I think we have all heard the success stories of the Atkins diet and being the massive carnivore that I am the diet sounds like a dream come true! It all seems too good to be true however, eating all the fatty steaks you want and still losing weight? Even if you lose weight it can’t be good for you, can it?
The basic idea of the Atkins diet is to drastically cut down on eating carbohydrates. That means no more bread or sugar – anything starchy or sugary is out.
A normal body will burn carbohydrates and fats for energy however the carbohydrates are used first. The theory behind the Atkins diet is that if overweight people eat to many carbohydrates they will never burn their stored fats as there will always be enough carbohydrates to use. Therefore by cutting the carbohydrates out of the diet the body is more likely to use up its fat stores and the dieter will lose weight. This concept puts the body in the metabolic mode called ketosis.
Ketosis occurs when there is very restricted carbohydrate intake and is a metabolic state in which the body is forced to find other energy sources. These sources are supplied from fat and protein. The stored fats are mobilized and used and the protein is converted into glucose for the brain (remember that glucose is the only form of energy the brain can use). This all sounds good to me as the body is using up fats therefore the dieter is losing weight.
However ketone bodies are a potentially harmful byproduct of ketosis. At manageable levels ketone bodies are no cause for alarm however if there is a build up in the blood it can cause the PH level (level of acidity) to be lowered. The blood PH must stay at neutral for the body to function so if the ketone bodies cause the blood to become more acidic then this can cause some major problems. This condition is called ketoacidosis and there have been a number of cases where the atkins diet has caused it.
On the official Atkins diet website it states that the Atkins diet can fight disease and help your hearts health. This statement is wrong. The amount of cholesterol intake and fat along with the possibility of not getting the vitimins and minerals needed can cause complications with your heart, kidneys, liver and bones.
So in conclusion yes the atkins diet will make you lose weight but can be hard to maintain for many which is crucial to the diet. In some people it can cause ketoacidosis a condition that causes severe illness. As it is a restrictive diet it can mean you miss out on some nutritional necessities such as vitamins and minerals. This is not the worst diet plan I’ve encountered but not the best either. The clean eating diet plan is healthier and teaches good habits that are maintainable. Clean eating is a better option long term.