Dr. Robert Atkins created this diet which focuses on a low carb intake and high protein and fat inclusion. Atkins diet is one of the most popular diets in the world for about 40 years now. The diet encourages eating meat, cheese, veggies and butter and avoiding processed foods, fruit, grains and sugar. There are four phases of the diet during different foods are consumed during the different phases. The extra fat is lost when the body starts using its own stored fats, instead of burning glucose. There are many benefits as well as drawbacks of this diet.
Pros of Atkins diet
This diet recommends that one consumes at least 2/3rds of calories come from protein, fat from oils and cheeses, and vegetables which provide fiber. The pros of Atkin’s diet:
The Atkins diet focuses on consuming very little carbs rather than counting calories and rigid portion control. The Atkins diet does not have a fixed portion rule, nor do people have to cunt calories all the time. Those who follow this diet can lose weight due to consuming less carbs but still feel satisfied due to adequate amounts of fat, fiber and protein which they eat. A study comparing the effectiveness of low-carb diet and low-fat diet, the low carb diet (participants avoided trans fats), was more effective in improving heart health and in losing weight.
May make cholesterol and triglyceride levels normal
Atkins diet propagates a high fat diet which consists mainly of saturated fats. If these saturated fats come from healthy sources, such as coconut oil or grass-fed beef, they can raise HDL cholesterol and lowering risks for cardiovascular diseases. Eating foods which are unprocessed results in weight loss and can also lower LDL levels and triglycerides, which can cause heart disease if their levels are high.
Can help to treat or prevent diabetes
This diet replaces processed and high sugar/carb foods which cause blood sugar levels going up and down, weight gain and insulin resistance, all of which are the factors causing diabetes, with animal protein, dairy and healthy fats. Removing starchy vegetables, bread and pasta, fruits cause the body to release low amounts of insulin which helps to balance sugar levels and burn the body’s stored fat.
Helps to treat PCOS
Polycystic ovarian syndrome is an endocrine disorder which is very common today in women who are of reproductive age, and is associated with obesity, infertility, hyperinsulinemia, and insulin resistance. Some studies have found that a ketogenic low carb diet leads to weight, LH/FSH ratio, fasting insulin improvement in women who were obese and suffered from PCOS, when they followed the diet for 24 weeks.
Reduces the risk of dementia
Diets which are low in carbs like Atkins diet seem to be beneficial to fight cognitive problems like Alzheimer’s, dementia and narcolepsy. Studies show that people who consume a low carb diet have better memory and learning ability, thus preventing debilitating brain disorders.
Cons of Atkins diet
This diet may help people lose weight significantly, initially at least, but it is not necessary that it has the same effect on all. Let’s look at some of the cons of Atkins diet:
This diet is quite restrictive as it advises against consumption of many vegetables as well.
Many people feel tired and lethargic and even undergo a feeling of fatigue all the time.
Those who follow Atkins diet have trouble exercising because of weakness and lose interest in physical activity as they feel tired all the time.
People may face digestive problems like constipations because of the lack of fiber in the diet and may have indigestion because of eating more fat.
A low carb intake reduces serotonin levels which may lead to mood swings or irritability.
Atkins diet can lead to bad breath due to ketosis (the body burning stored fat) and dieters may experience nausea headaches.
As with all diets, it is necessary to be self-aware if you plan to drastically reduce carb intake. A well-balanced diet and exercise may lead to faster weight loss, and paying attention to energy, sleep and digestive concerns may help you formulate a diet which is best suited to you.