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Atkins or Fadkins?


Karen E. Bledsoe
Biology Department
Western Oregon University


When Mitchell reveals that he is going on a low-carb diet, Janine tries to talk him out of it, telling him that he’s too thin as it is and doesn’t need to loose any weight. Designed to accompany a nonmajors unit on human anatomy and physiology, this interrupted case study has students applying what they learn about human body systems to Mitchell’s fad diet claims and Janine’s sharp criticisms. Supplementary links help students explore new discoveries about appetite-controlling hormones, how body image may influence people’s dietary decisions, and some of the most common diet myths.


  • To properly define “energy” in a physiological sense.
  • To understand the relationship between calories consumed, calories expended, and weight management.
  • To critically analyze health claims using support from scientific sources.
  • To understand how different body systems contribute to homeostasis, particularly endocrine control of homeostasis of appetite, body weight, and blood sugar.
  • To develop empathy for people with weight management difficulties.


Diet; weight; body systems; body image; macronutrients; protein; carbohydrate; fat; calorie; Atkin's diet; energy; metabolism; hormone; homeostasis

Topical Areas

Scientific argumentation, Scientific method, Social issues

Educational Level

High school, Undergraduate lower division



Type / Methods




Subject Headings

Biology (General)  |   Physiology  |   Nutrition  |  

Date Posted


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Barbara J. Abraham
Biological Sciences
Hampton University
Hampton, Va
I just used “Atkins or Fadkins” for the first time and thought it went pretty well. My husband the physiologist, however, had two quibbles. He says: (1) calories measure heat, not energy, and (2) some energy drinks do their thing with a jolt of caffeine, not sugar, so they may have no calories.

Domenica Devine
Life Sciences
Allan Hancock College
Santa Maria
Teaching Bio 100 via Zoom. Just used this to supplement the biomolecule chapter. I used this as a lab exercise. First section, I did interrupted case, breaking them into breakout rooms, checking in and then bringing back in at end of each section. When I asked what would make it better, they suggested not bringing back. So, second section, I did that. Breakout rooms, I dropped in periodically to assist, they called me in as needed. Brought them in at the 2.5 hour mark. Went over all the questions, clarifying and adding info as needed. The whole thing took 3 hours. The students loved it! They were all happy with the searching for info, and being the experts in the room. Thank you for this wonderful addition to my class. The usual biomolecule lab is a bust online.