Half of all Americans surveyed for the brand new "Dole Poll" said that no amount of weight loss from a low-carb diet would be worth the potential negative health impact.
According to the national poll of 801 adults, the possible side effects of a low-carbohydrate diet - such as high cholesterol, constipation, kidney stones and increased risk of some cancers -"tip the scales" against following such a diet for a full 50 percent of respondents.
In contrast, just one-third (36 percent) say they are willing to take their chances to realize some weight loss, with 4 percent reporting any amount of pounds shed would be "worth it."
Coming on the heels of The Lancet medical journal's survey, which suggested that such side effects as headaches, fatigue and foul breath are more frequently reported by low-carb dieters than those on conventional regimens, the Dole Poll findings are more evidence that the Atkins bubble has burst.
This backlash is already affecting the grocery industry, with less than half as many low-carb products introduced in 2004 than in 2003, and sales figures showing that many of these products are discounted or withdrawn weeks after introduction. Some industry experts even project that two-thirds of the products introduced this year will be off the shelves by 2006.
We've turned a corner in public awareness. The more people learn about low-carb health risks, the less appetite they have for such dangerous fad diets.
Jennifer Grossman is the director of the Dole Nutrition Institute, a research and education organization dedicated to promoting the health benefits of fruits and vegetables with regard to weight management and disease prevention.