Monday, April 11, 2011

Atkins diet

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Obesity related illnesses are currently responsible for 00,000 deaths per year in the United States. If we continue to adhere to these nutritional practices that are partly responsible for our overweight society, obesity will surpass tobacco as the number 1 cause of preventable diseases in the country. Because sedentary lifestyles, lack of exercise, and stress also contribute to this problem, people want a quick fix to weight loss. So they naturally turn to fad diets or pills, instead of a lifestyle change, which means behavior modification. Many people feel they do not have the time and the energy to spend on changing dietary pattern; therefore the Atkins Diet is very attracting. Food is limited and everything is spelled out in a brief book. Quantity of food is not an issue; one just eats until they get full. Eating the same foods in unlimited quantities day after day is not normal. The human body needs essential vitamins and minerals, from all different kinds of foods in order to be healthy diet. The Atkins diet simply does not provide approaite ingredients for a healthy diet (“The Atkins Diet and Diabetes”).

The Atkins, good group distribution stands in contradistinction to that recommended by the USDA. The USDA recommends a diet that consists of 55-65 percent carbohydrate, 0-0 percent fat, and 10-15 percent protein. The Atkins diet completely disrupts this balance, reducing the carbohydrate percentage to practically nothing and increasing fats and proteins to levels that are 75 percent more than what the government recommends for nutritional balance and safety (Smith 56).

The fruits and vegetables that Atkins restricts are staples in our diet and important sources of vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients. Drastically reducing them along with whole grains and dairy products can easily lead to nutritional deficiencies. Atkins does suggest a group of vitamins and supplements to replace these nutrients, but this doesn’t provide total protection against possible complications such as dehydration, hypotension, and osteoporosis (Smith 56).

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Carbohydrates are the primary source of glucose, with 00 grams of carbohydrates recommended daily. With fewer carbohydrates consumed, the body starts breaking lean body mass protein to make glucose. Glocuse is the body’s main source of energy, and its made available to cells and organs by the actions of insulin. Insulin is simply a hormone-manufactured ad released into the blood by the pancreas. The insulin floats around the blood and eventually attaches to receptors on the cells. When the insulin is attached, glucose joins and is offered to the cell to be broken down into energy. This process eventually leads to an excess of circulating glucose and the high blood sugar levels that are often seen in Diabetics. In the long run the body cannot handle all the glucose (Goldberg 6).

Excess protein consumption is another major concern especially as it might affect the lover and kidney. Both of these organs are responsible for handling the protein. In the long run is that too large of a protein load will overwork them and lead to liver or kidney failure. Some experts have also raised the concern of increased homocysteine levels as a result of the increased animal protein consumption. Homocysteine is an

Amino acid that has drawn a lot of attention lately, as it’s been connected to an increased risk for heart attacks and Alzheimer’s disease (Smith 56).

While a body in Ketosis will burn the fat and produce Ketones, which is an alternate source of body fuel when glucose is in short supply. Ketosis is a process that occurs in more emergent situations, when other body systems of whack. Also the people in a state of ketosis, where, without carbohydrates, the body breaks down fats for fuel, than the body can eliminate. The problem can lead to fatigue, nausea, vomiting, and dehydration (Smith 55).

Sudden change in the pattern of food choices can increase the risk of serious hypoglycemia when medications have been selected and adjusted for certain distribution of fat, carbohydrate and protein intake in food throughout the day. It is important to limit carbohydrate intake for general health, especially in diabetics, but virtually complete elimination of carbohydrates results in unacceptable costs and risks. With eating too much fat or protein it restricts the diabetics to get the right vitamins and minerals (“The Atkins Diet and Diabetes”).

The underlying premise of the Atkins Diet is that diets in high sugar and refined carbohydrates cause such diets increase the production of insulin. When insulin levels are high the food we eat is quickly and easily converted into fat, and stored in our cells. The lack of available carbohydrates forces the body to burn stored fat as energy (Atkins Diet).

Many nutrition experts disagree with the basic premise of the Atkins Diet, the notion that high carbohydrate, low fat diets cause obesity. The critics blame the over


consumption of calories (from any source) and lack of physical activity as the primary causes of obesity (“Atkins Diet”).

Sugar and starches like potatoes and rice, or anything made from flour, like a slice of white bread, are known in the jargon as high glycemic index carbohydrates, which means they are absorbed quickly into the blood. As a result they cause a spike of blood sugar and a surge of insulin within minutes. The resulting rush of insulin stores the blood sugar away and a few hours later, blood sugar is lower than it was before you eating. The result is hunger and a craving for more carbohydrates (Taubles 5).

When the body accumulates excess fat, it tends to retain sodium. To dilute this extra sodium circulating around, the body holds on to more water. This increases the volume in the blood. The blood vessels are elastic but can only stretch so much to accommodate the additional fluid. Eventually, the pressure inside the arteries builds up, and this excessive force makes the heart work harder. Left untreated, high blood pressure can damage many of the body’s organs and tissues. Weight loss decreases the blood pressure, which reduces the risk of damage to many critcal organs, including the arteries, heart, brain, kidneys and eyes (Hensrud 0).

“Low-carbohydrate diets have been linked to increased frequency of colon cancer,” says Neal Barnard, MD, president of the Physicians Commission for Responsible Medicine. The reason for the health worries in large part to red meat. People who eat red meat every day have three times greater risked of developing colon cancer (“How safe is the Atkins Diet”).


The kidneys regulate the composition of body fluids and remove nitrogenous and certain other wastes from the body. The kidneys are very important organs within the human body. They guard blood volume, filter the blood and form urine. These kidneys have a major role in maintaining an internal environment that is compatible with life. The organs must keep fluids and electrolytes in balance while excreting waste products in the urine. By products of protein metabolism are excreted thru the kidneys, therefore it the body is bombarded with over abundance of protein the kidneys may not be able function properly (Mercola).

Kidney stones, also called renal calculi, are crystalline accumulations present in the pelvis of the kidney. They are usually composed of oxalates, phosphates, uric acid, and carbonates ranging in size from small granules to perhaps .5 cm in diameter. Sometimes, usually with uric acid stones, the calculi will fill the renal pelvis and is termed stag horn calculi. Dehydration contributes to stone formation because of the saturation of certain substances in the urine. Crystals form and grow into stones. Blood may be seen in the urine due to the physical damage caused by the stone and intense pain that radiates from the back to the abdomen and groin may occur when the stone is passed. All of the above problems relate to what could happen when eating too much protein. The kidneys simply cannot handle all the protein; therefore kidney stones or kidney disease could form (Mercola).

Gallstones are another big issue with the Atkins Diet. They are more common if a person is overweight, regardless of the sex. The risk of gallstones rises as the weight increases. Weight loss itself particularly rapid weight loss or loss of a large amount of


weight, can also increase your chance of developing gallstones. Slow weight loss, about 1 to pounds a week is less likely to cause gallstones formation (Hensrud ).

Another issue that has to be addressed is the pregnancy of women. At any time should pregnant women go on the diet because there are not enough vitamins and minerals for the baby to survive. With not enough the baby could die or even the women.

There’s also the issue of heart disease, one you’d expect to be of supreme importance to a cardiologist like Atkins. He calms that even though the person is allowed to eat as many saturated fats and cholesterol rich foods as the person desires, the total cholesterol levels will drop because the pool triglycerides will shrink. Experts argue that while triglycerdies might drop, the bad cholesterol (LDL) will rise, and this alone can increase the risk of heart disease and the formation of arteriosclerosis, where plaque builds up along the inner walls of blood vessels. Study after study has shown that one of the highest-risk populations for heart attack is people who are overweight, insulin resistant, and battling high levels of LDL cholesterol. Saturated fat is the main culprit in raising blood cholesterol and increasing the risk of coronary artery diseases, saturated fat is usually solid or waxy at room temperature. Foods in saturated fat include red meats and most dairy products, as well as coconut, palm and other tropical oils (Smith 55).

“They put people at risk for heart disease and we’re really concerned about that,” said Dr. Robert H. Eckel. Senior author of the paper. “Long term, the saturated fat and cholesterol content of the diet will raise the bad cholesterol and increase the risk for cardiovascular disease, particularly heart attacks.” (Cohen)


To his credit, Atkins does at least a little to the benefits of exercise, but the amount of time he gives the subject makes it seem planning his diets and tips on how to remain on it, you are quickly clued in to what he considers most important. Any diet book that talks only about ways of burning the fat through eating habit changes is telling you just half the story. Exercise should be a key component to any diet program that’s attempting to not only shed excess pounds, but also improve the quality of one’s life (Smith 58).

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