What is Atkins Diet? What does Atkins Diet contain? Who can use and follow it? What are Pros and Cons of Atkins Diet? Why it should not be followed lifelong? Find out more about Atkins Diet from Nutrition Expert Preeti Jain.
What is Atkins Diet
The Atkins Diet, officially called the Atkins Nutritional Approach, is a low-carbohydrate diet promoted by Robert Atkins .
Dr Atkin’s hypothesis is that obesity, cardiovascular disease, hypertension and diabetes are results of, or are exacerbated by, excessive insulin production, which he believes to be due to an excessive carbohydrate intake.
What does Atkins Diet involve?
The Atkins diet involves unrestricted protein and fat, but severely restricted carbohydrates to switch the
body’s metabolism from metabolizing glucose as energy over to converting stored body fat in to energy.
Specifically, during the 2-wk phase one of the diet carbohydrate intake is limited to 20 g/d and should come primarily from salad and other nonstarchy vegetables. During phase 2, the carbohydrate intake is gradually increased by 5 g/wk until the desired weight is achieved or the dieter stops losing weight. At
this point, the dieter has found their “carbohydrate equilibrium” (ranging from 25 to 90 g carbohydrate/d) and should use this carbohydrate intake for the maintenance of weight in the long term. The diet accounts for increases in carbohydrate intake beyond 90 g/d for those who exercise regularly (vigorous exercise
5 d/wk for 45 min).
The promise is to eat as much as one needs to “feel satisfied.”
Dr Atkins routinely prescribed 30 different nutritional supplements for his patients. The supplements he recommends provide considerably more than the reference nutrient intake for each nutrient.
Pros And Cons of Atkins Diet:
Pros: Good for short-term weight loss (because of loss of glycogen stores and water)
Cons: Poor concentration, lethargy, and constipation in the short-term and long-term heart, kidney and
cancer risk if diet not kept varied.
A research trial showed that obese men and women lost more weight with the Atkins Diet than with the conventional low-fat diet at 3 and 6 months, but the difference was not significant at 12 months (Foster GD., 2003).
Individuals consuming the Atkins Diet had lower triacylglycerol and higher LDL and HDL concentrations throughout the study than did those consuming the low-fat diet, who experienced the opposite effect. Both diets significantly decreased blood pressure and the insulin response to an oral glucose load.
Another study in obese, insulin-resistant women found that those consuming the Atkins Diet had significantly greater reductions in triacylglycerol, body weight, and waist circumference than did women consuming either the high carbohydrate or the high-protein Zone diet after 24 week (McAuley KA et al 2005).
However, 25% of the women consuming the Atkins Diet experienced a 10% increase in LDL.
By Preeti Jain