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USA Today reports that Atkins Nutritionals – the commercial arm of the low-carb diet empire – has formed an alliance with four major educational groups, including the National Education Association (NEA), the nation’s largest teachers’ union. The goal of the initiative, according to Atkins management, isn’t specifically aimed at getting kids to embrace the Atkins Diet, but rather educate children to make better food choices.

According to USA Today, “Atkins is helping pay for an NEA Web site for teachers and students. It's also working with school nurses in New York and underwriting a publication on childhood obesity for state education policymakers.”

However, critics say that this is a questionable move by the educational groups, since the Atkins folks define “better food choices” as a low-carb lifestyle. In addition, there is criticism that schools essentially are being used as a marketing vehicle by Atkins Nutritionals, and that such an arrangement isn’t any more ethical than deals made with candy and soft drink companies.
KC's View:
There remain enough questions about the long-term impact of the Atkins Diet that we would have serious questions about it being taught to our children as a nutritional nirvana…especially because a new report in the Journal of the American Medical Association suggests that a Mediterranean-style diet – which emphasizes whole grains, fish, nuts, legumes, olive oil, fruits, vegetables and potatoes, but not meat and dairy products – seems to be key to a long and healthy life.

What really needs to be taught to kids, we think, is an intelligent approach to food is intelligent without draining the joy from it, and that stresses that consistent exercise is at least as important as a nutritious and varied diet.

Besides, we have to be honest. Forced to choose between the Atkins Diet and a Mediterranean-style diet, we’re sticking with the Italians and the Greeks.