Eat healthy, drink lots of water, have enough sleep and exercise. This will give you a higher chance of losing weight and improving your health, which would result to a new, healthier you.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

The Nutritional Legacy of the Atkins Plan

By Daniel Yan

Doctor Atkins was a real live cardiologist who was interested in alternative healthcare and in ways to help his patients lose weight. In the 1970s, he wrote a relatively famous book, “Dr. Atkins Diet Revolution”. In his book, he wrote of a diet recommendation that was completely different from the traditional diets of his day. His book was very popular and many sought “The Atkins’ Diet” as a way to keep eating protein and fat, while avoiding carbohydrates.

The Atkins Plan was very controversial. It was so high in fat and protein that other cardiologists often refused to use it as it was felt to raise the fat and cholesterol in the diet. Some doctors felt the diet was a “heart attack waiting to happen”. Even in the 1970s, doctors knew that cholesterol was bad and that it caused arterial plaques to form in the heart, resulting in a heart attack. While good ways to lower cholesterol weren’t known back then, a diet low in fat was felt to be a way to reverse the effects of heart disease.

The Atkins Plan was also high in protein. Protein isn’t inherently bad, especially for body builders, but few nutritionists recommend eating it in high amounts. A high protein diet can cause kidney disease and even gouty arthritis. The meat group used so much in the Atkins diet is actually recommended in limited amounts for those wanting to lose weight by most nutritionists.

Carbohydrates are to be limited, said Dr. Atkins. He felt dieters should count carbohydrates on his diet and eat very little bread or pasta. The only carbohydrates recommended were those found in fresh vegetables like salads, often served with fat rich salad dressing.

In one Atkins menu, it was recommended on one diet plan to eat as many pork rinds as you wanted, using a tuna salad as a dressing. When was the last time that a weight loss diet included unlimited pork rinds? Pork rinds are considered one of the worst snack foods out there, much less something you should eat for lunch.

There were those who waited to see what would happen to Atkins himself because of his own adherence to the Atkins diet. In fact, Dr. Atkins did develop a form of cardiomyopathy. While his family said it was unrelated to the diet, this is a fact that could never be proved. A year later, at the age of 72, he slipped on the ice in front of his office and diet of brain trauma. The status of his coronary arteries remains unknown.

In today’s time, it is well established that heart disease can be prevented by lowering cholesterol and fat. While we have medications for this condition, dieticians recommend a low fat diet for those at risk for heart disease, including diabetics. The Atkins diet plan flies in the face of these recommendations, and yet, there are still dieters today who use the Atkins diet for weight loss.

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