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Gorran: Atkins suit a 'quest for knowledge'

Gorran says Atkins officials have misrepresented the safety of the diet.
Diet and Fitness
Robert Atkins
Atkins Diet

(CNN) -- Businessman Jody Gorran says the Atkins diet is, in reality, unfriendly and almost cost him his life and he is filing suit against the promoters of the Atkins Diet and the estate of founder Dr. Robert Atkins. He spoke to CNN's Anderson Cooper about the case.

COOPER: You were on the Atkins Diet for two and a half years, during which you say you ate cheese every day and cheesecake at least three times a week. Why were you surprised your cholesterol went up?

GORRAN: Well, the issue with the Atkins Diet was not so much that my cholesterol went up but it's the fact that the Atkins empire constantly stated that in the absence of refined carbohydrates, eating a great deal of saturated fat would not be a problem and that was a lie.

That's why I'm suing them for negligent misrepresentation of the safety of the diet.

COOPER: But now, in the book -- you read it actually -- said that some people, I think it said some one-third or so [of] people, actually do have some problems with cholesterol and [the book] actually gave some remedies for that, didn't it?

GORRAN: Right. It said you could go on the low saturated fat version of the diet; however, it then went on to say if you're not happy with the low saturated fat version, don't bother with it. Go back on the regular Atkins Diet you enjoyed more.

COOPER: Now, wait a minute, Jody, I actually read from that book. That's not what it said. You're actually misquoting it. It actually said that you should actually go back to the regular diet to test your blood fat saturation level and if you have a problem, you should go back on the lean diet, isn't that more accurate?

GORRAN: That is not accurate, as a matter of fact. The issue was that they minimized the risk of the diet by saying specifically if you're not happy eating lean proteins, such as turkey roll and skinless chicken breasts, go back on the regular Atkins Diet you enjoyed more.

COOPER: We obviously disagree about it. I've read it differently.

GORRAN: You got to the point where you determined whether or not you want to stick with that regime.

COOPER: All right. I read a different account. You're suing...

GORRAN: If you're not happy with it, don't go with it.

COOPER: Got it.

GORRAN: So, one in three people who go on the diet could be suffering from cardiovascular disease and that's the issue here.

COOPER: Jody ... You're being assisted by a group that supports vegan diets that's gone after the Atkins Corporation before. Isn't this just really a quest for publicity?

GORRAN: Well, it's a quest for knowledge. It's a quest to allow people to make sensible decisions when it comes to their health because...

COOPER: What about personal responsibility? I mean, when people hear about your suit, that's their first reaction. I mean, don't you take some personal responsibility? Your sister apparently passed away of heart disease. Don't you have some...

GORRAN: She didn't pass away from heart disease. She had a heart attack and she survived quite well and she happened to have had a cholesterol level which was 100 points higher than mine on the same low-fat diet. So, consequently that was not an issue. All of my...

COOPER: But it's what doctors would term a positive family history. I mean, I have a positive family history. That's what my doctor terms it and my dad died of heart failure.

GORRAN: Well, that's fine but there has to be some underlying factor which is similar and there was none in this case. All the markers that I had showed that I was in good health, I had no problem, no problem with diabetes, no problem with anything. The issue here is that Atkins knew that one out of three people might have a problem with that sensitivity.

COOPER: All right, Jody, we're going to have to leave it.

GORRAN: Even the studies that -- even the studies...

COOPER: We're going to have to leave it there. We're going to have to leave it there. You made your case. I appreciate you being on the program. Jody Gorran, we'll follow the case.

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