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 Atkins Revisited

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RašytiTemos pavadinimas: Atkins Revisited   17/08/11, 05:45 am

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If you have read my previous article "Atkins Diet – A complete analysis" then you must continue your reading for further details of the program. The regimen is a low-carbohydrate, or ketogenic diet, (A diet that supplies an abnormally high amount of fat, and small amounts of carbohydrates - Neutral compounds of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen found in sugar, starches, and cellulose and protein.) characterized by initial rapid weight loss, usually due to water loss. Drastically reducing the amount of carbohydrate intake causes liver and muscle glycogen loss, which has a strong but temporary diuretic effect. Long-term weight loss occurs because with a low amount of carbohydrate intake, the body burns stored fat for energy.

The four-step diet starts with a two-week induction program designed to rebalance an individual's metabolism. Unlimited amounts of fat and protein are allowed but carbohydrate intake is restricted to 15-20 grams per day. Foods allowed include butter, oil, meat, poultry, fish, eggs, cheese, and cream. The daily amount of carbohydrates allowed equals about three cups of salad vegetables, such as lettuce, cucumbers, and celery.

The second stage is for ongoing weight loss. It allows 15-40 grams of carbohydrates a day. When the individual is about 10 pounds from their desired weight, they begin the pre-maintenance phase. This adds one to three servings a week of high carbohydrate foods, such as a piece of fruit or slice of whole-wheat bread. When the desired weight is reached, the maintenance stage begins. It allows 40-60 grams of carbohydrates per day.

Opinion from the general medical community remains mixed on the Atkins diet, but is generally unfavorable. There have been no significant long-term scientific studies on the diet. A number of leading medical and health organizations, including the American Medical Association, American Dietetic Association (ADA), and the American Heart Association oppose it. It is drastically different than the dietary intakes recommended by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the National Institutes of Health. Much of the opposition is because the diet is lacking in some vitamins and nutrients, and because it is high in fat. In a hearing before the U.S. Congress on February 24, 2000, an ADA representative called the Atkins diet "hazardous" and said it lacked scientific credibility.


No advance preparation is needed to go on the diet. However, as with most diets, it is generally considered appropriate to consult with a physician and to have a physical evaluation before starting such a nutritional regimen. The evaluation should include blood tests to determine levels of cholesterol, triglycerides, glucose, insulin, and uric acid. A glucose tolerance test is also recommended.


Adherence to the Atkins diet can result in vitamin and mineral deficiencies. In his books, Atkins recommends a wide-range of nutritional supplements, including a multi-vitamin. Among his recommendations, Atkins suggests the following daily dosages: 300-600 micrograms (mcg) of chromium picolinate, 100-400 milligrams (mg) of pantetheine, 200 mcg of selenium, and 450-675 mcg of biotin(A B complex vitamin, found naturally in yeast, liver, and egg yolks).

The diet is not recommended for lacto-ovo vegetarians, since it cannot be done as successfully without protein derived from animal products. Also, vegans cannot follow this diet, since a vegan diet is too high in carbohydrates, according to Atkins. Instead, he recommends vegetarians with a serious weight problem give up vegetarianism, or at least include fish in their diet.

The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.
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