This is taken from an interview with Dr Westman:
"About 1998, I was a young internist in the Durham VA veteranís medical center, and I was in a research-training program, clinical research, so Iím learning clinical methods and how to do statistics, and two of my patients came having lost of a lot of weight. I guess I was a unique internist in terms of being interested in prevention. Iím finding thatís often not the case. But being prevention minded, I thought this is great. I asked them how they did it.
They said they read this little book, the Atkins Book.
I said immediately, Iím going to send you to the lab because I know your cholesterol has gone up. This is how I was trained. This is where most clinicians are today, including dieticians, physicians and nutritionists. Theyíre going to assume the cholesterol is going up.
I had the chance to check the cholesterol, and in two cases, two in a row, their cholesterol went down. There was a weight loss and a favorable change in cholesterol. So I got curious. So I went to a bookstore and saw many books about low-carb diets. That Atkins one stood out, since it was the ones my patients had brought in. Looking at that, I learned there was actually a clinic in operation. So I contacted Dr. Atkins, and he invited me and my staff to his clinic in New York, in 1999, and the clinic worked. The diet, I saw it in action. People were losing weight, I saw their labs; I looked over the shoulder of one of the nurses, saw the charts and talked to people. I was really amazing to see it working. And yet what I had heard was that it couldnít work and it was unhealthy.
We asked Dr. Atkins to fund a study back at Duke University, and he did. It was a very small study, and it was positive, and we went back and said you need to fund a study that can demonstrate the first one can be replicated, and it needs to be more randomized and larger, to reduce bias in the study, and he said sure, and funded another study. At that time, Gary Foster at Penn was doing a similar study funded by the National Institutes of Health. That study, our study, and many, many others now have come out in favor of the low carb diet.
You know, the Atkins diet came out of clinical care, what he was doing in the 70s in his own clinic. The science took a long time to catch up. I think because of the fear of fat in the diet, scientists were afraid of studying this method as well."