Atkins Diet: How It Works

The question "Does the Atkins diet really work?" seems to agitate modern people, who try to find the best weight-loss program not less than Hamlet was wearied with the eternal question "To be or not to be".

Taking into account all the mass of arguments and contra arguments concerning the efficiency and even safety of the Atkins Nutritional Approach, it is obvious that there is no single answer, which could suit all the people looking for a proper diet. Everyone is encouraged to make his own decision, based on the most full and impartial information. Thus, below is the information to illustrate the principles of the Atkins diet, which is, in fact, equal to answering the question about the Atkins mode of action, helping people lose excessive body weight and improve the overall health condition.

According to the diet, developed by Dr. Robert Atkins, consuming too many carbohydrates is the key cause of obesity and overweight in the industrialized countries. It is known that human organism may use either carbohydrates or fats as the fuel to produce energy, but the priority is given to carbohydrates by default.

To illustrate this situation better, a human body can be compared to a hybrid car, having two sources of fuel: gasoline and electricity. While the car uses gasoline, electric energy is produced and stored in the battery. Once the gasoline tank runs out of fuel, the engine can be switched to use electricity stored in the battery.

The same situation is with human system of energy production – eating different types of food, we receive both carbohydrates and fats. Carbohydrates are used first to break down and form glucose, which is the fuel for body cells. In the meantime, all the fats from food are stored in the body as excessive body fat.

This is the crucial point in understanding the actual cause of obesity, according to Dr. Atkins. People receive too many carbohydrates, eating mostly such foods as sugar, bread, cereals, rice, potato etc, while all the fat is stored instead of being processed to produce energy.

Atkins diet offers quite a revolutionary approach to weight loss: abrupt restriction in carbohydrates consumption make the human organism use alternative source of energy and burn fat, stored in the body. This process is called ketosis.

When there is no sufficient amount of carbohydrates to produce energy, body starts to break down fat into fatty acids, which are then transformed into ketones - fuel for all body organs. Consequently, in the absence of carbohydrates, body fat becomes the primary source of energy; thus, it is burned very rapidly, causing significant weight loss (up to 4-6 pounds a week).

It is ketosis in the center of all disputes around the Atkins diet: for more than 30 years doctors, scientists and dieticians are trying to answer the question whether ketosis is natural and thus healthy condition of human organism or it is abnormal and dangerous for people’s health.

In fact, the Atkins diet is not all about ketosis. It is one of the most widely-spread myths about the Atkins that following a diet one has to stay in ketosis till the end of his days. When on Atkins, a person aims to reach ketosis condition only for 14 days in order to ensure rapid and effective weight loss. All the following stages of the Atkins including life-long Maintenance phase recommend gradual increase in carbohydrates consumption till a person finds the maximum amount of carbs he may consume and, at the same, time keep his body weight under control.