When the Atkins diet came into the public eye, it changed the way many people thought of dieting.
Initially, people would diet by cutting out calories, limiting the number of fat grammes they ingested, or just increasing the amount of exercise they get on a daily basis. While all of these will work to an extent and people will see results, the Atkins diet showed a new way to diet – cutting carbohydrates.
A carbohydrate is what gives the body its primary fuel to run on a daily basis. Dr Atkins wanted to find a way to make people healthy, while also teaching them how to eat properly.
A carbohydrate can come in two forms. A simple carbohydrate is something like glucose, or sugar, which flows within the bloodstream and provides energy to every cell in the body. While these should be limited in the amount ingested by a person, they are not as important or dangerous as the complex carbohydrates.
Complex carbohydrates are more commonly known as starches. These are found in foods such as rice, bread, and pasta. Complex carbohydrates take a much longer time to break down in the body than simple carbohydrates. If someone does not burn off the carbs they have ingested, they will turn to fat within the body. Therefore, in theory, drinking a can of soda which has simple carbohydrates will be broken down by the body much faster than a baked potato which is a complex carbohydrate.
Switching What The Body Burns For Fuel
Dr Atkins realised that when the body is starved of carbohydrates, which are the first things to be used for energy, it will turn to other areas to fuel itself. The next best things for the body to use as fuel are proteins and fats.
If a person is over weight, they obviously have a great deal of excess fat and thus can provide the body with a great deal of fuel to burn while being neglected of its primary carbohydrate fuel.
Add to this the increased intake of proteins such as beef, chicken, fish and cheeses and a person will find their body switching over how it runs. By limiting the number of carbohydrates, the body has it will force the body to use persons own fat as the primary energy source. In turn, by burning parts of itself, (the fat), a body will continue to perform.
When doing a low carbohydrate diet, a person will cut almost all carbohydrates they ingest. They cut things like bread, pasta and rice, but can eat unlimited amounts of proteins and cheeses.
One thing people who do low carbohydrate diets need to be aware of is that they must remain active. When first starting a low carb lifestyle the weight loss will be rapid. As this occurs, the body will at first start by burning off excess water in the body and even more importantly, muscle tissue. Maintaining activity, as well as staying well hydrated with water and multi-vitamins will assist in a healthier weight loss with this life.
Myths About Atkins
Many myths are involved with the Atkins diet plan. Throughout the creation of this weight loss program, many theories have been created to discredit the effects of this and other low carbohydrate diets. While most of these are just theories, some do have justification and cause for concern. Whether it is the fear of kidney problems and heart disease, or just the outlandish stories of how Dr Robert Atkins died the myths surrounding this diet are ever present.
Below there will be several myths explored with the explanations given for them.
It is believed that a low carbohydrate diet will not allow a person to eat fruits or vegetables. Obviously, since this is at the top of the list, it is not true. In fact, many nonstarchy vegetables make up the regular intake during this diet. Furthermore, as someone on this diet continues through the stages, more fruits and vegetables are introduced and allowed.
Is It Really Low In Fibre?
Aside from the supposed restriction on fresh fruit and vegetables, it is also perceived that a low carbohydrate diet is low in fibre. This is quite the opposite as many low carbohydrate foods are quite high in fibre. When counting carbs with Atkins, a person will take the total carb count for an item and subtract the amount of fibre in their final total thus showing the importance of fibre to the diet.
Can You Get Heart Disease or Kidney Problems Doing This Diet
Two major health issues are also believed correct with the Atkins diet. Heart disease and Kidney problems are thought to be more common in those practising this diet. Once again, this is not the case. Tests have been done to prove that blood pressure and other factors causing heart problems become lower while on a diet. Kidneys are thought to suffer from the high level of proteins that are ingested. But, while the protein levels are increased, there is no proven danger to the kidneys.
Once more, by taking the recommended multi-vitamins, the kidneys could become cleaner on this diet. Side effects do occur but are not fatal.
The Real Story About His Death
The last myth that has plagued the Atkins program since his death was that of how Dr Robert Atkins himself passed away. Many people believe that Dr Atkins was obese and died from many of the above-listed complications.
Thankfully this too is just a myth.
In reality, Dr Atkins passed away after falling outside of his clinic in New York and hitting his head. The brain damage was substantial, and after spending some time in hospital on life support, he passed away bloated from water retention.
Everything has myths associated with it. What someone chooses to believe and what is the reality could be quite different. For someone to judge a diet or even the person who created it based on hearsay is unfair. If a person wants to get involved with something of this nature, they must be sure to do the proper research before getting started. This way when somebody begins to list the myths, they can quickly be corrected.
More On Atkins
- Understanding the Atkins Diet
- The Induction Phase Of The Atkins Diet
- How Long Should You Stay On The Atkins Diet