Atkins Diet Yes or No
As of now, January 2005, more than half of all north Americans
are struggling with obesity. The 'quick fix' for 'fat' for the
last 40+ years, becoming ever more popular, has become the
Atkins Diet. The Atkins Diet was first popularized in the U. S.
Air Force during the 1960's.
The Atkins Diet is very simple --- restrict your carbohydrate
intake. And guess what? It actually works. But Dr. Atkins, after
the initial few years of his popularized diet, began to make
modifications and refinements to the original basic diet. And
several other people have taken the basic Atkins Diet, modified
it just a little, and come up with a new and very workable diet.
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The first thing you must understand is that, across the entire
human spectrum, each of us is very different from one another in
the chemical makeup of our body. Thus, each of us, individually,
should have our own highly personalized, custom built diet,
created by a dietician using a chemical makeup assessment,
usually a $200 hair analysis, of our particular body type and
individual nutritional needs. So far as I know, this technology
and this type dietary assessment is still available only through
certain holistic health practitioners and it is becoming more
and more expensive. As an example, it typically costs now
between $200 and $300, whereas in the mid-1970's it cost between
$100 and $150.
There are three major misconceptions to the Atkins diet. The
first common myth is many people believe this means don't worry
about the amount of calories or fat you eat so long as its not
carbs. The second common myth is many people believe all
carbohydrates are equally bad. The third common myth is that the
Atkins 'Lo-Carb' diet is actually a 'Hi-Protein' diet. All of
these, however, are enormous misconceptions.
The first myth: many dieters who use this program believe that
calories and fat do not matter when eating low carb food, but in
some cases this has proven to be fatal. Depending upon your
particular body chemistry, when eating high fat food your
cholesterol could climb and climb, leading to a heart attack or
stroke. Also, it has now been proven that the older we become
the less our body is able to metabolize the 'high fat' portion
of the Atkins 'lo carb' diet, leading to additional dietary and
The second myth: The Atkins Diet is actually a 'Lo-Carb' diet,
not a 'No-Carb' diet. What should be cut out are breads, rice
and potatoes. Fresh fruits and vegetables should not be cut back
and many should be somewhat increased. Finally, after the first
month you can 'safely' add breads and potatos --- in limited
quantities. One friend of mine eats 1 bite of breads/toasts,
etc., served with his meals, such as garlic breads. One bite and
not a morsel more.
The third myth: Mention the Atkins Diet and most people's
reaction is 'Oh, yes, the 'high protein' diet.' Not true at all
--- it's a 'Low Carb' diet ' protein intake remains unchanged.
Some carbs only, not all, are restricted (versus eliminated
completely); fats, particularly in older people, need to be
restricted; protein should be kept to 4-6 ounce portions per
meal, the lower values for breakfast and lunch. What you need to
increase is your intake of high-fiber foods such as celery, etc.
The reason why the Atkins Diet works is because your body
metabolizes its stored fat (carbohydrates) in order to burn ---
digest --- the protein, fiber and fat you are eating. The Atkins
Dieters tend to leave out several food groups, including fruit
and vegetables, since they are 'high carb food', and then tend
to grab a steak instead, which has very low carbohydrates.
This is ridiculous. Why? Because the elimination of
carbohydrates and the reduction of the fresh fruits and
vegetables actually throws your health into a major imbalance.
Overloading your unbalanced diet by an excess of protein intake
(adding that steak, above) to 'increase the volume' to a
satisfying level merely exacerbates this imbalance.
The true danger of the Atkins Diet, however, lies in the fact
that, for people who already have health challenges, the Atkins
Diet actually worsens some conditions and creates other health
challenges that did not exist before the Atkins Diet. The worst
of these is Gout. If you have a tendency to suffer gout, no
matter how well controlled you have it, a strict Atkins Diet
will create a severe gout condition and gout attack for you. If
you merely had the tendency for gout with no active gout, the
Atkins Diet will precipitate an actual condition of gout in your
body. A severe case of gout requires medical intervention to
correct as well as long-term dietary control and change. The
long-term danger of gout is an increased tendency for heart
attack and stroke. See Native's Gift for one proven help for
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If your body type and chemical makeup is suitable for the Atkins
Diet then by all means use it. Remember that there are several
similar alternatives out there which may be more suitable than a
strict Atkins, to include some of Dr. Atkins own later work and
recommendations. If you have health challenges, to include a
tendency for gout or actually suffer from gout, or have diabetes
or any of several other disorders, the Atkins diet is definitely
something you need to avoid.
And not just the Atkins Diet. Any and all diets which highly
restrict or eliminate one of the essential food groups we all
need to maintain optimal health is equally bad. Stop the
insanity and use a REAL diet --- the only proven diet which will
work for virtually everyone.
What is it? Its actually two things: A food diet and exercise '
yes, simple exercise, like walking a mile a day. A completely
balanced, restricted calorie, diet containing a little bit of
everything. Eat three meals a day, get your sweets, carbs,
veggies, fruits, juices, protein and keep it to 1200 calories a
day. Eat your breakfast and go out and walk the dog ' if you
don't have one, take your neighbor's. Give this diet a year of
your life, weigh yourself every Monday and keep track of your
weight, see where you are with it'..and make the change for the
rest of your life. When you get to your target weight you may
increase the diet to 1600 calories a day.
Disclaimer: This article in no way should be taken as 'medical
advice' on any product, condition or course of action, nor does
it constitute in any way 'medical advice' endorsing any specific
product, specific result, nor any possible cure for any
condition or problem. This article is meant as a source of
information upon which you may base your decision as to whether
or not you should begin using any vitamin, mineral and/or herbal
supplement for better health, or begin using a 'greens' product
as a dietary supplement.
If in doubt, or if you have questions, you should consult your
physician and, if possible, consult a second physician for a
possible different opinion. The author does not bear any
responsibility for your decisions nor for the outcome of your
actions based upon those decisions.
About the author:
Loring Windblad has studied nutrition and exercise for more than
40 years, is a published author and freelance writer.
This article is Copyright 2005 by http://www.organicgreens.us,
http://www.organicgreens.ca and Loring Windblad. This article
may be freely copied and used on other web sites only if it is
copied complete with all links and text, including the Authors
Resource Box, intact and unchanged except for misspellings and
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