The man behind the diet, Dr. Robert C. Atkins, concluded
that carbohydrates, which include sugars, starches, cellulose
gum, are to blame for weight gain. Carbohydrates are the body’s
primary energy source, and fats are its secondary energy source.
Cutting the intake of carbohydrates forces the body to switch
from a carbohydrate-burning metabolism to a fat-burning metabolism,
thus shedding accumulated pounds of stored fat.
The diet has become so popular, it has created
a brand of its own. “Atkins” sells books, food
products, vitamins as well as wrap sandwiches at “Subway.” The
Atkins buzz is so prominent it is hitting consumers’ everyday
through advertising, the talk show circuit, and the news.
Many American dieters have taken the challenge
of the Atkins Diet. Consumers have found that, in its beginning
maintaining a low carb diet the pounds really start to shed.
A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine has
proven that the dieters on the Atkins plan slimmed down significantly
faster then those on the traditional low-fat, low calorie plan.
However, after one year, there was no weight difference between
the two groups.
Unfortunately, while this high fat diet
may promote faster weight loss, it is creating unhealthy eating
habits. A study
Atkins meals found the diet was very high in saturated fat
and cholesterol, very low in fiber, and below the recommended
values for several vitamins and minerals. These are leading
causes of osteoporosis, heart disease, colon cancer, and renal
And, following the Atkins diet long term can greatly increase
Not to worry, there are some alternatives
to this extreme diet. The Joslin Diabetes Center in Boston
recommends a “modified
Atkins” diet plan. This plan concentrates on fish and
chicken as a staple instead of beef and pork.
Another alternative is substituting simple
carbohydrates with complex carbohydrates. WebMD.com noted that
too many sugars and simple carbohydrates such as white
flour and white rice. The body quickly absorbs simple carbohydrates,
which causes an increase in blood sugar. The insulin then
reacts to the increase in blood sugar levels speeding
of converting calories to fat. WebMD.com recommends that
while reducing the intake of sugar and processed grains
weight loss, replacing the simple carbohydrates with complex
carbohydrates such as whole wheat, brown rice, fruits and
vegetables provides high fiber balance and a healthier