Diet and Nutrition

Is the Atkins Diet Effective?

Is the Atkins Diet Effective?

Key Takeaways

  • The Atkins diet requires the individual to decrease the amount of carbohydrates in his or her diet.
  • Eliminating carbs in one's diet causes the body to rely on fat stored in the body for energy.

The Atkins diet, created by cardiologist Robert C. Atkins, is a very popular low-carbohydrate diet. This diet claims to have several benefits including weight loss, reduced appetite, better heart health and improved memory. The theory behind this diet is that obesity results from overeating carbohydrates and that body weight can be reduced by decreasing the amount of carbohydrates and focusing on proteins and fats in the diet. Many people in the country are dedicated followers of this diet, particularly for preventing diseases and also for losing excess weight.

By reducing the amount of carbohydrates in the diet, the body starts depending on the fat stored in the body to release energy, a condition known as ketosis. Ketosis, burning of ketones released from breakdown of fats, helps to release the energy that the body needs. Ketosis reduces the hunger pangs that makes the person overeat. Cutting the amount of carbohydrates in one's diet keeps the blood sugar levels maintained and reduces hunger. This is an added benefit, as food craving is one of the most important aspects one needs to lose weight. This helps the body to convert into a fat-burning machine, resulting in weight loss.

The diet follows four stages or steps. The first stage is referred to as an induction diet, which is formulated to correct unbalanced metabolism. Fruits, grains, bread, and starchy vegetables are totally avoided. Limiting the amount of carbohydrates will help in stabilizing blood sugar levels and stop cravings. One is allowed to eat meat, fish, fowl, and cheese. The next three stages are the ongoing weight loss stage, pre-maintenance stage, and maintenance stage. Gradually, the carbohydrate level in the diet is increased, mostly in the form of fiber-rich food. Milk, refined sugar, white bread, white rice, potatoes, and pastas are all reduced. Regular physical exercise is given equal importance.

Some of the health experts support the use of the Atkins diet based on the amount of weight loss achieved by the customers; yet, many experts are still doubtful of the long term safety of the diet. It is still not sure whether this diet will help in preventing heart diseases, stroke, and cancer. Some experts are of the opinion that brain needs a continuous supply of glucose, which is often provided by burning of carbohydrates.