In todays society, peoples appearance means a lot to them. One of the major things that people focus on is their weight. There are dozens of new diets that people try every year. One of the more popular diets in the last few years is the Atkins diet. Even though it does help you lose weight quickly and easily, it doesnt provide a well nutritional eating style.
The Atkins Diet plan was developed by Dr. Robert Atkins over 30 years ago. (5) It revolutionized the diet world. Despite the fact that the Atkins diet has been around for over 30 years, many people even to this day dismiss it as a passing fad. However, I dont think this diet is a passing fad. I believe this diet is going to be around for a long time. The Atkins diet has been used by millions of people across the globe, and many more try the diet every day.
One of the basic principals of Atkins is controlling your carbohydrate intake. You must also eat unprocessed grains and other foods, and limit sugar or junk food consumption. In addition you must exercise regularly. It is just as important to take multivitamins and drink at least eight glasses of water per day.
The Atkins diet consists of four distinct phases: induction, ongoing weight loss (OWL), pre-maintenance and lifetime maintenance. (5) The first phase of this diet is the most difficult. During this phase everyone must eliminate almost all carbohydrates from your diet. Many people quit the diet during this phase. The majority of the people don’t have the necessary support from friends and family to help them over this stage. Additionally many people don’t have access to enjoyable recipes without carbohydrates.
To help keep off the weight there have been many foods created especially for the Atkins diet. Many people find the bars, shakes, and other products make the transition to the Atkins lifestyle easier, but they are not required. While many food manufacturers are now making specially prepackaged foods, you can also successfully follow it using foods obtained in your local supermarket.
The Atkins diet seems to be a very safe diet. Many independent studies have been done about the Atkins diet. Some of these studies were done with the intent of proving that the Atkins plan didn’t work. In addition to being safe, many studies have also proved Atkins is often more successful than the other diets. (1)
There are supposed to be many health benefits from the Atkins diet. Recent researches confirm the efficiency and success of Atkins Diet weight loss program. The results of five scientific studies recently presented at conferences are remarkably consistent. Subjects on some form of the Atkins Diet plan lost twice as much weight as did subjects on the low-fat, low-calorie diets.(1) With the Atkins Diet approach in all five studies, cholesterol levels improved similarly with both diets, but triglyceride levels remained considerably lower. It has also been proven that Atkins Diet provides great health benefits to the heart patients and shows promise for heavy heart patients. The Atkins diet is also supposed to help against high blood pressure. (5)
People who start using Atkins diet tend to lose a lot of weight quickly. Once people learn the skills to maintain this diet, people tend to keep the weight off. But the problem is no one can ever go off this diet. Its a lifetime commitment and if you do choose to go off the diet, you tend to gain back the weight you started with. The majority of people also gain end up weighing more than what they had before they began the diet.
Another negative effect about the Atkins diet is that it can result in vitamin and mineral deficiencies. Hence, a wide-range of nutritional supplements, including a multi-vitamin, is recommended. The following daily dosages are suggested: 300-600 micrograms (mcg) of chromium picolinate, 100-400 milligrams (mg) of pantetheine, 200 mcg of selenium, and 450-675 mcg of biotin. (5)
The final set back about the Atkins diet is that it is limited to certain people. The Atkins diet is not recommended for vegetarians, since it cannot be done as successfully without protein derived from animal products. Instead, Atkins recommends that vegetarian Atkins diet followers with a serious weight problem at least include fish in their vegetarian Atkins diet program. Furthermore, any woman who is pregnant or nursing is not suppose to be on the diet.
The food pyramid is a suggested food guide for people who want to eat healthy. The food pyramid is broke down into sections of different types of food. The first one is grains. Any food made from wheat, rice, oats, cornmeal, barley or another cereal grain is a grain product. Grains are divided into 2 subgroups, whole grains and refined grains. A whole grain is a grain that contains the bran, germ, and endosperm. (6) Refined grains have been milled. Refined grain is grain in which the bran and germ are separated from the endosperm. (6) This process removes dietary fiber, iron, and many B vitamins. Popcorn, bread, pasta, oatmeal, breakfast cereals, tortillas, and grits are examples of grain products. The amount of grains you need to eat depends on your age, sex, and level of physical activity. Generally, the USDA recommends six ounce equivalents of grains with at least three of those coming from whole grains. (6)
There is also the vegetable group. Any vegetable or 100% vegetable juice counts as a member of the vegetable group. Eating plenty of vegetables can help you ward off heart disease and stroke, control blood pressure and cholesterol, prevent some types of cancer, avoid a painful intestinal ailment called diverticulitis, and guard against cataract and macular degeneration which are two common causes of vision loss. (4) The amount of vegetables you need to eat depends on your age, sex, and level of physical activity. Generally, the USDA recommends between 2-3 cups of vegetables per day. (6)
In addition, there is also the fruit group. Any fruit or 100% fruit juice counts as part of the fruit group. Everyone is supposed to have the same benefits from eating fruit that you have when you eat vegetables. The amount of fruits you need to eat depends on your age, sex, and level of physical activity. Generally, the USDA recommends between 1 -2 cups of fruits per day. (6)
Furthermore, there is also the milk group. All fluid milk products and many foods made from milk are considered part of this food group. Foods made from milk that retain their calcium content are part of the group, while foods made from milk that have little to no calcium, such as cream cheese, cream, and butter, are not.(3) Most milk group choices should be fat-free or low-fat. Having enough calcium is supposed to help prevent osteoporosis, the weakening of bones. Each year, osteoporosis leads to more than 1.5 million fractures, including 300,000 broken hips. (4) Generally, the USDA recommends 3 cups of milk per day. (6)
Also there is the meats and beans group. All foods made from meat, poultry, fish, dry beans or peas, eggs, nuts, and seeds are considered part of this group. Dry beans and peas are part of this group as well as the vegetable group. Most meat and poultry choices should be lean or low-fat. Fish, nuts, and seeds contain healthy oils, so choose these foods frequently instead of meat or poultry. The amount of food from the meat and beans group you need to eat depends on age, sex, and level of physical activity. Most Americans eat enough food from this group, but need to make leaner and more varied selections of these foods.
Finally, there is the oil, fats, and sweets group. Oils are fats that are liquid at room temperature, like the vegetable oils used in cooking (6). Oils come from many different plants and from fish. A number of foods are naturally high in oils, like, nuts, olives, some fish and avocados. Most oils are high in monounsaturated or polyunsaturated fats, and low in saturated fats. Oils from plant sources (vegetable and nut oils) do not contain any cholesterol. In fact, no foods from plants sources contain cholesterol. Fats are a lipid that is solid at room temperature. (7) You are supposed to only have a few oils, fats and sweets in your daily meal.
In addition to watching what you eat, you should also have some kind of physical activity. Physical activity simply means movement of the body that uses energy. Walking, gardening, briskly pushing a baby stroller, climbing the stairs, playing soccer, or dancing the night away are all good examples of being active. For health benefits, physical activity should be moderate or vigorous and add up to at least 30 minutes a day. (2) At a minimum, do moderate intensity activity for 30 minutes most days, or preferably every day. This is in addition to your usual daily activities. Increasing the intensity or the amount of time of activity can have additional health benefits and may be needed to control body weight. (8)
Even though the Atkins diet sounds like a great diet, the food pyramid will have more long term benefits. You need to keep in mind that there have been not a lot of published scientific studies to support all the claims that Dr. Atkins claims. In addition, Atkins offers very limited food choices. In addition dehydration is possible if large amounts of water are not consumed. More importantly, the diet is low in calcium, magnesium, potassium, vitamin C, and folate. (8)
Weight is a major issue in todays society. Even though the Atkins diet sounds great, its not the best way to go. If you use the food pyramid right then you are on the right track to having a healthier life style. Even though Atkins might help you lose more weight in a short term, it does a lot more damage is the long term!
1. Atkins Can Help: http://atkins.com/why/index.html
2. Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion:
3. Food and Nutrition Information Center:
4. Harvard School of Public Health
5. Healthcare in the News: http://www.mercyhealthplans.com/savvyshopper/healthheadlines/030528.aspx
6. Nutrition for Foodservice ; Culinary Professionals 5th Edition; Karen Eich Drummond and Lisa M. Brefere. Copyright 2004 by John Wiley ; Sons, Inc.
7. Popular Diet Plans:
8. United States Department of Agriculture: