NBC Evening News for Monday, Oct 17, 1977
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(Studio) Liquid protein diets can be helpful if used properly, but can cause sickness, even death, if used improperly.
REPORTER: John Chancellor
(NYC) Susan Lloyd is one of those on diet; she drinks protein solution few times daily. Susan buys solution without prescription. [LLOYD - cites why she likes diet.] One woman died while on diet; has been learned there have been several deaths and serious illnesses associated with diet. Dr. George Blackburn of Harvard Med. School devised basic idea of diet. Because some use it without doctor's supervision, Blackburn is concerned. [BLACKBURN - thinks risk not worth any benefit if diet used with wrong person and without supervision.] He works with small group of patients in experimental program in Boston; details of diet noted. Diet might still be experiment, but osteopath, Dr. Robert Linn, authored book called "The Last Chance Diet", which is basically same diet as Blackburn's. Book has sold 2 million copies; does say one should see doctor before dieting, but gives instructions for doing it alone. [LINN - doesn't know how many people use diet without physician's care. Doesn't have any connection with that or get involved in it. Isn't sure any deaths can be blamed on diet.] Blackburn and others are concerned that book is encouraging people to go on program without supervision. [BLACKBURN - urged Linn not to publish book, but got no reply.] Linn was mkting. own protein formula, Prolinn, when book written; has since turned interest in Prolinn over to tax-exempt fndtn., which he heads. Process of making liquid protein cited. Nathan Sklar is largest producer of liquid protein. [SKLAR - thinks liquid protein came on market so fast, government didn't have chance to know what was happening.] Labels of Sklar's product don't say it's to help lose weight; if they did, FDA (Food and Drug Administration) could ban it as health hazard. For now, FDA (Food and Drug Administration) conts. investigation. [FDA (Food and Drug Administration) spokesperson John WALDEN - notes investigations into practice of many labels for one product, and that FDA (Food and Drug Administration) feels diet is dangerous and should've used only under dr.'s supervision.] [SKLAR - knows people don't buy product as food supplement, but to lose weight. Says it's same as someone taking excessive drug dose to commit suicide; we can t stop them.]
REPORTER: Robert Bazell
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