- The Washington Times - Sunday, April 20, 2003

Taking the fat out of Atkins' diet

Now that Dr. Robert C. Atkins has died as a consequence of an unfortunate fall ("Diet founder dies after head injury," Nation, Friday), it is especially appropriate that his weight-reduction diet should be explained correctly and not be forever misrepresented in the public's mind.
The cornerstone of his method flows from the studies and publications of researchers T.M. Chalmers, Alan Kekwick and G.L.S. Pawan in the British journal, Lancet, from 1958 to 1960. They had discovered that a substance they called a "fat mobilizing hormone" was produced in the pituitary gland when test subjects' diet first in laboratory animals, then in humans consisted of little or no carbohydrates (sugars and starch in every form). This substance was released into the bloodstream. As a result, the adipose tissue in the test subjects diminished and weight loss ensued.
This is the scientific foundation of the Atkins weight-loss diet, as he himself has written. Just reducing the consumption of carbohydrates, as most popularizers of his concept say, misses the point. Daily carbohydrate consumption has to be practically zero to stimulate the production of the fat-mobilizing hormone.
Of course, a prospective dieter should be under the supervision of a physician who is an expert in this technique. The physician will closely monitor all the physical systems and weight and regulate the actual amount of carbohydrates allowed for a particular patient.
It is not a starvation diet. The physician will show the patient what to eat, how to enjoy his meals, not be hungry, watch the pounds disappear and improve his health.
We have witnessed the medical and dietary establishment at first vehemently denying the efficacy of the diet, then misrepresenting it but grudgingly conceding its possibilities, and finally saying that everyone knew it was right all along.

DR. HERBERT BERNSTEIN
North Miami, Fla.

Curbing drugs, terrorism in South America

While Wednesday's editorial "Living dangerously in Colombia" incorrectly states that a U.S. plane was shot down in Colombia last week the cause of the crash is under investigation, but it does not appear to have been shot down it correctly highlights the dangers that ongoing violence in Colombia poses to that country's friends and neighbors.
The State Department shares these concerns. In fact, it has adopted most if not all of the remedies the editorial prescribes. Since 2000, the U.S. government has provided more than $2 billion and expanded trade relations to help the countries of the Andean ridge promote democracy and development and provide viable economic alternatives to the drug trade and the violence it breeds.
With our encouragement and support, Andean countries are already pursuing a coordinated regional approach to countering cross-border threats. Colombia and its neighbors took a big step forward in this regard at a regional security meeting of foreign and defense ministers held in Bogota, capital of Colombia, last month. The ministers resolved to strengthen measures to address the regional threat of drugs, terrorism and arms trafficking.
State Department programs have helped lay the groundwork for further progress. U.S. assistance programs are focused on improving the abilities of Andean governments to secure and protect porous borders against both criminal and terrorist elements. Monitoring capabilities at port and border facilities are being upgraded to close off channels for illegal trafficking in contraband. In the aftermath of September 11, 2001, the United States mounted an intensive effort to promote law enforcement cooperation against terror activities, with a particular emphasis on illegal financial transactions.
Ultimately, aggressive efforts to stamp out the drug trade, the source of much of the violence in the region, offer the best hope for sustaining peace and stability. With help from the United States, Colombia's President Alvaro Uribe is leading the charge, and we have witnessed a striking decline in coca cultivation in Colombia in the past year. His success bodes well for others in the region who are steadily making progress of their own.

J. CURTIS STRUBLE
Acting Assistant Secretary of State
Western Hemisphere Affairs
Department of State
Washington

Montgomery County madness

For this Easter season, let us all thank God for The Washington Times' coverage of Montgomery County and related Maryland news. Without it, we would be left to the tender mercies of the local liberal news monopoly.
Specifically, I am writing to commend The Times for its coverage of Montgomery County Executive Douglas M. Duncan's proposed tax increases ("Higher taxes due in Montgomery," Metropolitan, Thursday).
Why, isn't this the same Mr. Duncan who just voted to give himself and his allies on the County Council a hefty salary increase? Instead of raising taxes, they should have taken a reduction in salary to help balance our county budget. After all, it's bloated with social service pork that greases their electoral victories.
One also notes that Mr. Duncan has been appearing on local radio trying to cover himself in the reflected glory of Police Chief Charles Moose. While Chief Moose should receive full credit for his management of the sniper crisis in the fall, Mr. Duncan and State's Attorney Douglas Gansler might well wear the badge of shame for their mollycoddle approach to law enforcement.
Neither would declare himself in support of capital punishment for the sniper slayings. Rather, they endorsed former Lt. Gov. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend's plan to suspend capital punishment until a "study" could be completed to determine whether there is evidence of an unfair racial disparity. (Fortunately, this has been reversed by current Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr.)
In the 40 years I have lived in Montgomery County, I have seen it slide downward from a semi-rural area with a balanced and open government to its present lamentable condition as a big-city machine, led and manipulated by liberals. Let's now begin to balance the books by cutting the social service pork and shrinking government employee salaries, starting with the county executive and county council members.
It is well past time for change in Montgomery County, so keep up the informed coverage of our county and state governments warts and all.

C. STUART BROAD
Chevy Chase

Hands off Syria

As a Republican and the father of a Marine stationed in Baghdad, I want my boy back home, period. So, when I read that Syria stands accused of "harboring defeated Iraqi leaders, developing chemical weapons and supporting terrorism" and being a "rogue nation" ("U.S. tells Syria it's flirting with sanctions," Page 1, Tuesday), I wonder if this means he will ever come back home.
Our stunning victory in Iraq was legitimized by indisputable evidence that Saddam Hussein was a monster, but anyone who claims Syrian President Bashar Assad is a similar threat to his people (let alone America) is playing fast and loose with the facts. (This is not to deny that my native Syria could use some true reforms reforms for which I pray.)
This neoconservative agenda that seeks more wars in the Middle East is not an America-first agenda. Real conservatives are starting to come to grips with this fact and will soon begin reigning in these upstarts.
I say, let's show how proud we are of our valiant fighting men by bringing them home and refocusing our efforts on advancing America's security and prosperity no one else's.

AYMAN HAKKI
Washington

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