Erika Engle

Low-carb craze
comes to L&L with
Hawaiian Atkins Plate


Tuesday, Oct. 22, 2003

>> "TheBuzz" column on Page C1 Friday said beef raises insulin levels "20-something times higher than oatmeal and 27 times higher than pasta," when it should have been characterized as 20-something percent and 27 percent.

The Honolulu Star-Bulletin strives to make its news report fair and accurate. If you have a question or comment about news coverage, call Editor Frank Bridgewater at 529-4791 or email him at

You can't throw a loaf of bread these days without hitting someone who's on a low- or no-carb diet.

Now the Atkins Diet craze has hit the menu at L&L Drive-Inn.

Co-founder Eddie Flores is well aware of the lawsuits against other quick-service-restaurant chains alleging that America's fat-fight is their fault. The biggies in the business have been introducing more low-fat, low-calorie burger-alternatives such as salads, jacking up the amount of white meat in breaded and fried boneless chicken morsels and so on.

At the same time Flores noticed that more of his customers have been asking that the rice and mac salad be left off of their plates.

Enter the "Hawaiian Atkins Plate."

"The way we took care of the problem was removing the rice and mac salad and substitute it with fried eggs," he said.

The regular Hawaiian Atkins Plate, above, includes two pieces of chicken, one piece of barbecue beef, a short-rib strip and two eggs.

Promoted as "low carbo, high fat and high protein," a mini plate comes with one piece of barbecue chicken or chicken katsu (which is breaded, hello), one piece of beef and one egg, served on a bed of cabbage and lettuce.

The regular has two pieces of chicken, one piece of barbecue beef, a short-rib strip and two eggs; the super mixed plate features three pieces of chicken, a choice of three pieces of other meats and three eggs.

"I told the staff right off the bat everything on the menu can be Atkins for 50 cents more to remove the rice and mac and replace it with eggs," said Flores.

It's enough to make a cardiologist start planning another luxury vehicle purchase.

Dr. Terry Shintani, author of several books and published scientific research papers on nutrition and health, takes issue with the no- or low-carb diet on many levels. He is the director of integrative medicine at the Waianae Coast Comprehensive Health Center.

Meatless, no-cholesterol, low-fat meals based on Shintani's work are offered at Zippy's.

"I wrote a whole book, 'The Good Carbohydrate Revolution' to clear up the misconceptions about carbohydrates and protein," he said. It was released on paperback in January.

If carbohydrates make people fat, "then (people in) the high-carbohydrate countries like China and Japan would be fat, but they're skinny. It doesn't square with reality." Japan has the highest longevity rate in the world, he said.

"They say it's insulin that makes you fat. Well, beef raises insulin 20-something times higher than oatmeal," and 27 times higher than pasta, he said.

People lose weight on the carb-restricted diets "because it's very difficult to tolerate eating just meat and vegetables so you wind up eating fewer calories," Shintani said.

Shintani's diet programs are not calorie-restricted. "They can eat as much as they want and they still lose weight."

The diet of ancient Hawaiians was more than 75 percent carbohydrate and they were tall and slender, Shintani said. As the higher-fat, higher-protein American diet was introduced obesity became a problem.

"Going from a high-animal product, high-fat diet onto the Hawaii Diet they all start losing weight and they're eating more carbs ... I want anybody to explain that to me," Shintani said.

Flores, who is skinny, believes the Hawaiian Atkins concept will be popular.

"It's funny. People are laughing because we're going to do it, but as far as I know ... we're the first quick service restaurant to introduce this," he said.

L&L will run new advertising and has made up shirts promoting the new high-pro plate lunches.

"The whole town is going to be laughing," Flores said.

See the Columnists section for some past articles.

Erika Engle is a reporter with the Star-Bulletin. Call 529-4302, fax 529-4750 or write to Erika Engle, Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 500 Ala Moana Blvd., No. 7-210, Honolulu, HI 96813. She can also be reached at:


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