Published: 2001
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Why It Mattered: Prototypical diet book to illustrate America's struggle with eating

How it happened: First you came home to find your father in his chair in front of the TV but the screen was black. He was reading, and it wasn't a Clive Cussler novel about cars and underwater stuff. No, there was an old man smiling at you from the front cover like the paperback was a tabloid. The title read Dr. Atkins New Diet Revolution. "Dad, what's wrong?"

It was the Atkins diet, and soon your favorite after-school sandwich shop was advertising sandwiches without bread. Chain Mexican restaurants by the mall swore they could make that a burrito without the flour tortilla if you wanted it that way. Your mom replied, "Yes, please."

Had everyone gone crazy? Yes. It was the Atkins diet, and a million more would come in its wake. How can you tell that a nation has a fucked-up relationship with food? When its people gobble these books like pigs at a trough. That would be Michael Pollan's point in The Omnivore's Dilemma, released five years after the Atkins fad began. He wasn't wrong.