Magazine article Newsweek

No Fries, Please; Atkins Takes Aim at Kids and School Lunches

Magazine article Newsweek

No Fries, Please; Atkins Takes Aim at Kids and School Lunches

Article excerpt

Byline: Mary Carmichael

The first thing Dr. Stuart Trager wants you to know about the Atkins Youth Initiative is that it is not, repeat, not an attempt to starve America's children of carbohydrates, much less give them an excuse to eat nothing but bunless bacon cheeseburgers. He's got proof, too: one of the AYI's new recommended lunches for kids. There are fresh radishes and strawberries and grilled chicken, all low-carb mainstays of the Atkins weight-loss regimen, but the chicken is sandwiched between two pieces of plain old healthy brown bread. And on top of the strawberries--is that whipped cream ? "We're promoting the need to move away from highly refined sugar and carbohydrates. That's not controversial. Everyone agrees that emerging science supports that message," says Trager, chairman of the Atkins Physicians Council. "Putting kids on the Atkins diet is clearly in no way our agenda."

So what exactly is the agenda? For the past year, Atkins Nutritionals, Inc., has been working quietly on a plan to revamp the way schools approach food, in both the classroom and the cafeteria--a plan that focuses largely on eliminating empty carbs, the same foods adults on Atkins avoid. As part of the Youth Initiative, ANI hopes to announce several pilot programs in schools in the next few months. Though they declined to elaborate, Atkins staffers said they'll likely push for "curriculum changes," and take-home brochures for parents and teachers are already in the works. One for educators lists four kinds of unhealthy foods: those "high in sugar and low in satiety," processed foods, trans-fatty foods, and oversize portions. …

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