What Is The Atkins Diet
The Atkins Nutritional Approach, known colloquially as the Atkins diet, is a specialty diet made popular by many Hollywood celebrities. The program is named eponymously after the doctor who created it. The diet is based around an exceptionally low carbohydrate intake.
According to proponents of the diet, the chief benefit of the Atkins program is quick and healthy weight loss. However, there are many other health benefits alleged as well. For instance, most of the members of the Center for Complementary Medicine in New York claim to use the Atkins diet for purposes of wellness as well as the prevention of disease.
Below we will discuss the pros and cons of the Atkins diet.
The Theory of the Atkins Diet
The Atkins diet is based on the theory that obesity comes chiefly from high carbohydrate intake. Although the body has the ability to use both carbohydrates and fat for energy, it uses carbohydrates first. This means that a person taking in too many carbs will never allow the body to access and use up its storage of fat.
By cutting back on carbs and taking in more protein and fat, the Atkins diet purports to turn the body into a fat burning machine that will burn fat efficiently and help in weight loss efforts.
Eating more protein, according to the theory of the diet, also helps cut back on appetite. As a person eats less overall, the weight loss will increase.
– Burning Fat (Ketosis)
The body is said to enter a state known as “ketosis” when it begins to burn its own fat for fuel. The word comes from the carbon fragments that are created by the body as it breaks down its stores of fat to use for energy – these fragments are known as “ketones.”
It has been proven that appetite is suppressed when the body is in a state of ketosis, so this claim by the proponents of the Atkins diet seems to hold water.
– What Happens When the Body Takes in Too Many Carbs
Carbohydrates enter the body and are metabolized very quickly when compared to other types of sugar. Diets that are high in carbs quickly fill the storage capacity of the muscles and the liver to hold sugar. The excess sugar is converted to fat. Also, the insulin that the body secretes in order to maintain a proper blood sugar level may eventually begin to work against the body and cause diabetes if a diet is too high in carbs.
– Do Atkins Dieters Need to Exercise as Well?
Although exercise is not a required part of the Atkins diet, some proponents maintain that certain people may need to exercise in tandem with the diet in order to induce ketosis in the body. Individuals on the diet are also urged to supplement their food intake with vitamins to compensate for the vitamins and minerals that will be lost from eating less fruits and vegetables.
– Restricted Foods
Atkins dieters are not allowed to eat refined sugar, white rick, flour or milk. Fruits and vegetables are only allowed after a two week induction period so that the body gets used to the state of ketosis. However, unlike most diets, Atkins allows red meat, eggs, cheese and does not require dieters to skip dessert!
Advantages and Disadvantages of the Atkins Diet
1. The Atkins diet claims to be able to restore an unstable metabolic function in a person to normal levels. Because the body is burning fat instead of carbs for energy, the body does not need to secrete as much insulin in order to convert the store. Less insulin means a more stable blood sugar level which will lead to a stable metabolic level in the body.
However, this claim is disputed by many doctors who say that normal metabolic activity of the body is contingent upon a minimum of carbs in the diet, not by reducing them.
2. The Atkins diet claims to provide health benefits from steering dieters away from processed foods that provide no nutritional value and increase appetite. Although there is no debate about the negative effects of processed sugar on the body, some of the claims of increased health from less fruit and vegetable intake are questioned by researchers.
These researchers say that the genetically modified fruits and vegetables that many people eat is the cause of health problems in certain people. In the initial stages of the Atkins diet when fruits and vegetables are restricted, the body is actually responding positively to less GMO intake, say these researchers.
3. Many researchers also refute the claim that carbohydrates are the main cause of weight gain in obese people. They claim that high carb intake corresponds with high calorie intake in general and that the true benefit of the Atkins diet is less caloric intake rather than less carbs.