Atkins Diet Tips

The Atkins diet has gained immense popularity over the past 10 years, culminating in its peak during 2004, after which its following has dramatically reduced. It was founded, marketed, and popularized through a series of books written by Dr. Robert Atkins. The diet is based on the premise that consuming too many carbohydrates is the primary cause of obesity and eating disorders.

Following an Atkins diet protocol involves severely restricting the consumption of carbohydrates in four phases. In its Induction phase, 20 grams of carbohydrates are allowed per day, while large quantities of meat-sourced protein and dairy make up most of the diet. When the body runs out of carbohydrate-sourced fuel, it enters a state of ketosis, and begins burning fat as a fuel source. Caffeine and alcohol are not allowed. During the Ongoing Weight Loss phase, carbohydrate levels are allowed to be increased by 5 grams per day. In ongoing phases, most attention is placed on monitoring the body’s response to increased carbohydrate consumption.

Atkins asserts that refined white sugars, flours, and high-fructose corn syrups lead to metabolic problems affecting insulin levels and cause weight gain, as do coffee and alcohol. He also states that trans-fats, hydrolyzed, and partially hydrolyzed oils should be avoided. It is great that this diet called attention to these issues and made people more aware of the fact that some types of carbohydrates and toxic fats should be avoided. However, while the Atkins protocol is successful in helping people to lose weight, it is not considered a healthy program and runs contrary to medical advice. The diet is high in saturated fat and cholesterol, which may be harmful to cardiovascular and heart health. It also promotes eating large amounts of red meat and processed meat, which can cause periods of constipation for some people on the diet. But more importantly, diets high in red and processed meats have been linked to colon cancer. Under the supervision of a medical doctor, this diet is best utilized in cases of obesity, heart disease, and diabetes when quick weight loss is necessary for survival. It should be remembered that people on the Atkins diet can lose weight quickly, but it is also common for them to regain the weight quickly.

For a review of this diet and 3 other diets by the American Cancer Institute see the following article by TheDietChannel: Popular Diets Versus Dietary Guidelines.