Last week in this space, I regaled you with tales of my resistance to joining things such as clubs, associations and even sports teams. The lone exceptions to that steadfast anti-joining rule would be water pipes and floor boards during my futile efforts in that stress arena known as home improvement.

I'm also not a fan of joining diet fads either.

During my childhood, I watched as my father experimented with an assortment of diets, including one that required drinking nearly the equivalent of Lake Michigan in fluids, one where your center-of-the-plate entrée was a grapefruit, another which had you eating green vegetables on alternate days and yellow ones on the weekends; one with fish, another with chicken and so on.

Well, you kinda get the idea.

In 1972, he also tried something called the Atkins Diet, a high-protein, low-carb overload that not only was of no use in helping him shed pounds, but also put him in an irascible mood about 95 percent of the time. How grouchy? He once threw his watch at me when I had the temerity to ask him the time.

As an Italian-American, I always felt it was somewhat treasonous to restrict yourself to a diet that excluded carbohydrates in any form. This is coming from someone who used to order bread pudding just for the name.

I prefer to subscribe to the radical theory that if you diligently exercised at least three times per week and were at least reasonable in your food intake, then the weight would take care of itself.

But who knew the Atkins Diet would explode the way it has recently after lying semi-dormant all those years?

Krispy Kreme is asking the same question.

The North Carolina-based doughnut chain, which has, over recent years, morphed from a local cult favorite to a national phenomenon, has fallen on -- if you'll pardon the pun - stale times.

Its stock has fallen 80 percent since a high of $49.37 in August, 2003 to its present level of roughly $10. It posted a $3 million loss for its most recent third quarter, versus a year-ago profit of $14.5 million. Same-store sales, usually an accurate barometer of the health of a business, are down 6.4 percent -- the company's first-ever decline. And the Securities and Exchange Commission is investigating its repurchase of several franchisees.

And just last week the chain failed to meet the mandatory 40-day period after the end of a quarter to file its 10-Q report with the SEC. So in technical terms, it was not regulatory-compliant.

Krispy Kreme spokespeople have, at times, cited a number of factors contributing to the chain's fall from grace, including my favorite, the "proliferation of low-carb diets."

Now, I've been covering business and industry for a fair amount of time and have heard virtually every phrase of corporate-speak to explain away a company's malaise.

But somehow I think that the Atkins Diet became a convenient whipping boy for a chain in serious trouble.

Yeah, no doubt low-carb mania probably cost them some sales, but if you look at the chain's unbridled growth over the past decade, unit saturation and faulty internal controls during that period are probably a far larger problem than Americans ordering hamburgers without the buns.

The fact that the late Dr. Atkins reportedly weighed 280 pounds when he died, to me more or less speaks volumes about the long-term effectiveness of his diet.

Krispy Kreme no doubt probably realizes that diets, like sound bites, are temporary fixes to problems that require far longer attention.

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