promotion of a book, Dr. Atkins' Diet Revolution.1 The Council on Foods and Nutrition of the American Medical Association evaluated the claims made by Dr. Atkins and considered certain general questions concerning the "low-carbohydrate diet."

History of Low-Carbohydrate Diets  The low-carbohydrate diet approach to weight reduction is neither new nor innovative. About a century ago, an English surgeon, William Harvey2 devised a diet for obesity that specifically interdicted sweet and starchy foods, while permitting meat ad libitum. One of his portly patients, William Banting3 attested to the efficacy of Harvey's diet in A Letter on Corpulence, Addressed to the Public. During the last 20 years, there has been a cyclical recrudescence of similar diets having in

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