Is LC Morphing to HAES? Part VI.1: Exercise & the Atkins Food Pyramid

In my recent highlighting of the LC response to the USDA 2010 Guidelines, I had meant to include the Atkins food pyramid.  But having neglected to, in light of this series of posts, I thought it might be more appropriate to put it here.  

Below is a copy of the Atkins Pyramid from here:

Check out (click to enlarge) the arrow up the right!  "Increase options with additional exercise" 

Of course this brings rise to a sentiment I hear frequently in low carb circles and Taubes made in his segment with Oz on exercise.  (Oz makes a "talko" there on the cals burned by a pound of lean mass, I think he probably wanted to say that a pound of lean burns about 10 cal/day vs. a pound of fat requiring only 3 cal/day - at least that's the version I recall reading and I'm not saying it's so.)  In any case, after the "working up an appetite" spiel -- where he acknowledges energy balance once again --  he makes the claim that basically exercise is reversing the damage that the carbs are doing, but doesn't do it as well as not eating the carbs in the first place.


If this is true, can someone please explain the logic of why exercise is good for health but useful for weight loss in the context of a low carb diet?  ANY exercise.  You don't just get to pick one's pet program. 

The point of the Atkins Pyramid was that our bodies can process carbohydrates better when we're more active.  That's a no-brainer.  But it's not because carbs are inherently harmful, it's because exercise improves insulin sensitivity - some forms/durations more than others - but ultimately it all does just that.  A healthy diet promotes insulin sensitivity.  VLC/HF does not once maintenance is achieved.   

Back to the Atkins Pyramid per say for a moment and then I'm out.  I'll point out that fruits are below dairy and nuts, and {{cringe}} veggie and seed oils!  Nowhere do I see sticks of butter, or coconut oil by the spoonful, that's for sure.  This Atkins Pyramid looks awfully "Primal" to me - if we limit the added oils to olive and coconut - and pretty close to paleo if one chooses to avoid the little bit of dairy and eat the occasional tuber in place of grains.  

*** Update around 12:30 6/24 from the official Atkins site:


MM said…
Wow, I'd never seen the Atkins pyramid before. It looks nothing like the very high fat diet people like Jimmy advocate. Where did you get it? Was it in one of the books or maybe on their website? Fascinating that fruit comes before dairy. I've read a couple of Atkins books and I never would have guessed that, and I definitely don't remember seeing this pyramid in either of them.
Tonus said…
MM: Atkins has an updated version on their site. The update may have been recent, as the link you get via a Google search is incorrect.
CarbSane said…
@Tonus, not a whole lot different. I'm gonna edit it in a screenshot. Surprising eh? I would not have guessed lumping legumes in with nuts and dairy *above* fruit.