The short name for the Atkins nutritional approach is the Atkins diet.
It’s a low carbs diet created by Robert Atkins. He had gained a lot of weight during his time in medical school. He also read about this diet in a medical journal he was reading.
Who would have known!
He perfected it and released it to the public.
Are All The Theories Wrong?
Atkins, in his Atkins Diet, believed prevailing theories about weight gain were all wrong. First, he dismissed the idea that saturated fats were bad. Instead, it was carbohydrates that led to the weight problems Americans and nearly all Westeners have. In fact, Atkins thought that the total focus on fats had made a problem much worse. He pointed to all the low-fat foods that were high in carbohydrates.
Dieters were being tricked into eating foods that would cause them to gain more weight. This all changes in the Atkins diet.
By cutting out carbohydrates, people would burn stored body fats. Lose the weight lose the fat. It’s not just a case of eating less. The diet would work because it burned excess calories. In fact, Atkins cited a study that claimed the body would burn an extra 950 calories on his diet. But later research and reviews of his studies found that his claims were false.
Carbohydrate is an important nutrient found in many foods. Carbohydrate containing foods include breads, breakfast cereal, rice, pasta, noodles, fruit, potato and starchy vegetables, corn, dried beans and lentils, sugar, milk and yogurt. Carbohydrate is an important source of energy for the body. Source: http://daa.asn.au/for-the-public/smart-eating-for-you/nutrition-a-z/carbohydrate/
Read this post here to find what I consider a better alternative with a very long history of success.
Dr Atkins also touted the positive influence this Atkins diet could have on people with type 2 diabetes. Being overweight is considered the major cause of type 2 diabetes.
So, in general, any diet that helps decrease weight will help address type 2 diabetes. But the Atkins diet is also low in carbohydrates, which must be avoided with type 2 diabetes regardless of caloric intake, so using this aspect of the diet Atkins claimed those who suffer type 2 diabetes would no longer need medication such as insulin.
But that’s counter to the prevailing medical theories regarding type 2 diabetes which, although recommending that lowered intake of carbohydrates and weight loss help manage diabetes, ascribe no causal relationship between carbohydrates and type 2 diabetes.
How It All Works
It follows four phases – induction, ongoing weight loss, ongoing-maintenance and lifetime maintenance.
Here are some more details of Induction you need to consider, there are the most crucial of the phases.
The Induction phase is the most difficult phase of the Atkins diet. Atkins is flexible as to the period but recommends two weeks. Carbohydrates are nearly removed entirely from the diet, only 15-20 grammes can be consumed each day. The lack of carbohydrates will prompt the body to convert fat into fatty acids for fuel a process known as ketosis. Weight loss during this phase can be extreme some Atkins followers reported losses of 5-10 pounds a week.
The other phases are used for determining the levels of carbohydrates ideal for losing weight and for maintaining a standard weight not gaining weight. Dr Atkins himself died of complications of increased fat intake in his diet, which is something to keep in mind when choosing this diet.
Atkins vs. South Beach Diet
While Atkins may be one of the more popular low carbohydrate diets, there are many others available to choose. The South Beach diet is also an attractive option people seem to want. Through comparisons, one can see several similarities with each of these two diets. However, while there are similarities, there are also differences.
By weighing a person’s options and being aware of what is available, a person can make a valid choice for which diet is best suited for them.
Both Atkins and South Beach start with an insufficient carbohydrate intake. This restricted intake can last a minimum of two weeks depending on the amount of weight a person needs to lose. Once the initial first stage is complete, the diets have a person introducing foods and more carbohydrates gradually until the person finds the level of carbohydrate intake and weight loss.
Furthermore, these two diets will allow a person to have quick weight loss at the beginning which will keep them motivated and move forward with the stages. There is also a discussion about good and bad carbohydrates. Each diet has their terms for these, but the theory is still the same about differentiating from good and bad, (carbohydrates that will dissolve in the body and carbohydrates that will turn into fat).
There are some differences between these two diets, however. The South Beach diet recommends that a person not eats certain fats. It is suggested that saturated fats, such as butter not be used while doing this diet. South Beach is also against Olive and Canola oils as they are high in monounsaturated fats.
Atkins however, suggests that a person gets a variety of fats into their system. Atkins regularly uses all types of oils and moreover will have ample amounts of butter in recipes. The Atkins recipe book even goes so far as to have a lobster in butter sauce recipe thus proving the extensive saturated fats ingested.
Beyond the food itself is different in some cases, the way the food is accounted for is also different with these two plans. The Atkins diet will count the number of grammes of carbohydrates per item that is digestible. In other words, any carbohydrate that is not directly linked to a fibre gets counted. South Beach, meanwhile, allows more starchy vegetables for one thing but counts the carbs based on the number and size of the portions a person eats.
While both diets will give results, they provide some differences in the way those results will come about. Atkins likes to count the grammes of carbohydrates within the food item itself, while South Beach will take it based on size and frequency. Each diet maintains a similar idea, however, and if someone is looking to go into a low-carbohydrate lifestyle, then either one of these diets will work. The only question will be which diet a person wishes to follow because these are only two of many low carbohydrate weight management plans in existence.
While the Atkins diet may give results, numerous controversies are surrounding it which leave people guessing about the safety of doing it. The controversies that the Atkins diet face vary from health scares to overall side effects that overall could impact others not even involved in the diet. Dr Atkins would defend his diet theories regularly, but even that was sometimes not enough.
Health Related Issues
Some health related issues could potentially be linked to the Atkins diet. Many people feel these are because of the strict guidelines that must be followed while doing the program. It has been claimed by many people in the medical field that because of the high proteins and low carbohydrates, the chances of a person developing a heart condition is increased.
Furthermore, and again this is due to the high levels of protein being ingested, but the chance of contracting gout is increased. Another controversy is the fact that the dieter is putting a great strain on their kidneys which could lead to prolonged kidney disease, once again, due to the levels of protein. While these potential ailments are rare, they do exist in people who have attempted the Atkins program, and as with most other diets, there is a valid explanation and potential solution as well.
Beyond the health aspects that could develop with a person trying to better themselves, there are also many minor side effects that can develop as well. During the first stage of Induction, when the body is going into a type of shock from lack of carbohydrates, several things can happen. Weakness, rashes, constipation and diarrhoea could occur during this stage. Even more so a person can suffer from muscle cramps as the body lacks some of the essential nutrition that it needs to function.
Living In A Fog
Many people have also claimed to be “living in a fog” for the first several days of the diet and quite often have a hard time functioning for those first few days. What makes things hard for other people is when the body of the dieter goes into a state of ketosis. This is when the body is officially burning the fat within as opposed to burning the carbohydrates ingested. When a person is in ketosis, they can experience severely bad breath. This is by no fault of their own but can be quite unpleasant for those around them.
While vitamins are a recommended supplement for those doing the Atkins diet, they still do not compensate for everything that could occur during this diet. It is to be understood, however, that the cases where something severe happened, that they were rare. As with all diets or changes in lifestyle, there are some health risks involved.
One of the best things that a person can do is to be aware of these risks. When a person is aware of their own body and the symptoms that can occur, they can also decide to stop the diet or seek medical attention.
More On Atkins
Disclaimer: Here at Essential Sugar we are not medical doctors, and as such, you should consult your medical professional before undertaking any lifestyle changes including diet.