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Atkins Diet Pros And Cons

What Is The Atkins Diet

PROS AND CONS OF THE ATKINS DIET food nutrition health

The Atkins diet is a widely recognized low-carb diet plan. The current program allows you to choose from different eating styles based on your weight loss or health goals. For example, Atkins 20 and Atkins 40 are described as keto diets by the company.

According to the company, an average person can expect to lose 1 to 2 pounds per week on the plan. People who are already at a healthy body size might use the Atkins program to maintain their weight. The 2021 U.S. News and World Report Best Diets ranks the Atkins diet number 33 in Best Diets Overall and gives it an overall score of 2.1/5.

Risks And Side Effects

Why Atkins diet is bad for you, according to some skeptics?

Although the Atkins diet does tend to produce substantial weight loss , there isnt necessarily a one-size-fits-all approach to low-carb dieting that is going to work best for everyone to improve health or quality of life. Losing weight isnt everything, after all. Your diet also has to be sustainable and actually beneficial for both your body and mind. Research suggests that if someone feels too restricted by his or her diet, that person is prone to gaining the weight back and possibly even more than was lost in the first place.

Depending on factors like your medical history, age, gender, level of activity, bodyweight and genetic disposition, you may find the Atkins diet to either be very accommodating and rewarding or difficult to follow long term. Some studies have found that dieters on even very low-carb plans report less fatigue, cognitive symptoms, physical effects of hunger, insomnia and stomach problems compared to dieters on low-fat/higher-carb plans. On the other hand, side effects are also possible when low-carb dieting. There seems to be a lot of variability when it comes to effects of the Atkins diet, ketogenic diet, etc.

The Atkins diet may cause possible side effects or worsened symptoms in some people, including:

  • Fatigue or lethargy
  • Digestive problems, such as constipation
  • Indigestion due to eating too much fat
  • Irritability or mood swings

Breaking Down The Keto Diet

The keto diet is all about cutting carbs and eating more fat. Heres what the daily breakdown of carbs, protein and fat looks like:

  • 5 percent of calories from carbohydrates, including low-carb, non-starchy vegetables and small amounts of leafy greens. The keto diet excludes carb-rich foods like grains, beans, fruits and starchy vegetables.
  • 20 percent of calories from protein, such as meat, eggs and cheese.
  • 75 percent of calories from fat, such as oils, unprocessed nuts, butter and avocado.

According to Dietitian Richelle Gomez, MS, RDN, LDN, Northwestern Medicine McHenry Hospital, the ketogenic diet is designed to burn fat by cutting carbs. Your body turns carbohydrates into glucose for energy, she explains. When you cut carbs from your diet, you switch to burning fatty acids, or ketones.

Breaking down fats for energy is called ketosis. It takes about three weeks of carbohydrate elimination for your body to transition into ketosis.

Here are the pros and cons of the keto diet.

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Modified Atkins Modified Keto Diet

A modified Atkins diet requires eating 10 percent of calories from carbohydrates, 30 percent from protein, and 60 percent from fat. Research on this diet is on its effectiveness in treating epilepsy, but some people are moving toward this more moderate approach for weight loss. Keto means that youre in ketosis. For many people 10 percent carbs wont allow them to be in that metabolic state, and this is more of a low-carb diet for them. For some it will, says Ginger Hultin, RD, spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and owner of ChampagneNutrition, who is based in Seattle. If your goal is to get into ketosis, you should be working with a registered dietitian to make sure youre eating the right ratio of macronutrients to get there, or monitoring your blood ketones.RELATED: Whats the Difference Between Keto and Atkins?

Better Weight Loss Alternatives

The Atkins Diet for beginners. In this post I go over what the Atkins ...

Simply by reducing carbohydrates especially from added sugar, refined grains and legumes, or dairy if difficult for you to digest you can substantially improve your weight and health. This is a similar approach to the ketogenic diet and the Paleo diet, although its not necessarily the best idea to completely eliminate whole foods like raw dairy or legumes if you tolerate them well. To prevent overeating, cravings or blood sugar swings, it also helps to increase calories from healthy fats and quality proteins, including grass-fed meat, pasture-raised poultry, wild fish or raw dairy.

While everyone is a bit different, if weight loss is your goal, experiment with keeping calories from unprocessed carbohydrates to about 30 percent of your overall diet. You may want to increase fat intake to about 30 percent to 40 percent of calories and protein to around 30 percent. With this approach, you can lose weight effortlessly, feel better overall and prevent the weight from simply coming back.

To follow a low-carb diet in a healthy way, here are tips to help you get started and stay committed:

Atkins vs. Keto:

Very low-carb diets, including the ketogenic diets, have well-documented health benefits, including helping treat epilepsy, obesity, potentially cancer, and risk factors for diabetes or metabolic syndrome. The Atkins diet may have similar effects when done properly and in a healthy way.

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Phase Three Fine Tuning

As you close in on your target weight, you add more carbs to your diet until your weight loss slows down and you reach your weight loss goal. Most dieters report a carb intake of around 50-80 grams of carbs per day. The emphasis is on healthy carbs like whole grains and starchy vegetables rather than processed foods and sugar.

In this phase, you can eat more:

Scientific Analysis Of The Atkins Diet

A 2014 meta Analysisdiscussed in detail how Atkins Diet leads to more weight loss.

The main reason it became popular is because there is no limit on fat and protein consumption. The simple science behind this is if a shortage of carbs is created inside the body, the body burns stored fat for energy. Hence, causing weight loss in the process. The focus is on choosing the right kinds of food rather than limiting your calorie intake.

Many different studies have been conducted comparing it to a low-fat or calorie restricting diet and several of them have indicated that a low-carb diet may be more efficient in weight loss. However, this as not be proven with 100% certainty and many health practitioners believe that cutting carbs is not necessarily more beneficial than controlling overall calories in the long term. Which diet works for you will depend ultimately on what you can sustain over the long term while maintaining good health.

To understand the principle behind this diet, it is important to understand how our body stores and uses carbohydrates as a source of energy. Carbs, Proteins and Fats are the three essential energy sources for the body. Carbohydrates contain sugars, starches and fiber and are found in grains, vegetables, milk and fruits.

As our body first turns to carbs as the main energy source, limiting the intake of carbs requires the body to start burning fat stores for its energy needs. Hence leads to faster weight loss.

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List Of Cons Of Atkins Diet

1. Might Result in Weight Gain in OthersAs said before, the Atkins Diet relies heavily on your metabolism to do its job. If the eating plan does not work well with you it may unfortunately result in weight gain since your consuming mostly fatty foods. Consult your physician before you consider going on the Atkins Diet to find out if your body will properly adapt to this eating plan.

2. May Take a While to Get Used toIt may be difficult to do away with all the carbs especially during the first few weeks on the diet. Carbs like bread or rice are a staple in nearly everyones diet. Some people might find this aspect a bit restrictive and may take a while to get used to.

3. Does Not Include Fruits or GrainsUnfortunately, the diet does not have a fruits and grain provision which re also necessary in maintaining a balanced diet.

4. Diminished EnergyCarbohydrates are our bodies main source of energy. A sudden decline in carb intake may result in decreased energy levels for most especially during the first couple of weeks on the diet since youll be largely removing nearly all carbs from the get go.

5. Need to Count Net CarbsKeeping track of your daily consumption is quite tedious and often times part of the reason why people have a hard time sticking to their diet plans. The Atkins Diet does not require you to count calories but instead necessitates that you take not of the amount of carbs you so consume in a day.

How To Prepare The Atkins Diet & Tips

Top Diet Plans for Weight Loss

The Atkins diet plan relies on knowing how much carbohydrate is in everything you eat. Specifically, people following this diet count “net carbs.” Net carbs are calculated by checking the total grams of carbohydrates in a portion of food and subtracting the number of grams of fiber and sugar alcohols or glycerin .

There are three Atkins programs based on different levels of net carb intake per day. The company recommends that you check with your healthcare provider for personalized advice before choosing a program to manage a medical condition.

Over the years, Robert Atkins, MD, the cardiologist who created the diet, refined his approach as new research about diet and nutrition became available. The Atkins diet still focuses on limiting carbohydrates, but offers different intake levels based on consumers’ health goals. People on the Atkins diet are also advised to make nutritious food choices, including healthy fats, fiber-rich carbohydrates, and a wide range of protein sources such as seafood, beef, and poultry.

People think of the Atkins diet as primarily a weight loss diet, but some people also use the eating program to control blood glucose, reduce blood pressure, or gain other health benefits. One of the diet’s main goals is to help find the optimal amount of carbohydrates for each person’s body.

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Cancer Prevention Nd The Atkins Diet:

Th American Cancer Society has recommendations for prevention of cancer. Fruits, veggies and whole grains contain phytochemicals that show significance in the fight against chronic disease. These foods have been scientifically determined to decrease the risk of cancer. Th Atkins Diet does not limit intake of high protein foods or high fat foods as long as they dont contain too many carbohydrates.

The Ketogenic Or Keto Diet

This is one of the strictest ways to do a low-carb diet because it limits you to eating foods that altogether fall under 50 g of carbs per day, though some experts recommend going to less than 30 or 20 g, says Franziska Spritzler, RD, CDCES, a low-carb dietitian whos based in Hollywood, Florida. Youll also be eating a significant amount of fat up to 80 percent of your diet.

A keto diet shifts your bodys fuel-burning engine from one that relies on carbs for energy to one that incinerates fat. A major draw here is that you may lose a significant amount of weight quickly, and that can be initially motivating to see those results so quickly. The downside is that its a very limiting diet youre eating mostly sources of fat, plus a little protein, and some nonstarchy veggies so its difficult to keep up, and its typically intended as a short-term diet, not a lifelong change.

A December 2018 review in Canadian Family Physician noted that keto diets produce slightly more weight loss compared with a low-fat diet , but these results probably wont last. In the study, after about five months, keto dieters begin to regain the weight they lost.

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Possible Side Effects Of A Ketogenic Low Carb Diet

Less serious side effects, such as lethargy, bad breath, tiredness and headaches will tend to subside during the first few weeks. But that doesnt mean they should be ignored. Persistent symptoms may be a sign of blood sugar getting too low, see your doctor, or a qualified dietitian , if you are concerned.

Persistent heartburn and/or excessive stomach acid would be another reason to check in with your GP.

Hair loss is often associated with extreme dieting methods, not just very low carb. This will most likely be temporary, but its a risk to consider when you are choosing your weight loss method.

Atkins Diet: How It Works Health Benefits Plus Precautions

Pros And Cons Of Atkins Diet For Diabetics

By Jillian Levy, CHHC

May 3, 2019

The Atkins diet a popular low-carb diet thats high in fats and proteins but low in carbohydrates has been around for more than 40 years. Various books written about the Atkins diet are some of the best-selling in the diet category, with more than 45 million sold worldwide since its original publication in 1972.

The Atkins diet was created by an American cardiologist named Dr. Robert Atkins, a physician and nutritionist who developed his diet in the 1970s after researching potential benefits of reducing carb intake. He was specifically inspired by research conducted in the 1950s on the effects of low-carb diets, along with papers published on the same topic in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

What do you eat on the Atkins diet? Because its a low-carb diet, things like sugar, fruit, grains and many processed foods are avoided on the Atkins diet. Dr. Atkins believed that, instead, eating a low-carb diet that focuses on foods low-carb foods like meat, veggies, cheese and butter could help many struggling with weight gain quickly shed extra fat.

Below youll learn what the Atkins diet is, how it works, the different phases of the diet, what to eat in each phase and also some alternatives to consider based on potential dangers involved.

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Major Atkins Diet Pros And Cons

The Atkins diet plan is divided into four phases where the goals are clearly defined. Intake of high protein and high-carb is essential for proper balance in the body. This article is focussed to mention the pros and cons of the diet plan. It is recommended to get into this diet after visiting a doctor who can monitor the effects of dietary changes in your health and body.

Reduced Fruit and Grain Intake
No Calorie Counting It Has Possible Side Effects
Hearty Eating Plan
It Is Hard To Maintain
It Focus On Healthy Carbs Counting Net Carbs
It Can cause Health Risks
Increasing Mental Awareness Lower Extent of Vitamins and Minerals
Forbidden Food Consumption
It is Simple to Use

Cons Of The Atkins Diet:

In studies byDr. Atkins Research, the recommendation is that the best carbs are located from low glycemic foods. Unfortunately, these tend to be found in fruits and grains, which are very high in carb but need to be isolated in the diet plans first stages.

Fruits and vegetables are a good source of vitamins and minerals, including folate, vitamin C, and potassium. Theyre an excellent source of dietary fibre, helping maintain a healthy gut and prevent constipation and other digestion problems. A diet high in fibre can also reduce your risk of bowel cancer.

The focus on reduction of carbs in this diet, robs the body of much-needed nutrients. Fruits and vegetables contain fibre which is good for the gut. Omitting these foods from your diet puts you at risk of bowel cancer.

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Requires Counting Net Carbs

Learning to count net carbs can be challenging and tedious. Though you do not have to count calories, it’s not enough to just count the total carbs you’re eating in a day. When dining out or at social gatherings, it could be difficult to count net carbs, especially if you’re not sure what’s in the food you’re eating.

Plus, the definition of “net carb” is not clearly defined by the Food and Drug Administration. That means the way foods are marketed is not regulated and you could be eating something with more carbs than you think.

Foods To Avoid In The Atkins Diet

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Food high in sugar: Colas, ice creams, desserts, cookies etc.

Food high in starch: Potatoes, bread, sweet potatoes, pasta, rice.

Grains: Wheat, rye, barley etc.

Processed foods: These are usually high in sugar.

Legumes: Beans, chickpeas, lentils etc.

Vegetable oils: Canola oil, corn oil, soybean oil.

Foods that are high in carbs, sugar, processed foods and unhealthy fats are to be avoided in this diet. Foods with low Glycemic index are recommended and those with a high GI are to be avoided.

The Glycemic Index is a measure of how quickly any food causes a spike in blood glucose levels. Low GI carbohydrates those that are slowly digested, absorbed and metabolized cause a much lower and slower rise in blood glucose levels. This helps in burning more glucose and avoids weight gain over the longer term. High GI foods are converted easily into glucose and cause a sudden spike in blood sugar levels. Hence low GI foods are recommended in the Atkins diet.

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Health Benefits For Specific People

The keto diet helps reduce seizures in pediatric patients with epilepsy. Endurance athletes and body builders also use it to scrap fat in short timeframes. The keto diet is being studied for mitigating symptoms for patients with progressive neurological disorders like Parkinsons disease, but scientific research has not confirmed benefits for these populations.

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