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Robert Coleman Atkins17.10.1930

Wikipedia (10 Oct 2013, 12:25)

Robert Coleman Atkins (October 17, 1930 – April 17, 2003) was an American physician and cardiologist, best known for the "Atkins Nutritional Approach", or "Atkins Diet", a popular but controversial way of eating that requires close control of carbohydrate consumption, emphasizing protein and fat as the primary sources of dietary calories in addition to a controlled number of carbohydrates from vegetables. Although the success of Atkins' diet plan, weightloss books, and lifestyle company, Atkins Nutritionals, led Time to name the doctor one of the ten most influential people in 2002, his critics in the medical and fitness communities continue to criticize Atkins' approach to weight loss.

Early life

Atkins was born in Columbus, Ohio, the son of Eugene and Norma (Tuckerman) Atkins. At the age of twelve, his family moved to Dayton, Ohio, where his father owned several restaurants. As a young teen, Atkins held various jobs, including a position selling shoes at the age of 14 and a later gig on a local radio show. Upon graduating from the University of Michigan in 1951, Atkins had thoughts of becoming a comedian and spent the summer as a waiter and entertainer at various resorts in the Adirondacks.

He eventually decided to pursue medicine, however, and received a medical degree at Cornell University Medical College (now known as Weill Cornell Medical College) in 1955. After completing an internship at Strong Hospital in Rochester, New York and finishing his residency in cardiology and internal medicine at hospitals affiliated with Columbia University, Dr. Atkins specialized in cardiology and complementary medicine, and went on to open a private practice on the Upper East Side of New York City in 1959. He married his wife Veronica when he was 56.


During the early years of his medical practice, stress and poor eating habits led Atkins to gain a considerable amount of weight. In 1963, at a weight of 224 pounds (100 kg), he decided to go on a restrictive diet based on the research of Dr. Alfred W. Pennington, who recommended removing all starch and sugar from meals. The article exploring the study of Pennington's work, titled "A New Concept in the Treatment of Obesity", was published in the October 1963 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association by Edgar S. Gordon, Marshall Goldberg, and Grace J. Chosy, and advocated for the complete elimination of sugar from the diet and a marked increase in both fat and protein. Atkins found immediate and lasting success on the plan, and began advertising its effects to his patients. While working as a medical consultant for AT&T, he even managed to help 65 patients there reach their ideal weight with his low-carbohydrate, ketogenic diet program.

In 1965, Atkins appeared on The Tonight Show to promote his weight loss plan and the diet he recommended was subsequently published in Vogue in 1970. The popularity of the plan with the magazine's female readership caused a surge in popularity for both Atkins and the magazine, and his dietary regimen was known for many years as simply "The Vogue Diet". Atkins finally published his meal plans along with his own findings based on patient research in the book Dr. Atkins' Diet Revolution in 1972. The book became an instant bestseller selling in millions of copies and led Atkins to release a series of cookbooks, health guides, and diet products in the coming decades.[]

The success of Atkins' commercial diet products also allowed the doctor to open the "Atkins Center for Complementary Medicine" in Manhattan, a holistic medicine center advocating alternative medicine practices. By the early 1990s, the center employed 87 people, and reported treating more than 50,000 patients. In 1998, Atkins also founded the nutrition and supplements company Atkins Nutritionals to promote his high-fat, low-carbohydrate diet, and the brand grew to include not only diet-controlled carbohydrate, low-glycemic food products, but also a variety of lifestyle items that generated a revenue of over $100 million. By this time, Atkins had revised his approach to allow for more flexibility and variety in the weight loss plan and had published Dr. Atkins' New Diet Revolution in 1992, which again became a bestseller selling more than 15 million copies nationwide.

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