Atkins Diet Yes or No

As of now, January 2005, more than half of all north Americans
are struggling with obesity. The "quick fix" for "fat" for the
last 40+ years, becoming ever more popular, has become the Atkins
Diet. The Atkins Diet was first popularized in the U. S. Air
Force during the 1960's.

The Atkins Diet is very simple --- restrict your carbohydrate
intake. And guess what? It actually works. But Dr. Atkins, after
the initial few years of his popularized diet, began to make
modifications and refinements to the original basic diet. And
several other people have taken the basic Atkins Diet, modified
it just a little, and come up with a new and very workable diet.

The first thing you must understand is that, across the entire
human spectrum, each of us is very different from one another in
the chemical makeup of our body. Thus, each of us, individually,
should have our own highly personalized, custom built diet,
created by a dietician using a chemical makeup assessment,
usually a $200 hair analysis, of our particular body type and
individual nutritional needs. So far as I know, this technology
and this type dietary assessment is still available only through
certain holistic health practitioners and it is becoming more
and more expensive. As an example, it typically costs now between
$200 and $300, whereas in the mid-1970's it cost between $100 and

There are three major misconceptions to the Atkins diet. The first
common myth is many people believe this means don't worry about
the amount of calories or fat you eat so long as its not carbs.
The second common myth is many people believe all carbohydrates
are equally bad. The third common myth is that the Atkins "Lo-Carb"
diet is actually a "Hi-Protein" diet. All of these, however, are
enormous misconceptions.

The first myth: many dieters who use this program believe that
calories and fat do not matter when eating low carb food, but in
some cases this has proven to be fatal. Depending upon your
particular body chemistry, when eating high fat food your
cholesterol could climb and climb, leading to a heart attack or
stroke. Also, it has now been proven that the older we become the
less our body is able to metabolize the "high fat" portion of the
Atkins "lo carb" diet, leading to additional dietary and health

The second myth: The Atkins Diet is actually a "Lo-Carb" diet,
not a "No-Carb" diet. What should be cut out are breads, rice and
potatoes. Fresh fruits and vegetables should not be cut back and
many should be somewhat increased. Finally, after the first month
you can "safely" add breads and potatoes --- in limited
quantities. One friend of mine eats 1 bite of breads/toasts, etc.,
served with his meals, such as garlic breads. One bite and not a
morsel more.

The third myth: Mention the Atkins Diet and most people's
reaction is "Oh, yes, the 'high protein' diet." Not true at all
--- it's a "Low Carb" diet - protein intake remains unchanged.
Some carbs only, not all, are restricted (versus eliminated
completely); fats, particularly in older people, need to be
restricted; protein should be kept to 4-6 ounce portions per
meal, the lower values for breakfast and lunch. What you need to
increase is your intake of high-fiber foods such as celery, etc.

The reason why the Atkins Diet works is because your body
metabolizes its stored fat (carbohydrates) in order to burn ---
digest --- the protein, fiber and fat you are eating. The Atkins
Dieters tend to leave out several food groups, including fruit and
vegetables, since they are "high carb food", and then tend to grab
a steak instead, which has very low carbohydrates.

This is ridiculous. Why? Because the elimination of carbohydrates
and the reduction of the fresh fruits and vegetables actually
throws your health into a major imbalance. Overloading your
unbalanced diet by an excess of protein intake (adding that steak,
above) to "increase the volume" to a satisfying level merely
exacerbates this imbalance.

The true danger of the Atkins Diet, however, lies in the fact that,
for people who already have health challenges, the Atkins Diet
actually worsens some conditions and creates other health
challenges that did not exist before the Atkins Diet. The worst
of these is Gout. If you have a tendency to suffer gout, no
matter how well controlled you have it, a strict Atkins Diet will
create a severe gout condition and gout attack for you. If you
merely had the tendency for gout with no active gout, the Atkins
Diet will precipitate an actual condition of gout in your body. A
severe case of gout requires medical intervention to correct as
well as long-term dietary control and change. The long-term
danger of gout is an increased tendency for heart attack and
stroke. See Native's Gift for one proven help for gout.

If your body type and chemical makeup is suitable for the Atkins
Diet then by all means use it. Remember that there are several
similar alternatives out there which may be more suitable than a
strict Atkins, to include some of Dr. Atkins own later work and
recommendations. If you have health challenges, to include a
tendency for gout or actually suffer from gout, or have diabetes
or any of several other disorders, the Atkins diet is definitely
something you need to avoid.

And not just the Atkins Diet. Any and all diets which highly
restrict or eliminate one of the essential food groups we all
need to maintain optimal health is equally bad. Stop the insanity
and use a REAL diet --- the only proven diet which will work for
virtually everyone.

What is it? It's actually two things: A food diet and exercise --
yes, simple exercise, like walking a mile a day. A completely
balanced, restricted calorie, diet containing a little bit of
everything. Eat three meals a day, get your sweets, carbs,
veggies, fruits, juices, protein and keep it to 1200 calories a
day. Eat your breakfast and go out and walk the dog -- if you
don't have one, take your neighbor's. Give this diet a year of
your life, weigh yourself every Monday and keep track of your
weight, see where you are with it...and make the change for the
rest of your life. When you get to your target weight you may
increase the diet to 1600 calories a day.

Copyright © 2004 by and Loring Windblad

About Loring: Loring Windblad has studied nutrition and exercise
for more than 40 years, is a published author and freelance
writer. He is the author of 2 paperback books and 4 eBooks. His
latest business endeavor is at and (up soon)


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