Thursday, February 01, 2007

Atkins Diet Review

Atkins diet was the first scientifically supported diet plan to adopt low carb food as its technique for losing weight. It has created a buzz about it , equal to or increasing the demand of the diet itself.
You have heard that starting your first day with Atkins diet with eggs and bacon, snacks on
chunks of cheese, top coffee with cream, a luxury not found on the low fat diet for example,
yet you should give up other delicious varieties that contains carbohydrates like cake, biscuits,
chocolate, pasta, rice, potatoes, crisps, even fruits and some veg in the primary stages.
Atkins diet has been tried by millions of people and has generated a non-stop debate that consumed calories that may be even more than calories lost by using the diet itself.

The Theory behind Atkins Diet :
Atkins diet is a high protein, low carbohydrate diet designed by the late Dr. R.Atkins. It is based on what is known in physiology as KETOSIS, that is, when you cut out carbohydrates, you direct the body to regulate the blood glucose ( the glucose store of the brain ), thus your body pours glucose into the blood to keep its concentration in a steady state. The body forms this glucose from amino acids and glycerol split from the broken down proteins and fats respectively.

The fatty acids split from fats are utilized for energy production, and they produce much higher amounts of calories than glucose. The whole process is hormones regulated and there is no
shortage of calories, consequently you do not need to fill in the spaces and eat extra amounts
of foods that are not needed and only determined by your appetite.

The Plan of Atkins Diet :
We can arbitrarily divide Atkins diet plan into 2 big stages which are subdivided into 2 phases
The first stage is concerned with teaching and training your body to endowingly generate its
needed glucose in a regular controlled pattern that keeps it in a steady concentration. This
stage involves 2 phases:

1-Induction (20 g/day Carbohydrate Intake) :
It lasts for at least 2 weeks although it can be continued for much longer if you can bear.
This is the stage of changing your nutritional habits largely, so you should avoid carb rich foods
as : biscuits-cakes-chocolate-crisps-fizzy drinks-croissants-pastry, and ditch : bread-potatoes-rice-pasta-milk-fruits and most vegs from menu, so that your carb intake is limited to 20 g/day.
( most of us eat around 250g/day ). In the same time you can eat unlimited amounts of red meat, fish, chicken, cheese, eggs,mayonnaise, cream and butter.

2-Ongoing Weight Loss ( 25-50 g/day Carbohydrates ) :
During this phase you take the amount of carbohydrates that allows you to lose between 1-3
lb / week, so you are allowed to increase your carb intake by 5 g / day for a week at a time,
until you find your critical carbohydrate level for losing weight.
You are allowed introduce a few more veggies, fruits , nuts . and seeds. Bread , potatoes , rice
pasta and breakfast cereals are still off the list.

* The second stage of Atkins diet is concerned with preparing your body for the new lifestyle
and is subdivided into 2 phases:
3- Premaintenance phase (Increase carb intake by 10 g/day for a week at atime) :
It begins when you have 5-10 lb left to lose, it prepares your body for the final maintenance phase. The idea is to slow down your weight loss to no more than 1 lb a week in an effort to prepare your body for the final phase , weight maintenance.
By now , you can start to include tiny amounts of starchy foods such as porridge, bread and
pasta, you can eat 40 g cooked brown rice or 30 g cooked pasta.

4- Life Maintenance Phase ( Less than 90 g/day carb for most people ) :
This is the final stage. It aims at helping you maintain your weight. You can increase carb intake to no more than 90 g / day ( around one third the rest of us eat daily).

The Result of Atkins Diet :
Dr. Atkins claims you can expect to lose 6-10 lb in the first 2 weeks of induction, which should slow down to 1-3 lb a week once you enter the Ongoing weight loss phase.

Advantages of Atkins Diet :
1- The main advantage of Atkins diet is that people can lose considerable amounts of weight, quite quickly and this can be very motivating to continue a weight loss plan.
2- Atkins diet offers people many foods that are liked by many people such as red meat, high fat butter, cream , cheese and mayonaise, consequently this is attractive to people who are
reluctant to start a weight loss plan. In fact, Atkins diet is one of the best choices to start
weight loss.
3- Atkins diet focuses on digestible carbohydrates ( equivalent to the carb content present in the label on food packaging). These carbohydrates are of high glycemic index and high glycemic load which have negative impact on our health.
If Atkins diet is modulated to contain high fiber content fruits and vegs, it would be a good choice for cutting down carb intake.

Disadvantages of Atkins Diet :
1- Many low-carb diets are expensive, and many of them lack other nutrients your body needs.
They are also often higher in fat and/or calories than the standard product.
Many of them are less suitable option if you try another plan like counting calories.
2- Some unpleasant Side Effects may accompany Atkins diet like tiredness, weakness, dizziness, insomnia, and nausea. Lack of high fiber content also may lead to constipation.
3- Long term impact of Atkins diet on health :
Although there are no documented clinical findings, yet many experts enumerate some draw-backs which they see are seriously dagerous , these are :

- High intake of fats particularly the saturates may increase the risk of heart diseases.
- The unbalanced nature of Atkins diet may lead to nutritional deficincies which can cause
health problems in later life like:
* Poor intake of Calcium present in dairy products, fruits and vegs, may increase the risk of
* Poor intake of antioxidants found in fruits and vegs have been linked to a host of health problems like heart diseases, cancer, pre-mature aging and cataracts.
* High intake of protein may cause kidney problems or weak bones.

4- Many foods are banned , the diet can get very boring with the result that many people
give up after a short period.
5- Many experts , believe that Atkins diet fails to teach people about the basic principles of a balanced, healthy diet, which science proves - every day - can help us keep healthy.
6- Atkins diet is unsuitable for vegetarians who cannot ban nuts, seeds , beans and mant veggies in the early stages.
7- Atkins diet lack essential sugars.
8- Atkins diet recommendations are sometimes hard to follow, for example, Dr.Atkins suggest that you can eat unlimited amounts of calorie packed butter, mayo and cream, and these foods are typically served with others that are banned , e.g.
- Butter is traditionally spread on bread or served with potatoes and both are off limits, leaving few choices for eating more butter.

Finally to be fair with Atkins diet, one can see that it is a good choice to start a weight loss
plan with, then you can shift to counting calories, and I have a a personal experience about cutting carbohydrates and counting calories away from Atkins diet, I may tell that story
one day.

1 comment:

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