The Atkins Plan
Dr. Robert Atkins, M.D., created the high-protein, low-carbohydrate Atkins Diet in the 1960s; the diet gained popularity again in the early 1990s thanks to the publishing of his best-selling book, “Dr. Atkins’ Diet Revamps the Food Industry.
The Atkins Diet is a low-carbohydrate eating plan that emphasizes protein and fat consumption and discourages the consumption of fruit, bread, grains, starchy vegetables, and dairy products (except cheese, cream, and butter) for the first 14 days of the diet (the Induction phase).
To maintain good health, you must eat about five times as many carbohydrates as Atkins recommends. This contrasts with the dietary recommendations of various organizations, such as the United States Department of Agriculture, the National Institutes of Health, and the American Heart Association, which encourage a daily carbohydrate intake of approximately 300 grams.
Why have so many people tried to follow the diet, and what exactly makes it so appealing?
Popular weight loss diets today emphasize consuming large amounts of animal proteins while limiting or eliminating carbohydrates like those found in grains, potatoes, and rice. This is done under the premise that doing so will cause dieters to feel full sooner and consume fewer calories.
Dieters who have tried and failed to lose weight on low-fat, low-calorie diets often turn to the Atkins Diet because it allows them to eat as much protein and fat as they want while limiting their carbohydrate intake.
The Atkins Diet is based on the theory that eating a lot of sugar and refined carbohydrates leads to obesity because the body produces more insulin. This hormone causes the body to store the calories we consume as fat.
Where do the naysayers stand?
The basic premise of the Atkins Diet, that high-carbohydrate, low-fat diets cause obesity, is disputed by many nutrition experts. For example, some nutritionists point to the traditional Japanese diet, which is very high in carbohydrates, low in protein, and deficient in fat; however, being overweight was uncommon in Japan before introducing high-fat and high-protein Western foods.
Critics of the Atkins Diet and high-protein diets point to the high saturated fat and trans fat content of the diet, which they say puts those at risk for heart disease at risk. However, recent studies have found that eating less saturated and more unsaturated fat can help those at risk for heart disease lose weight and keep it off.
While it’s true that many people lose a lot of weight at the beginning of an Atkins diet, its detractors say that this is because the diet has a diuretic effect and that the initial weight loss is due to water loss rather than fat loss, and that the rate of weight loss slows down as the body adjusts to its new water and sodium levels.
Though he delivers scientific evidence, most of his recent book comprises anecdotal material from many of his patients. I give Dr. Atkins credit for being the first person to bring a low-carbohydrate diet to considerable prominence in the United States.
Dr. Atkins proposes a disease he calls “hyperinsulinism,” in which people create excessive insulin levels in response to consuming carbohydrates, leading to increased fat storage, diabetes, and a need for even more carbohydrates.
Dr. Atkins recommends increasing carbohydrate intake during the “maintenance phase” to the extent that weight gain or loss is prevented.
That’s fantastic, but how can we decipher the logic behind his diets and determine why so many people believe in them?
The digestion of carbohydrates produces insulin, and there is no way to turn off its activity once it is in the bloodstream. Insulin is a hormone, which is a substance that travels through the body and stimulates chemical reactions. The human body has mechanisms to regulate how much of each hormone is produced to control its effects.
Since insulin is secreted by the pancreas to aid in the digestion of sugars found in carbohydrates, eating a lot of carbs causes the body to send more of its stored fat to the cells, particularly those around the waist.
In my opinion, those who are exceedingly carbohydrate sensitive and have meager metabolic rates may benefit from Dr. Atkins’ diet.
Dr. Atkins’ diet is correct in that it does not restrict protein intake; however, scientific evidence does not support his recommendation to increase carbohydrate grams during the maintenance phase to prevent further weight loss.
People considering going on an extreme diet should know that the information presented above and below is to make you aware of some facts you have never taken the time to research.
I could lose weight, keep it off, and eat as many of the right foods as I desired because I am an experienced user of my programs.
Remember the importance of moderation when it comes to a healthy diet. If you want to eat something that isn’t healthy, go ahead and consume it; make up for it with good options during the remainder of the day.
Some benefits of avoiding high-protein diets include:
First, these diets are dangerous because they go against practically every accepted principle of healthy eating.
Foods high in protein, cholesterol, and saturated fat are well-known to be significant risk factors for cardiovascular disease.
They put too much strain on your kidneys as they try to eliminate urea, a waste product of protein digestion, and you lose calcium from your bones, which can cause osteoporosis.
And they specifically ban foods that have been shown to reduce the danger of cardiovascular disease and numerous malignancies.
5. They deplete carbs, the group of nutrients most easily converted to energy, which is noticeable during activity, even for mildly active people.
6. They prevent your brain from receiving the glucose it needs to function normally, which slows your thinking and reaction time.
The significant benefits of fiber, a carbohydrate, are lost when you consume these foods (cellulose).
8. They are nutritionally inadequate, with some high-protein diets requiring vitamin supplements for your health.
9. They alter your body chemistry in ways that could be harmful.
Then, they produce short-term weight loss, but most of that is water and muscle loss rather than fat (You lose water because your kidneys try to eliminate the excess waste products of protein and fat, called ketones, that your body makes.)
Remember that after you stop dieting, the weight will likely gain on you quickly.
Finally, a high-protein, low-carbohydrate diet simplifies staying fat since your body burns up 23 calories for every 10o carbohydrate calories it digests but just three calories for every 100 “fat” calories.
So that you know (FYI):
There is MUCH to TOO MUCH FAT in the typical Western diet.
That’s why one-third of American kids, by some estimates, are overweight.
Thus, heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States and Europe.
Reduce our fat intake, not increase it.
For this reason alone, it’s best to steer clear of high-protein diets.
The magazine Self looked into some of the more obviously fraudulent rapid weight loss programs in March of 2002 to find out about the medical miracles being advertised to customers.
Marketing slogans such as “Drop pounds by consuming fewer calories and increased physical activity!” will not get you very far in the United States, nor will “healthy weight loss.”
Instead, weight-loss supplement companies are making questionable claims of miraculously quick effects to promote their goods.
Examine the false slogan in light of the actual situation:
o “Lose 30 pounds in just 30 days” – Very enticing, right? But it is physically impossible to lose so much weight in such a short time, and it is also not healthy. You could only harm your health throughout the process, and I assure you, you will gain the weight back faster than a speeding bullet.
o “Lose weight as you sleep” – I heard that one before. If all you have to do is chug a magic potion or pop a miraculous pill, the product is about as natural as your “wet dreams” at night.
o “Lose weight and keep it off for good” – The only long-term strategy for losing weight is to change your diet and exercise routine to burn more calories each day than you take in.
Let’s dissect this catchphrase; it’ll be fun! o “John Doe dropped 90 pounds in just six weeks.” Sure, and I am Superman! As I said before, trying to lose so much weight in such a short period is hazardous.
To lose 90 pounds in 6 weeks, you must cut your caloric intake by over 315,000 calories (90 pounds x 3,500 calories). But how? Let’s assume you need 2,000 calories per day to function normally. That’s 14,000 calories per week. Multiply that by six weeks, and you get 84,000 calories. I’m no rocket scientist, but do you get my point?
In conclusion, ladies and gentlemen, stop letting these misleading slogans trick you into spending money on “miracle diets.”
Diets Low in Carbohydrates
Carbohydrates, such as pasta, bread, rice, and potatoes, are some of America’s favorite foods. However, we all know they contain ingredients that can lead to what we fear the most: being overweight. This is because insulin converts carbohydrates into sugar, and the body stores any sugar it doesn’t use immediately as fat.
We did mention that if the body doesn’t use the extra sugar produced by the intake of carbohydrates, it will be stored in fat. On the other hand, a lack of carbohydrates tricks the body into thinking it’s starving, and then it flicks on an internal switch that causes the body to burn fat. This is called ketosis.
As someone who has researched the nutritional processes of the human body at length and taken into account the type of diet these processes evolved with, I have concluded that eating fewer carbohydrates (i.e., not a whole pizza, loaf of bread, or pound of french fries) is the most natural and healthy way for us to eat, not just for weight loss but for ongoing weight and health maintenance – even for people who do not have a weight problem.
Any of these plans can work as a weight loss diet, but if they’re abandoned, and old eating habits are reinstated, the weight will likely be gained back, as with any short-term diet.
After being cautioned about fats for decades, many Americans have turned to them instead. At the same time, obesity rates in the country are more significant than ever. Americans now eat more carbohydrates than ever – 50 more pounds per person per year than a decade ago (ABC.NEWS).
Whether or not carbs cause obesity is a topic of debate among experts.
Biochemist Barry Sears, the author of the best-selling low-carbohydrate diet book The Zone, is convinced that carbohydrates cause people to gain weight. His controversial theory suggests that people who eat a lot of carbohydrates get caught in a cycle of overeating because carbohydrates can be addictive like other foods.
Insulin, glucagon, and eicosanoids are discussed, and their activities are accurately stated; the underlying premise of The Zone is that food should be viewed as a prescription drug that is intended to induce the desired hormonal response throughout the day.
According to Sears, the obesity crisis in America is since eating a lot of carbohydrates triggers a biological mechanism that significantly lowers the blood sugar level. This mechanism is insulin, and because there is so much insulin, sugars are cleared from the blood so quickly that people feel hungry again after a brief period.
“At 12, you eat a huge lunch that’s primarily carbohydrates. You’re already hungry again by 3 o’clock. You are consuming more carbs. The basic idea is that carbs are broken down into sugars that cause the release of insulin, which in turn sends some of the sugar to our muscles for energy and stores the rest as fat; Sears’ theory takes this a step further and explains why you feel hungry again by 7 o’clock.
To get into the “Zone,” you must eat 3 grams of protein for every 4 grams of carbohydrate at each meal and snack, with no more than 5 hours in between. The author provides meal plans and food lists that adhere to this ratio. He also differentiates between carbohydrates with high and low glycemic indexes, which measures how quickly the carbohydrate raises blood sugar.
The calculated protein requirement should not be exceeded, and meals containing protein should be spaced throughout the day to prevent increased insulin levels caused by protein digestion. This would result in a calorie restriction for the day, as protein has a finite value, and carbohydrate and fat intake are measured by protein intake.
The second half of the book elaborates on the role of eicosanoid activity in the beneficial effects of the Zone diet on a wide range of health issues.
The author provides excellent scientific explanations for why eating too many carbohydrates leads to fat storage. The entire design of the Zone diet is explained in a very scientific fashion as well; however, there is a severe lack of evidence to support it.
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