Nutrition Information

DIET REVIEW - ATKINS DIET

A diet review by Auraion Rasmussen



Unlike a strict diet, the stated aims of the Atkins Nutritional Approach TM is a lifetime nutritional philosophy focussing on the consumption of nutrient-dense, unprocessed foods such as meat, fish, and poultry. It also focusses on the restriction of processed and refined carbohydrates such as bread, pasta, sugar rich foods, cereal, and starchy vegetables. Core vitanutrient supplementation includes a full-spectrum multivitamin and an essential oils/fatty acid formula. This nutritional philosophy has been embraced by an estimated 20 million people worldwide since the release of Dr. Atkins’ Diet Revolution in the 1970s.

As stated by the Atkins diet, four core principles are used to help individuals achieve their health goals.

1: Weight Loss
You will lose weight. It’s hard not to. Both men and women who follow the Atkins approach to weight loss readily take off pounds and inches. For the small numbers who have a truly hard-core metabolic resistance to weight loss, there are ways to overcome the barriers that prevent a successful outcome. Optimizing body weight is a valuable element of any health-oriented program because, by and large, being significantly overweight is an indicator of health problems, either now or in the future. When you've pared pounds, you'll see benefits flow in to take their place—and they'll be more than merely cosmetic.

2: Maintenance
You will maintain your weight loss. This is where the Atkins Nutritional ApproachTM leaves most other weight-control programs in the dust. Almost every experienced dieter has embarked on a weight-loss program, worked hard at it, lost a lot of pounds and gained them all back in a few months or perhaps a year. This is usually due to the expected consequence of low-fat, low-calorie diets: hunger. Although many people can tolerate hunger for a while, very few can tolerate it for a lifetime. Deprivation is no fun. Once the biological gap between hunger and fulfillment grows too large, the rebound can be rapid, as well as heartbreaking and humiliating. But that’s the problem with diets that restrict quantities. The Atkins program refuses to accept hunger as a way of life. People who do Atkins gradually find their effective individual level of carbohydrate intake, the tool that allows them to maintain a healthy weight for a lifetime.

3: Better Health
You will achieve good health. The change is amazing. With Atkins, you meet your nutritional needs by eating healthy, wholesome foods and omitting junk food. As a result, fatigue drops from your shoulders like a heavy winter coat you mistakenly wore in summer. This occurs not merely because the pounds drop off, but because the physical consequences of a truly dysfunctional blood-sugar and insulin metabolism are reversed. People who do Atkins start feeling good long before they reach their goal weight. Once they abandon the catastrophic American diet of refined carbohydrates for whole, unrefined food, they start to live again.

4: Disease Prevention
You will lay the permanent groundwork for disease prevention. You will change your life, which—believe it or not—is even more important than looking good on the beach next summer. By following an individualized controlled carbohydrate nutritional approach that results in lower insulin production, people at high risk for chronic illnesses such as cardiovascular disease, hypertension and diabetes will see a marked improvement in their clinical parameters.

The foundation of the Atkins philosophy is a four-phase eating plan in conjunction with vitamin and mineral supplementation and regular exercise. The Atkins diets phases are:

Phase 1: Induction
Restrict carbohydrate consumption to 20 grams each day, obtaining carbohydrate primarily from salad and other non-starchy vegetables.

Phase 2: Ongoing Weight Loss
Add carbohydrate, in the form of nutrient-dense and fiber-rich foods, by increasing to 25 grams daily the first week, 30 grams daily the next week and so on until weight loss stops. Then subtract 5 grams of carbohydrate from your daily intake so that you continue sustained, moderate weight loss.

Phase 3: Pre-Maintenance
Make the transition from weight loss to weight maintenance by increasing the daily carbohydrate intake in 10-gram increments each week so long as very gradual weight loss is maintained.


Phase 4: Lifetime Maintenance
Select from a wide variety of foods while controlling carbohydrate intake to ensure weight maintenance and a sense of well-being. This lifestyle is the foundation for a lifetime of better health.

BENEFITS
- There is no need to cut out the food you like best like meat, cream, cheese and other high fat foods.
- You can eat as much as you like of the permitted foods.
- There is greater variety on the Atkins Diet than on low calorie diets so the risk of cheating is small.
- Not all carbohydrates count in the total allowance. Those rich in dietary fibre can be eaten more freely because fibre is not digested. This allows even more latitude in food eaten.
- It is argued that a low carbohydrate diet is more natural for the human body because grains in the form of wheat, rice, etc, only became a regular part of our diet 10,000 years ago so our bodies have not had time to evolve to cope with them satisfactorily.
- Some reseach indicates that people with type 2 diabetes have better insulin function and better blood sugar control on a low carbohydrate diet.

DISADVANTAGES
- Although a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine is sometimes cited as providing evidence that the Atkins Diet works, in fact its conclusion is that although more weight was lost at the end of 6 months on the Atkins Diet than on a low calorie diet, after one year, the difference was insignificant.
- The same study found that both types of diet, Atkins and low calorie, had a large drop out rate so it seems the apparent choice of food on the Atkins Diet is not a sufficient inducement to keep people on it.
- The metabolic processes involved in using fat for energy instead of carbohydrates can lead to increased uric acid and ketones which can cause kidney problems, gout and headaches.
- There can be low amounts of dietary fibre on the Atkins Diet leading to constipation and chronic bowel disease.
- Some experts believe that the high amounts of animal fat eaten on the Atkins Diet can have a bad effect on cholesterol levels and can lead to cardiac disease.
- There is some argument that a reduction in carbohydrates automatically leads to a reduction in calories because many high fat foods are unpalatable in large quantities without carbohydrates. For example, many people would not want to eat an egg without bread either fresh or toasted, or a burger without the bun or at least potatoes.
- The Atkins diet doesn't conform to the American Heart Association's dietary guidelines for a healthy heart.

 

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