Foreword By The Author
This is the second in a series of articles about branded diet plans for the overweight. Jenny Craig was the first in the series but this one, known as the Atkins Diet, is based on the best-selling book by Dr Atkins (see the cover illustration below). As I said in the preface to the first such review, I’m not a doctor nor have I tried it myself. Nonetheless, I’m fairly diligent when it comes to researching a subject once it has my attention.
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The Weight Loss Struggle
Since first appearing back in 1972, millions of dieters have conquered an unhealthy weight problem and staved off potential heart disease by utilizing the Atkins diet plan. According to Dr Atkins, the diet is also good for controlling many other health issues including such things as headaches, blood sugar disorders, poor or sluggish metabolism, food intolerance, allergies, and many other problems. Even though the initial intention of following the Atkins Diet is usually to lose weight rapidly, a lot of people with hypercholesterolemia, high blood pressure, blood sugar disorders, and polycystic ovarian syndrome have said that they felt more rejuvenated than ever after just a week on the Atkins Diet.
The Low Carb Dilemma
In spite of the fact that health specialists were advising foods low in fat and high in carbohydrates, the Atkins diet advised that individuals who desire to achieve weight loss ought to do the contrary. The philosophy of the Atkins diet is that up to two thirds of calories ought to come from fat and people should eat meats and cheeses rather than breads, pastas, and even fruits and vegetables. In place of carbohydrates and sugar, the Atkins diet suggests fat and protein in higher amounts. The diet specifically suggests animal proteins and therefore vegetarians will have a difficult time sticking to the diet.
Many diet and medical professionals have openly disapproved of Atkins’ principle on weight loss because they believe that eating relatively large quantities of fat, especially the saturated fat encountered in meat products, can lead to an increased risk of heart disease. It is also said that any diet plan which restricts carbohydrates, prompting the body to depend on fat or muscle for body fuel, can be detrimental to health.
When the body breaks down stored fat to supply energy, a by-product called ketones is formed. Ketones help to reduce hunger, but they can also lead to exhaustion, stomach sickness, and dehydration. Anyone with diabetes, heart, or kidney problems is advised to check with their physician before they start to follow a low carbohydrate diet.
Pros And Cons
Two of the better known (and unpleasant) side effects of the Atkins plan include constipation, due to a low-fiber diet, and bad breath. An extensive study of people possessing good health indicated that we should consume more fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Limiting these foods in order to lose weight might result in more health issues in the long run. However, in spite of the negative comments, Atkins has led to favourable outcomes for a lot of people, and has produced not only a meaningful loss of weight but good health as well.
A lot of people initially feel that the diet is quite difficult, and that it is necessary to undertake meaningful lifestyle changes to achieve good results with Atkins.
Research articles have been written on the efficiency of the Atkins Diet against regular low-fat, low-calorie diets in two acclaimed medical journals; The New England Journal of Medicine and Annals of Internal Medicine. The results were unexpected in that they demonstrated that many cardiac problem signals got better in participants on the Atkins plan.
They observed a bigger decline in blood cholesterol levels than the participants eating a low-fat diet, and saw a larger boost in good cholesterol in the blood than the low-fat team. Both groups saw similar reductions in LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol) and overall total cholesterol levels. In addition, at the end of a year, both groups had achieved similar levels of weight loss.