The Atkins diet is very popular, but it also comes with a lot of criticism. Health experts, doctors and diet specialists come from all different opinions when it comes to the Atkins diet and other low carb diets.
Some believe that it is dangerous, some say that it is a healthy method to lose weight and others say that it works on a short-term basis.
However, there are also thousands of individuals who have found success with the Atkins diet.
They can speak from personal experience and know that the diet works and it is an effective means of keeping weight off. There are thousands of testimonials that tout the benefits of the low carb way of living.
Before speaking about Criticism and Pros Vs Cons of Diet, make sure you have already checked: Introduction to Atkins Diet: Basics, Appetite Suppression, Food Lists and All What you need to know about Atkins Diet ‘s Phases.
The most common Atkins Diet Criticism
There are many typical criticisms of the Atkins diet. One of the first is that the diet it too high in fat.
Low fat-diet Vs Good Fat
The butter, oil and fatty meats that are used in the Atkins diet are a far cry from the low-fat diet fad that recently swept the nation.
For many people, the low fat mindset has prevailed and they cannot fathom eating real butter or cream with their meals. It seems like too much fat at first glance.
However, those that pay close attention to Dr. Atkins guidelines and follow the program closely know that the diet focuses on good fats. Extra virgin olive oil and other helpful fats are emphasized. The proper use of these oils is important to brain function and mood management.
Focused on Food and not enough exercise
Another popular Atkins criticism is that it focuses too much on food and not enough on exercise. This is an unfair claim because the Atkins books clearly spell out a need for exercise.
There is a lot of attention paid to food choices because they are an integral part of the program, and they are different foods than what people are normally used to eating.
However, this does not mean that exercise is not an integral part of the Atkins program. Aerobic and anaerobic exercise regimens are encouraged, and both will greatly increase your weight loss efforts.
Atkins Diet hard too keep up in the long term
Many Atkins critics feel that the diet is hard too keep up in the long term. Critics in this category will admit that Atkins is effective in short-term weight loss efforts, but point out that the lifestyle is hard to maintain over time.
However, people who have had long term success with Atkins claim it is one of the easiest diets to follow for significant periods of time. The Atkins plan has rich food that is forbidden on other programs, and it has appetite-suppressing effects.
When you combine this with the quick weight loss, a motivating factor for many people, Atkins is easy to stick to long term.
Many Side Effects of Atkins Diet
The side effects of Atkins, like constipation and bad breath, have also been a topic that Atkins critics are quick to point out. However, these side effects are not as common as critics make them out to be.
If they do occur, the side effects normal only last through the first phase of the diet. Additionally, drinking additional water will normally take care of both problems rather quickly.
There are pros and cons to many diets. If you don’t particularly enjoy preparing and eating meat, then Atkins is probably not for you. But if you are considering Atkins, make sure to look beyond the common criticisms for the truth about the diet.
Pros and cons of the Atkins diet
The Atkins diet is one of the most popular low carbohydrate diets on the market today. Its popularity has sparked dozens of look-a-like diets who center on the same principles of high-protein, low-carbohydrate eating.
There are a lot of fish in the sea when it comes to choosing a low-carbohydrate plan.
Benefits of Atkins Diet
Significant weight loss without having to restrict calories
Studies have shown that low-carbohydrate eating has many benefits. There have been scientific results that low-carbohydrate diets like Atkins do create significant weight loss without having to restrict calories.
People who use the Atkins diet have also reported this.
Improves triclycerides & increases good cholesterol (HDL)
There are studies that show that low-carb eating improves triclycerides, reduces blood glucose for diabetics and pre-diabetics and increases good cholesterol (HDL).
Low-carbohydrate dieting has been scientifically proven to improve insulin sensitivity, decrease blood pressure and lower blood insulin levels. When compared with low-fat diets, low-carb dieters lose less muscle mass.
Increase of energy
Although not scientifically proven, there are many common benefits reported by Atkins dieters and other low-carb dieters.
These include an increase in energy, a reduced craving for sweets, better concentration, improved mood and an lessening of depression type symptoms.
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Side Effects of Atkins Diet
1- Kind of Food privation ( du to limitation )
However, there are also some benefits that are specific to the Atkins diet. If you have been a low fat dieter in previous years, you’ll enjoy eating all of those “forbidden foods” that you once had to go without.
Steak, butter and cream are a regular part of Atkins dieters’ meals. There is a certain pleasure that goes along with eating foods that were once off limits. Atkins dieters are encouraged to eat their full of rich meats, cheeses and fats and oils.
Atkins is also simple to use, compared with some other low-carb diets on the market. There are some basic food carbohydrate counts that you’ll need to learn, but after that, you are free to eat from the acceptable food lists.
2- Not easy to find the your own personal carbohydrate level
Dr. Atkins also emphasized finding your own personal carbohydrate level. Different people have different levels of carbohydrate tolerance. While some gain weight on just 90 carbohydrate grams a day, others can live comfortably at 120 carbohydrate grams.
During the ongoing weight loss phase and pre-maintenance phase of the diet, you will learn your personal carbohydrate count that will help determine your carbohydrate goal for life.
3- Obligation to count carbohydrates
There are some other minimal downsides to using the Atkins program. You do need to count carbohydrates in everything you eat to make sure that you are staying within your personal carbohydrate range.
There is also the issue of Induction, the most hotly debate aspect of the plan. Induction can be difficult to get through if you’ve had a diet that centers on carbs and sugar.
Also, many people try Induction and mistakenly believe that this is the way that the whole diet is going to be. They end up quitting before they get into the actual Atkins plan.
4- Carb Crash as side effect of Atkins Diet
Sometimes, although it is not common, people will experience a carb crash on the 3rd to 5th day of the diet. This reaction is a result of their body finally experiencing ketosis, or running on fat instead of carbohydrates.
The effects are transient, but many people have sworn off low-carb diets entirely because of this happenstance.
Overall, with the minor drawbacks considered, Atkins is one of the most popular low-carb diets for a reason. It works.
Thousands of people have had success with the Atkins approach to the low-carb way of living.
5- Atkins Diet Cons: Constipation and Diarrhea
Check down the page ( section: Atkins and Intestinal Problems), it is described in details.
Atkins Diet and Diabetes
The Atkins diet principles lay the foundation for a healthy, more balanced way of eating than the standard American diet.
Its emphasis is on using good carbohydrates in balance with adequate protein. This is in stark contrast to what most Americans eat on a daily basis.
The average American eats lots of processed foods that have hidden sugars and highly processed carbohydrates.
This has put most Americans on the road to diabetes and pre-diabetic conditions. What is sad is that diabetes has a predictable set of stages and that they can be easily recognized.
1- Glycemic index: the road to Diabetes
The road to diabetes has to do with something called the glycemic index. All carbohydrates are rated on this index with regards to the level of insulin reaction they produce.
Foods that have a high glycemic index rating will cause your pancreas to release a lot of insulin to break down the amount of sugars and carbohydrates (which produce high amounts of glucose).
The refined carbohydrates and sugars that make up the vast majority of the American diet rank very high on the glycemic index.
2- Insulin resistance
Many people who are overweight are also insulin resistant. Insulin resistance means that the insulin is not doing its job in removing glucose from the blood stream.
The pancreas gets over worked and it releases massive amounts of insulin, sometimes 20 times more than the body actually needs.
This results in the blood sugar dropping to extremely low levels. This sets off a chain reaction in the body that leads to a release of adrenaline to correct the blood sugar problem.
3- Evolution to Diabetes
With age, blood sugar and insulin difficulties become more aggravated. The condition is called “hyperinsulinism” and is a precursor for type II diabetes. It is normally accompanied by high blood pressure and high triglycerides.
After years of using a high-carbohydrate diet, you will finally become fully diabetic. Insulin is the body’s primary fat creator and extra pounds usually accompany late onset diabetes. Pre-diabetic conditions, if not treated effectively, will lead to diabetes indefinitely.
However, there are easily identifiable warning signs to diabetes that appear early. Your family doctor can perform insulin level tests that will let you know if you are at risk for pre-diabetic conditions, and studies show that low-carb diets like Atkins can help.
Controlling your blood sugar is one of the most effective methods to controlling pre-diabetic conditions.
4-Why Atkins can help avoid diabetes ?
The Atkins diet helps effectively control blood sugar. The combination of proteins, fats and good carbohydrates will keep your body satisfied without the roller coaster effect.
Controlling carbohydrates in quantity as well as type will help limit the insulin spikes.
This will let your pancreas work in the way that it was meant to be, and it will decrease the likelihood of your developing pre-diabetic conditions.
It’s a vicious cycle that, if left unchecked, can lead to diabetes later in life. When the Atkins diet is followed effectively it produces stable blood sugar throughout the day and helps you stay off the road to diabetes.
Atkins and Intestinal Problems
The major complaint of those who use the Atkins diet is the intestinal problems that are associated with reducing carbohydrates. These problems can include constipation and diarrhea.
These symptoms can happen to anybody at some point, but those who follow a low-carb diet are especially prone.
1- How to explain Diarrhea in Atkins Diet ?
Most commonly dieters will experience diarrhea during the early days of induction. This is a result of the body getting rid of excess carbohydrates. It also marks the beginning of the ketosis process.
So in actuality, experiencing diarrhea at the beginning of the diet is a good thing. It indicates that you are on the road to becoming a fat burning machine.
Constipation is a side effect of lack of fiber in the low carb diet. Whole grains, legumes and fruit are the normal sources of dietary fiber, and they are all restricted on the Atkins diet’s initial phases.
Diarrhea should not be a problem after the first week of the Induction plan. However, on rare occasion, it does persist longer. First, analyze your diet.
If you are eating low carb protein bars or other sugar free products, eliminate them.
However, you shouldn’t be scared off from the low-carb way of life because of these issues.
There are simple solutions that can prevent and help with these symptoms and allow you to continue with staying on the diet plan.
How to Fix Diarrhea in Atkins Diet ?
The first tip is to make sure to include the proper amount of low-carb vegetables in your daily diet.
In the induction phase, you can eat up to 20 grams of carbohydrates per day. This is roughly equal to 3 cups of salad vegetables. Some people are tempted to use their carbohydrate grams on cheese or artificially sweetened soda.
Eating acceptable vegetables is a vital part of maintaining intestinal health while following the Atkins plan.
It’s also important to drink a minimum of 8 eight-ounce glasses of water per day and get exercise. Both of these steps can help with intestinal programs.
If you are not used to eating raw vegetables everyday, this may be a cause of diarrhea. Understand that your body will adjust to the vegetables and the intestinal side effects won’t last forever.
Make sure you are chewing your raw vegetables thoroughly. Also, using lightly steamed vegetables rather than raw can be a solution to this problem.
2- Constipation: Body Adaptation to new routine
If you are experiencing constipation specifically, then there are many methods for relief. When you switch from a diet full of processed and refined sugar products, your body will need some time to adjust to this new way of eating.
How to fix Constiption during Atkins Diet ?
You’ll need to make sure to up your fiber intake with acceptable vegetables and fruits (certain fruits are allowed after the initial induction phase).
You can also try a fiber supplement like sugar-free Metamucil.
Make sure you are eating enough fats and oils. Constipation can be a result of too little fat in your diet. Adding tablespoon of olive oil or flax oil to salads or other vegetables can help your intestinal health.
Also, try to incorporate a variety of vegetables in your salad. Pale iceberg lettuce does not have much fiber in it. Try dark green lettuces or have a serving of dark green steamed veggies (broccoli, asparagus or spinach are good choices).
If these tips don’t work, try cutting out all salt from your diet for a couple of days.
This includes pickles, mustard, diet soda, ham, bacon and bottled salad dressing. This will decrease your fluid retention and sometimes helps with bowel movements.
Conclusion about Atkins and Intestinal Problems
Intestinal problems are common during the first portion of the Atkins diet. Keep in mind, however, that these problems will go away within the first few weeks of the new way of eating. If the problems persist, try the previously mentioned tips to get relief.
But before starting any diet, and specially Atkins Diet, you have to ask yourself the following Question:
Is Atkins Diet right for you ?
The Atkins diet is very popular, but is it right for you? Before you start down the low carb road, you should take some time to decide whether low carb is the right way for you to lose weight.
Just because it has been effective for others doesn’t mean it will be right for you. No specific diet works for everyone, and you may even find that a type of low carb diet that works better for you than another.
There are many things to consider before you start the Atkins diet.
1- Evaluate your past dieting history
First, evaluate your past dieting history. If you’ve been trying to lose weight for a long period of time, you’ve no doubt tried a wide variety of diets. Take note of the different diets you’ve tried over the years.
Write down the basics of each diet, what worked and what didn’t. Also, write down why you didn’t stay on the particular diet. Evaluate your experience with high carbohydrate diets. These types of diets include most low-fat and calorie controlled diets.
How did you feel while on these types of diets? Were you hungry, obsessed with food or experiencing negative reactions? Or did you feel full of energy and generally good?
If you’ve had experience with low carb diets, write that down as well. Past the negative effects of the first week, how did eating low carb make you feel? Why did you stop using the low carb diet?
The answers to these questions will help you decide whether Atkins is right for you or not. If you’ve had good experiences with low-fat diets and bad experiences with other low carb diets, then Atkins is probably not for you.
Other low-carb diets have worked but not without difficulty. In this case then you may have been on the wrong type of low-carb diet and Atkins might work better.
If you’ve had bad experiences with both types of diets, then you may have better success with a modified Atkins diet.
2- Your food and eating behaviors
Your food and eating behaviors can also give you a clue to whether or not Atkins is a good choice for your weight loss efforts. Carb sensitivities are indicated by a certain set of behaviors.
You may be carb sensitive if you feel like eating right after you’ve finished a meal. You will also feel strong urges to eat throughout the day.
In some case, you may feel dizzy, fuzzyheaded and fatigued without getting a boost from sugar or another carbohydrate. Carb sensitivity is also shown when you feel sluggish after eating.
This occurs especially after you eat a meal rich in sugars and carbohydrates. If you experience these symptoms frequently, you may have carb sensitivities.
Try paying close attention to how carbohydrates affect you and if you continue to experience these symptoms, try doing a low carb diet.
Your success on the Atkins diet can also be determined by your medical and family history. If you have any pre-diabetic symptoms, or diabetes itself, a reduced carb diet like Atkins may be right for you.
Significant weight gain can also be helped by the Atkins diet. Normally, the more overweight you are, the more likely you are to have high blood pressure, high triglycerides and high blood glucose.
3- Diabetes or Signifiant Overweight
If any member of your family has diabetes or is significantly overweight, this can also put you at risk for these conditions. Your tendency toward these conditions on a genetic level can mark a necessity for a low carbohydrate diet like Atkins.
The Atkins plan has been shown to improve weight and control blood sugar issues. If these are problems in your family history, then you may want to consider the Atkins diet.
There are a lot of good reasons to try the Atkins diet. Whether you have responded well to other low carb diets in the past or you have a medical history that warrants a controlled carbohydrate diet, the Atkins diet can meet your needs.