Atkins Diet is the most marketed and well-known of the low-carbohydrate diets. It was adapted by Dr. Robert Atkins in the 1960s and reached its peak thirty years later. This article will not only cover the pros and cons of this nutritional approach, but will also try to give a wider view.
Advantages of this nutritional plan are rather obvious. It achieves the main goal, which is of course losing fat. Different randomized, controlled studies (for example: Dr. Vilhjalmur Stefansson using Eskimos nutrition plan or “Low-Carbohydrate-Diet Score and the Risk of Coronary Heart Disease in Women” by L. Halton, C. Willett and others) support this. Moreover there are other positive factors. Research study carried out by the Weight and Eating Disorders Program at the University of Pennsylvania (May 2003) showed that Atkins diet raised levels of HDL (or “good”) cholesterol by an average of 11% and reduced the amount of triglycerides in the bloodstream by 17%.
There are two main downsides:
o An analysis conducted by Forbes magazine found that the Atkins Nutritional Approach is one of the five most expensive diet plans of the ten plans Forbes analyzed.
o This diet trend has stirred major controversies in the medical and nutritional sciences communities and, as yet, there is not a general consensus on their efficacy or safety. Although the majority of the medical community remains generally opposed to these diets (low-carbohydrate diets) for long term health. The reason is rather simple. When human body doesn’t receive enough carbohydrates, it starts to look for other energy sources (gluconeogenesis). The problem is the process of energy extraction from proteins leaves “leftovers” (free radicals) in the cardio vascular system. Thus increasing the chances of heart related problems (like: hear attack).
Personally, I would recommend healthy eating guidelines, which are based on years of nutritional research. In general lines: half of our daily calorie intake should ideally be coming from carbohydrates. Carbohydrates contain essential vitamins and minerals, antioxidants and fiber – all of which may help prevent heart disease and some cancers.
They say people are afraid of the unknown. This is exactly the case. Results of Atkins nutritional approach are unknown. It’s funny, one’s health is one of the most precious things, and yet people are ready to take their chances. Before applying any nutritional plan, consider the risks and whether you’re ready to take them.