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Atkins diet another trend for fast food restaurants

Jan. 22, 2004

Staff editorial

Recently, every restaurant from TGI Friday's to La Fiesta has been unveiling their new 'Atkins-friendly' menus. The popular low-carbohydrate diet has taken over the menus at fast food restaurants as well.

Subway has introduced its 'Atkins Wraps,' Burger King is preparing to debut its burger without a bun, and even Fazoli's has jumped on the bandwagon with low-carb Italian food.

While the editorial board believes that healthy eating habits are important and that this may be a step in the right direction as an alternative to high-fat burgers and fries, we are also wary about the potential health risks of the diet and the ulterior motives of the companies.

Assuming the diet is done under the supervision of a doctor, and all possible health problems of the individual are taken into account, The Lariat believes the Atkins diet can be both effective and safe. However, the diet was never intended for long-term use, and cutting carbohydrates out of your diet for long periods of time has been known to cause severe health problems.

Our biggest concern is with uninformed individuals who might mistakenly believe eating 'Atkins-friendly' menu items might cause weight loss. The phenomenon has the capability to fool some Americans into thinking they are actually eating healthy by choosing the Atkins menu items over others. We warn consumers to beware: even the 'healthy' food at fast food restaurants is still relatively unhealthy, and adding sugary sodas and fattening condiments only adds to health problems.

We also question the motives of the fast-food industry. The obvious reason for introducing such food is profit. Subway's 'Atkins Wraps' have been promoted extensively as a further push on its successful 'Eat Fresh,' advertising campaign. The franchise reaped the benefits of this campaign in 2002 when it opened its 200,000th restaurant, passing up McDonald's as the largest restaurant chain in the country.

Other companies have noticed its gain. Due to recent lawsuits claiming 'french fries made me fat,' fast-food restaurants are releasing nutrition facts and offering 'healthy' alternatives, partly in hopes of staying out of the courtroom.

However, The Lariat believes that no matter how it's presented, fast food will never be the healthiest option. Try exercising and eating a balanced diet. It may just work.