Could Atkins Be Right?

Could Atkins Be Right?

Could Atkins Be Right?

Is it just possible that Dr. Robert C. Atkins was right? That his high-fat, low-carb plan, ridiculed for 30 years as dangerous nonsense, actually is a good, safe way to lose weight? The dietary elite are not ready to change their collective mind, but a half-dozen or so new studies have taken an objective look at the presumed evils of Atkins, and the results have been little short of astonishing.

During a few months on the Atkins diet, people lose about twice as much as on the standard low-fat, high- carbohydrate approach recommended by most health organizations.

They do so without seeming to drive up their risk of heart disease. Rather than going kaflooey, their cholesterol, triglycerides, blood pressure and ominous bloodstream inflammation generally improve, perhaps even more than on the standard diet.

They appear to lose more weight even while actually consuming more calories than people on so-called healthy diet. All of the experiments were short and small.

None by itself would make a big stir. But taken together, they undermine much of what mainstream medicine has long assumed about the Atkins diet. “Some scientists are dismayed by the data and a little incredulous about it,” says Gary Foster, who runs the weight-loss program at the University of Pennsylvania.

“But the consistency of the results across studies is compelling in a way that makes us think we should investigate this further.”

Until now, the opinion of the medical world on this subject has been almost unanimous: Any diet that emphasizes meat, eggs, and cheese and discourages bread, rice and fruit is nutritional folly.

The American Medical Association set that tone a year after the book Dr. Atkins‘ Diet Revolution came out in 1972. Its sarcastically worded critique dismissed the diet as “potentially dangerous.” It called its scientific underpinning “naive” and “biochemically incorrect.” And it scolded book publishers for promoting “bizarre concepts of nutrition and dieting.”

On the Atkins diet, up to two-thirds of calories can come from fat — more than double the usual recommendation — and that violates everything medical professionals believe about healthy eating.

Carbohydrates are the foundation of a good diet, most say. Eating calorie- dense fat is what makes people fat, and eating saturated fat is what kills them. Despite this. Atkin’s books have sold 15 million copies, uncounted millions have tried the diet, and practically everybody has heard of someone who dropped a lot of weight on the Atkins plan.

Finally, several research teams around the United States have put Atkins to the test, driven largely by weariness at having nothing solid to tell patients and, in some cases, a desire to prove Atkins wrong. One study was sponsored by the American Heart Association, long an Atkins skeptic.

None has been published yet, but summaries have been given at medical conferences. “They all show pretty convincingly that people will lose more weight on an Atkins diet, and their cardiovascular risk factors, if anything, get better.” says Dr. Kevin O’Brien, a University of Washington cardiologist involved with one of the studies.

This is not the end of the story. The studies say nothing about how much people lose when they stay on Atkins more than a few months, whether they keep the weight off for good and whether their cholesterol rebounds when they stop losing weight.

Nevertheless, three decades of dietary gospel are in doubt, and those questioning it include some of the most prominent names in obesity research.





Susan Rutter: author, publisher, nutritionist, instructor Assists patients and the public make healthy choices and changes in their lives. FREE E-mail course: “Your Health and Your Weight” Subscribe: We Are What We Eat… includes 4 free health software programs.


Why the Atkins diet is bad?

Has side effects: Eating a very low-carb diet like Atkins can cause electrolyte imbalances, constipation, dangerously low blood sugar and kidney problems. Promotes processed foods: The Atkins diet sells and promotes bars, shakes and ready-made meals that help people stick with the plan.

Are Atkins net carbs accurate?

Also, experts argue that counting net carbs is not accurate due to individual digestive responses and the different types of fiber and sugar alcohols used in processed foods ( 3 ). Regardless, this is how followers of the Atkins diet are taught to calculate their carb intake.

Do doctors recommend the Atkins diet?

The Atkins Diet says that its eating plan can prevent or improve serious health conditions, such as metabolic syndrome, diabetes, high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease. In fact, almost any diet that helps you shed excess weight can reduce or even reverse risk factors for cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

Which is better keto or Atkins?

Both require a significant reduction in calories from carbohydrates and encourage a person to get their calories from fats. The keto diet puts greater restrictions on the source of calories. The Atkins diet starts very restrictive but becomes less so over time, allowing a person to eat a greater variety of foods.

Can you have alcohol on Atkins?

Certain types of alcohol are low-carb or carb-free and can fit into a low-carb diet. These include light beer, wine and pure forms of liquor like whiskey, gin and vodka. However, it’s best to stick to no more than 1–2 drinks per day, as excessive intake may slow fat burning and cause weight gain.

What are the cons of the Atkins diet?


* Some patients find their cholesterol level increases.

* Ketosis (increased ketone level in bodily tissues) can make people feel ill and deter them from eating or drinking.

* The diet does not contain sufficient minerals and vitamins, so supplementation is required to prevent nutritional deficiency.

How many carbs are you allowed on Atkins?

You eat only 20 grams of Net Carbs daily. That’s significantly less than the FDA recommendation of 300 grams of carbohydrates daily. The goal of phase 1 is to rev up your body’s ability to burn fat. And because you lose the most weight during this phase, it is designed to motivate you to stick with the diet.