A Florida man says the Atkins diet raised his cholesterol, and caused him to have a medical procedure to open an artery to his heart. Jody Gorran, 53, is suing Dr. Robert Atkins’ estate for $15,000 in damages. He also wants Atkins products to carry a warning that the diet can raise cholesterol.
Gorran spent 2.5 years on the diet, because he went from 140 lbs. to 148 lbs. and wanted to keep his 34-inch waist.
The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, an activist group that supports a vegan diet and animal rights activities, is backing Gorran in the case.
Appearing on NBC’s Today Show, Gorran said he started the diet in 2001, and that within two months his cholesterol rose from 146, considered normal, to 230, considered hazardous. He charges that Dr. Atkins knew back in 1999 that “one out of three people are fat sensitive and that their cholesterol will go up.” Gorran implied that that shows the doctor and his namesake diet have a reckless disregard for human health.
Dr. Stuart Tragger, representing the Atkins group, pointed out that more than 40 scientific studies have supported that validity of the diet and that the program includes “clear warnings about what to do if cholesterol rises.”
Dr. Tragger further exposed PCRM’s agenda and cited past claims and challenges the group has made, such as saying “cheese is like heroine on a cracker.”
Today Show host Matt Lauer also questioned the “animal rights” group involvement in the case, as well as Gorran’s personal responsibility for deciding to stay on the diet.
Gorran responded: “Dr. Atkins lied about his diet and he didn’t care.”
According to a New York Times report, Professor Benjamin Zipursky of Fordham University's School of Law, said the lawsuit was unlikely to succeed. The suit is "chock-full of information about criticism of the Atkins diet," he said. "So it really reads as if it were done by someone who is doing it for reasons of publicity rather than private gain."
“This lawsuit has an undeniable animal-rights motive for attacking a wildly popular diet plan that features meat and dairy foods,” said David Martosko, research director for the Center for Consumer Freedom.
The American Heart Association wouldn't comment on the suit, but issued a statement saying, "Eating large amounts of high-fat foods for a sustained period raises the risk of coronary heart disease, diabetes, stroke and several types of cancer."