It’s been 40 years since the late, great Robert Atkins pulished his famous treatise on the near magical efficacy of low carbohydrate diets. Dr. Atkins foresaw a glorious revolution based on his low carb approach. If only enough people understood and believed his message, the human race could liberate itself from the plagues of obesity and chronic disease.
Atkins was, essentially, right. The low carb approach works. Good science supported it and still does. Likewise, the stories of millions of successful Atkins dieters should not be ignored. Atkins and diets like Atkins have helped countless folks who failed miserably on more culturally normal diets, like low fat and low calorie.
But it’s been 40 years! If low carb is so damn effective, why aren’t we ALL low carbers?
Look around. We’re losing the war.
- Atkins is grounded in evolutionary theory. But the Paleo diet — the concept that we should eat what we evolved to eat for 99.9% of our evolutionary history — gets dismissed as a “fad diet” by the medical and journalistic communities. (What??)
- We’ve tried exposing the bad science that critics use to bash low carb.
- We’ve tried surfacing and promoting good science that supports low carb.
- We’ve tried blogging, writing editorials, debating, dreaming up colorful metaphors, signing petitions, and more. We’ve done everything but march on Washington. And I doubt even THAT would make much of a dent.
Why? Why are we losing the war?
What we need are not new strategies or tactics. As the inimitable Will Rogers once said: If you find yourself in a hole, stop digging.
Well, guess what? We’re in a hole. So let’s put down the shovel for a second and just think.
I assert that we’re losing because of the way the obesity debate has been framed. The rules of the Diet Wars are stacked against low carb/paleo, permanently.
Our problem isn’t our science. It’s our marketing!
That’s what I’m trying to do with this Black Box concept — the raison d’etre of my blog. Once people accept that the Black Box, not calories, “counts,” they will need to fall back on SOMETHING. And that “something” must include:
- Good science (which leads to low carb diet);
- Our evolutionary predispositions (which leads to the paleo diet concept).
We need the Black Box, or something like it, to change the frame.
It’s time for the low carb/paleo world to close ranks behind the Black Box (or something like it). We can still debate the merits (or lack thereof) of the carbs/insulin hypothesis, “safe” starches, food reward, omega 6s, the special poisonousness of wheat, etc etc. All good. But if we want to WIN, then we MUST remove the Calories Count mentality. It is the final redoubt of our enemies, who use it as a cudgel to dismiss our science and our stories.
We will never be free while the Calorie Wizards have us under their spell. So I implore you: join the Black Box revolution, and let’s finish the job Dr. Atkins started for us.