The Atkins Diet – Curb The Carbs And Watch Weight Fall Off

December 13, 2008 by  
Filed under Diet Reviews

The early part of the current millennium saw a huge, and fairly short-lived, obsession with “low-carb” diets based on the principle that the real enemy in the war on weight gain was carbohydrates. The most famous of these diets, and the most lucrative for its representatives, was the Atkins diet. If someone visited your house in the earlier years of this decade and politely declined your offer of a sandwich, the most likely next sentence out of their mouth would have been “I’m on the Atkins”. No further explanation was necessary. You couldn’t move for newspaper articles analysing the Atkins diet.

The diet was developed by and named for the US physician Dr Robert Atkins, based on his theory that too many diets concentrated on saturated fat as the major problem causing weight gain and heart disease and that a more beneficial diet could be built around the principle of cutting out refined carbohydrates (such as sugar and flour) and “trans fats” (unsaturated fats with no real nutritional value, used for their greater durability and their usefulness for baking). All these technical points tended to get brushed aside, though, as the Atkins diet had a few more headline-grabbing properties.

Chief among these properties was the fact that Atkins allowed for a liberal amount of all meat products which, as a consequence, led to a great number of people deciding that they could happily go on a diet – and quite happily give up on bread – if in so doing they could eat sausage, bacon and egg for breakfast every morning and eat steak every night. Though this wasn’t a particularly wise approach, and indeed was not advised by Atkins, the more scientific side of the Atkins Nutritional Approach (to give it its full name) didn’t fit into the headline-and-short-article approach favoured by mass media outlets.

A heavily technical approach to the Atkins Diet certainly bore results and saw weight loss, with losses of up to ten pounds a week not uncommon. But the process of ketosis, which drove the weight loss in this approach, led to bad breath, body odour and in some cases the sparse growth of thick black body hair, and the pick and mix approach taken by some adherents proved incompatible with weight loss. Atkins Nutritionals, the company founded by the doctor, filed for bankruptcy in January 2005.

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