A lot of people were shocked to learn recently that the Atkins company -- which marketed the wildly popular and profitable low-carbohydrate Atkins Diet products -- has filed for bankruptcy. Wasn't it just yesterday that we were stampeding to buy low-carb bread, low-carb ice cream, even low-carb ocean cruises?
Interest in Atkins and another low-carb diet called South Beachsurged at the same time that the surgeon general warned of an obesity epidemic. Watching the film "Supersize Me" -- about a fellow who gorged at McDonald's for a month -- we acknowledged that fast food is not so good for us. But eventually we admitted the truth of the matter: We cannot, and will not, give up our bread and pizza and beer.
True, gymnasiums are still full, and a lot of people -- inspired by the hot new book, French Women Don't Get Fat -- are testing the premise that we can eat well, in moderation, and lose weight.
But others of us HAVE given up and given in. "Give us back our Whopper sandwiches and super-sized French fries," we're saying. "Phooey on the consequences." Groaner breakfasts of pancakes, bacon, sausage links, hash-brown potatoes, bread, and orange juice somehow make us feel better in these treacherous times.
Naturally, the food industry is happy to oblige.
Burger King is offering an "Enormous Omelet" sandwich with nearly twice as many calories as a regular cheeseburger. Taco Bell has expanded its array of "grande" enchiladas and the like -- and we all know what "grande" means.
And Masterfoods USA has introduced "mega-M&Ms" candies that are 55 percent bigger than its little sugar-coated, multi-colored, round chocolate nuggets.
Will this surrender of will-power end up killing us, forkful by forkful? Some say yes. Others of us say we'd rather die fat and happy than live on a weight-loss treadmill.