Atkins Diet: Pros and Cons

Probably, there is no other diet besides the Atkins that would create so many disputes, discussions and multiple studies, which resulted in the myriad of both myths and facts about the diet, suggested by a cardiologist Robert Atkins in 1972. Nowadays there are two opposite trends among the scientists and nutritional specialists, presenting those, who claim the Atkins diet to be more harmful than beneficial and those, who advocate the plan as the most effective and natural way of weight loss and overall health enhancement.

Since there is no single verdict about the Atkins diet for the time being, below is the summary of the most common arguments from both parties, judging the Atkins Nutritional Approach.

- Pros - Following the Atkins diet is easy. Very often the Atkins diet is compared to a dream for dieters, because it allows eating really tasty and nutritionally rich foods, such as meat, eggs, butter, mayonnaise etc. Moreover, it suggests eating as much as necessary just not to feel hungry. Surprisingly, the Atkins diet really helps lose weight effectively, while eating meat and fat mainly due to drastic decrease in consumption of bread, cereals, starchy vegetables and sugar.

Following the Atkins diet ensures rapid and effective weight loss. According to several studies, Atkins diet enabled its followers to lose significantly more body weight in comparison to people, following a traditional low-fat, low-calorie diet. Typically, the major part of weight loss occurs during 14-days Induction phase due to the transition of human body from burning carbohydrates to burning fat. Loosing 3-4 pound a week is considered to be common, though cases of losing as much as 6 pounds a week were also reported.

Being on Atkins improves cholesterol level. It is proved that following a low-carb diet significantly increases the level of HDL cholesterol (the good one) in blood, while lowering the level of bad LDL cholesterol.

The Atkins diet stabilizes the blood sugar level. Due to the limited intake of sugar, the Atkins diet improves the sugar level in blood. It affects positively not only the overall health condition, reducing the level of insulin, but also reduces the frequency of mood swings and depressions.

The Atkins diet reduces heart disease and diabetes risks. Though claimed by critics only as a short-term effect, the Atkins diet reduces risks of developing cardiovascular disease or diabetes, because the diet helps to decrease blood sugar, bad cholesterol and excessive body weight.

- Cons - Weight loss with the Atkins diet is temporary. Critics say that the Atkins diet, as well as many other diets, provides only temporary effect on body weight. According to some studies, people following Atkins regained weight after 12 month.

Diet causes carbohydrate deficiency. Long-term restriction of carbohydrates intake causes lack of certain vitamins and minerals, which are necessary for normal functioning of human organism and may cause headache, muscle weakness, cramps, diarrhea or constipation.

Bad breath. When ketosis occurs, the breath of people commonly contains acetone, detectable as a sweet smell that may be mistaken for ethyl alcohol.

The diet is low in phytochemicals. The Atkins diet promotes significant reduction in vegetables and fruits consumption, which are the main sources of phytochemicals, natural substances, which help prevent many diseases, including cancer.

The Atkins regimen promotes eating too much fatty food. One of the most vivid features of the Atkins diet is the increased intake of fat and meat, which is considered to be unhealthy, because it may contribute to the development of different cardiovascular diseases. The majority of health care authorities recommend moderate or even low consumption of meat and fats to prevent heart problems.

After all, the final decision whether the Atkins diet is worthy trying remains as a personal solution. Scientists have not worked out single homogeneous guideline as to this diet yet, so a person is encouraged to decide himself what prevails in the Atkins diet: myths or facts.