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What purported to be an article about the battle between “purveyors of mass packaged food� and “low-carb products� (“Diet Inc.,� December 2003/January 2004) actually turned out to be a thinly veiled ad for the Atkins diet.

I am glad the author disclosed his own experiences with the Atkins program. It helped me understand his comments, but not to approve of American Demographics' decision to print them as fair reporting.

I am not affiliated with any particular diet, nor am I a vegan or vegetarian. However, I believe it is irresponsible to promote a dietary system whose primary goal is weight loss rather than nutrition, especially when such promotion has such far-reaching negative impact for developing countries, as well as for people seeking information about health and nutrition.

I believe it is true that, as the article reports, carbohydrates trigger a release of insulin that provides fuel for the body's cells. This only results in the storage of fat when it is not paired with a corresponding amount of consumption of the fuel (with the exception of those who have imbalances in body chemistry). Basically, we eat too much and exercise too little and that is why we as a nation are experiencing abnormally high rates of obesity. This is why, in countries where carbohydrates are a primary dietary staple, obesity is not the problem that it is here.

As the most politically powerful and affluent country in the world we have a duty to act responsibly and to understand the ramifications of our consumption habits, whether they be related to fuel-inefficient vehicles or to high protein diets. I hardly think that criticizing the USDA for not taking up Dr. Atkins' battle cry is good journalism. As usual, we want to have our beef and eat it too.


Fullerton, Calif.


I have been a fan, subscriber and contributor to American Demographics for about two decades and would like to compliment you on the December 2003 issue, which was particularly useful.

Since the advent of Internet research in the 1990s, interactive companies have quietly inflicted a gigantic hoax on the American public: that Internet surveys are “projectable� to the entire U.S. population.

Sadly, American Demographics, an arbiter of survey methodology, continues to perpetuate this myth (p.12, December 2003: “nationally representative online survey�).

With only about 70 percent of American households having online access today, there is absolutely no way to claim “projectability,� regardless of any “algorithms� or “weights� with which to “adjust� the data. “Balancing� an online sample by using census figures of the entire U.S. is — to put it euphemistically — a fandangle. This is because the offline population is a vastly different breed from its wired counterparts, whose attitudes and behaviors generally cannot be divined from an online sample.

The flimsiest pretext of valid “projectable� online data would require ongoing, cost-prohibitive, parallel tracking research, which, trust me, is never done. And even then, the methodology would be highly questionable.

There is no such thing as a nationally representative online survey. The description should be a “nationally representative survey of the U.S. online population.�

I'm not one of those nitpicking academic purists who like to fill e-mail boxes with pedantic nonsense, but this deception is huge and it must be stopped!

In about 10 or 15 years, when Internet penetration finally reaches the high-‘90s, the problem will automatically dissolve . But this is 2004, and with only 70 percent, we're not even close.



American Sports Data, Inc.


In response to your article, “Whose Side Is God On?� (Voter 2004, February) consider: God is the creator of the universe. He is Holy, Omniscient, Omnipresent and Omnipotent. If one believes these are attributes of God, then one might consider that God does not have to choose one side or another, when both sides fall far short of His standards.

Rather, it is we, who are not holy, truthful,perfect nor worthy of His attention, who must choose sides. By His grace He allows us the choice of seeking His way or seeking our own way. I would never profess to know the thoughts of God, but if I did, I might suppose He would not seek solace in our political system, demographic statistics or our ability to claim divine guidance in a polling booth.


Belton, Mo.

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