Atkins Diet – What Is The Atkins Diet And What Are The Benefits And Pitfalls?
What is the Atkins diet and what are its benefits and its dangers? The Atkins diet was started by none other than Dr. Robert C. Atkins back in 1972 with the advent of his revolutionary book entitled, Dr. Atkins Diet Revolution.
This book served as the springboard for what eventually became a weight-loss empire centered on a high-protein, high-fat, low-carbohydrate diet. And although some of his concepts have weathered well, others have not and may need to be avoided.
What does the Atkins diet entail?
On a general level, the Atkins diet promises weight loss, lower incidence of cardiovascular troubles, whether that be elevated blood pressure or heart attack, and diabetes prevention. Essentially, the premise of the diet revolves around the fact that overweight people generally eat more carbohydrates than needed, and since carbohydrates are first in lineâ in the metabolic continuum, the fat stores are never tapped into in order to provide energy.
And to make matters worse, those that eat too many carbohydrates end up having some leftover even after everything has been replenished and this carbohydrate surplus can only be stored as fat. So, by drastically reducing the consumption of carbohydrates and increasing the consumption of protein and fat, the body begins to shift gears toward body fat in order to fuel the body.
How exactly does the Atkins diet work? Rule one would be to restrict the kinds of food but not the amount of food. This means excising white flour, milk, white rice, and refined sugar from the diet.
Most of the calories consist of pure protein and animal fat, so red meat, fish, cheese, and fowl are all permitted. The first two weeks are the most restrictive, not calorically restrictive but in regards to food choice. One can only consume 20 grams of net carbs a day during the first two weeks.
This period supposedly helps jumpstart the metabolism, but once this inception period is over one can begin incorporating more fruits and vegetables into the diet, but still no refined sugar and flour. Eventually, once one is satisfied with their weight loss, you can begin adding acceptable carbohydrates back into the diet as long as no weight is gained in the process. One this balance is achieved, you have reached your caloric maintenance level.
Now, there seems to be more and more evidence stacking up against the Atkins model. Is it validated? Yes. While there are some wonderful concepts contained within the Atkins diet model, such as insulin control via reduced carbohydrate consumption and reduced cholesterol levels and whatnot, there are some concepts that appear to be a bit reckless knowing what we know now.
Some doctors are inclined to believe that while Atkins can help people lose weight and lower triglycerides and cholesterol levels, that Atkins could also trigger various forms of cancer, heart disease, stroke, and possibly even a loss in bone density due to the large quantities of animal fat and protein that the diet demands.
Furthermore, since protein is harder to digest, one’s kidneys and liver will possibly become damaged or even fail altogether since protein is the largest source of calories in the diet. Other Atkins detractors claim that since grains, fruits, and vegetables are easier to digest, they need to be included more than what the Atkins model allows.
However, more research will need to be conducted to accurately assess how beneficial or how detrimental the diet really is. Currently, doctors are drawing lines for battle and taking sides in this low carb debate.