In fact, Dr. Atkins himself died suddenly some years ago, and while his public relations machine attributed his death to brain damage from a fall, the rumor has it that he had a massive heart attack, likely brought on by his own diet program (Miller, et al., 2000).
Scientific Understanding Relevant to the Issue
Approaching an exploration of the scientific knowledge that could be relevant to the low carb issue immediately opens up a heated debate, with low carb advocates pitted against those who feel that the alternative to low carb is more harmful than an few extra pounds from eating carbohydrates themselves. This being said, there are some areas of scientific knowledge which could help in the issue.
Admittedly easier said than done, the ability to understand once and for all if high protein diets, beyond the weight loss, are in fact safe would be very useful in enabling the individual to make an informed decision as to their choice of diet. In fact, however, the involvement of the individual, in and of itself, complicates things. It is safe to say that there is no one plan that is completely safe or deadly for all individuals; rather, the safety level can and does vary due to a multitude of body chemistry factors (Gabel, et al., 2002). Combining this with the questionable data that corresponds to the low carb craze's safety or lack thereof, and it is easy to see exactly how complicated the issue can in fact become.
Impact of Low Carb on the Future Food Supply and How the Supply Can be Managed
On the more quantifiable end of the spectrum of the low carb craze, it is enlightening to take into account what sort of impact low carb will have on the future food supply, and in turn, the question of how that supply can be managed comes into play.
If the assumption is made, for the sake of discussion, that low carb diets, for better or worse, become the norm in the 21st century, there are definite outcomes that the international food supply can expect. Generally, the demand for grains, rice, certain fruits and vegetables will surely decrease noticeably, because simply put, people will not be consuming and therefore not buying them (Cetron, et al., 2005). Conversely, the demand for animal-based products such as raw and processed meats, eggs, cheese and other dairy products will skyrocket.
Keeping this supply/demand curve in mind, it is reasonable to assume that if the demand for animal products increases and agricultural products decreases, that it will actually even out as agricultural products are needed to raise and feed the animals that will be "processed" as food.
Can Technology Help in this Case?
The technology community can definitely help if animal products are in demand through techniques designed to effectively breed and grow animals, processing of these animals, and the production of dairy products and the like (Cetron, et al., 2005). Also, if in fact there emerges a huge demand for high protein foods, the innovations and technologies present and yet to emerge in the food industry will also be key players, as artificial foods could be created to meet the dietary needs of the public.
A caution needs to be expressed when discussing engineered foods, however; all steps must be taken to make sure that a processed food is not created that represents a more harmful food option than do high carbohydrate foods.
In this paper, the facets of the low carb craze have been explored, but in closing, there are a few general comments that also must be made. First, technology and science must unite to safely and effectively meet the emerging food demands of the world. Second, all caution must be taken to protect those who consume those foods and lastly, our desire to look a certain way must never outweigh the interests of good health and a clean environment.
Cetron, M.J., & Davies, O. (2005, March/April). Trends Now Shaping the Future: Economic, Societal, and Environmental Trends. The Futurist, 39, 27
Gabel, K.A., & Lund, R.J. (2002). Weight Loss at a Cost: Implications of High-Protein, Low-Carbohydrate Diets. JOPERD -- the Journal of Physical Education, Recreation & Dance, 73(2), 18+.
The Low-Carb Craze. (2004, October). Ebony, 59, 74+.…