Since 1972 when Dr. Robert Atkins introduced his revolutionary new approach to weight loss through his book, Dr. Atkins’ Diet Revolution, hundreds of thousands of people have lost weight and gotten healthier through his then-innovative, low-carbohydrate plan. There have been two more books since then, Dr. Atkins’ New Diet Revolution (2002) and The New Atkins for a New You (2010), but the concept remains the same: it’s a low carb diet that allows you to eat just about as much protein and fat as you want. But, does this plan really work for everyone? It depends on who you ask.
In general, people have a fairly decent success rate in losing weight – and losing it quickly – if they are willing to stick to the plan. The Atkins diet method focuses on the theory that those who are carbohydrate-sensitive or consume too much carbs in their diet are prone to weight gain. As a result of this, Atkins theorized that it was not fat content that caused people to gain weight, but too many carbs. This led to his low carb approach, which is carried out in four phases – all designed to control insulin levels and combat insulin resistance, which makes it an ideal weight loss method for those with diabetes.
The Atkins diet is very strict when it comes to its low carb menu. In fact, in the beginning you have a good number of foods which are not allowed at all (like grains of any kind, flour, white rice, etc.), though most complex carbs are gradually phased back in after you have met your weight loss goal, and have begun the maintenance part of the program. This can be problematic for some people, however, as it is very hard to get through the first phase where there are limited foods to eat. Still, the rapid weight loss that can occur with the plan has its benefits, and this is why people still flock to the Atkins Diet.
The whole premise of how and why the Atkins Diet works so well is because of the chemical reaction in the body called ketosis (where the body burns its own fat as fuel). It is Dr. Atkins theory that if you reduce your carbohydrate intake to 40 grams per day or less, that your body will enter a state of ketosis, which will not only help you burn fat, but stabilize your insulin production, prevent additional fat deposits, and rid you of carb cravings.
Despite the vast number of successes, there are those that criticize the Atkins Diet plan for its implementation of high fat and high protein foods. Risks associated with high-protein, low-carb diets that send your body into a state of ketosis include kidney failure, kidney stones, gall stones, osteoporosis, high cholesterol, and even cancer (from the elimination of fresh fruits and vegetables). For these reasons, this is one weight loss plan that should definitely supervised by your doctor.
The Atkins Diet has clearly proven its ability to help people lose weight for decades, but only you can decide whether the risks are worth the reward. Some of the associated health risks should most definitely not be overlooked, and weight loss alone is not the only goal when seeking better health.
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