allWeight Loss

Top 10 Questions and Answers on Atkins Diet

1. What is Atkins Diet?

Dr. Atkins diet, first introduced in 1972, is strictly

focused on limiting carbohydrate consumption.

That is why it is called a low-carb, high-protein diet or

sometimes simply a low-carb diet, together with other

diets such as South Beach Diet, Power Protein Diet etc…

2. What are carbohydrates, and where can they be found?

Carbohydrates provide your body with its basic fuel, very

much like a car engine and gasoline. Glucose goes directly

into the cells, which convert it into the energy they need.

There are two types of carbohydrates:

Simple carbohydrates (also called “sugars” on food

package labels): glucose, fructose and galactose are

referred to as monosaccharides. Lactose, sucrose and

maltose are called disaccharides (they contain two


Complex carbohydrates (“starches”), made up of chains

of glucose molecules, which is simply a way plants store


Starches can be found in great quantities in most

grains (wheat, corn, oats, rice) and things like potatoes

and plantains.

Your digestive system breaks a starch back down into

its component glucose molecules so that the glucose

can enter your bloodstream.

A complex carbohydrate is digested more slowly than

simple carbohydrates because it takes longer to break

down a starch.

Complex carbs can be either high in fiber such as

broccoli or low in fiber such as bananas or potatoes.

But carbohydrates are not the only substances the body

uses: it also needs proteins and fats.

3. What are proteins and where can they be found?

A protein is any chain of amino acids. Carbohydrates

provide cells with energy, proteins provide cells with the

building material they need to grow and maintain

their structure.

Protein can be found in both animal and vegetable foods.

Most animal sources (meat, milk, eggs) provide “complete

protein”: they contain all of the essential amino acids.

Vegetable foods usually have few or none of the essential

amino acids. Example: rice is low in isoleucine and lysine.

Some vegetable sources contain quite a bit of protein —

things like nuts, beans, soybeans, etc. are all high in protein.

4. What are fats and where can they be found?

Fats are also an important part of our diet. Many foods

contain fat in different amounts. High-fat foods include

dairy products like butter and cream as well as mayonnaise

and oils.

There are two kinds of fats: saturated and unsaturated.

Saturated fats are normally solid at room temperature,

while unsaturated fats are liquid at room temperature.

Vegetable oils are the best examples of unsaturated fats,

while lard and shortening (along with the animal fat you

see in raw meat) are saturated fats.

We can further distinguish the unsaturated fats between

polyunsaturated and monounsaturated. Unsaturated fats

are currently thought to be more healthy than saturated fats,

and monounsaturated fats (as found in olive oil and peanut oil)

are thought to be healthier than polyunsaturated fats.

Fat is necessary because: the only way to get certain

fat-soluble vitamins is to eat fat, your body has no way to

make certain essential fats, so you must get them in your


Another reason is that fat is a good source of energy,

in fact it contains twice as many calories per gram as

do carbohydrates or proteins. Your body can burn fat as

fuel when necessary

5. and how can I loose weight by reducing carbohydrate


Atkins diet and other low-carb diets are based on the theory

that certain carbohydrates have a greater impact on blood

sugar levels than others.

So you count these carbs. They are the ones that matter.

To figure out the net carb count of a food item, you need to

identify the carbs that don’t have a high impact — those from

fiber and sugar alcohol, and subtract that total from the

overall carb count

Just regulate your blood sugar levels (from carbohydrates)

and you’ll be able to better regulate your appetite… and

your weight.

Therefore, say Atkins diet proponents, the culprits are

carbohydrates and there is nothing wrong with eating as

much meat as you want!

What you should do is restrict carbohydrate consumption,

specially starchy foods such as bread, rice, corn etc…,

except for what they consider as “good carbohydrates”

such as high fiber vegetables (broccoli etc…)

According to them, the energy we need should be taken

from proteins, and sometimes fat, but as few carbohydrates

as possible, hence the name: low carbohydrate diet..

6 . What else does the human body need?

Mainly vitamins and minerals. These can be found in various

foods, fruits, etc..It seems the “Standard Western Diet” is

deficient in vitamins and minerals. This has led to the

creation of vitamin and mineral supplements.

7. Is Atkins diet efficient?

Anybody can note the simple fact that cutting back on

carbohydrates works, at least for a quick drop in body fat

and body water.

However, for most dieters the problem is the long-term

effects on the body due to such a drastic reduction in


Whatever Atkins diet proponents have said, this remains a

real problem and people like those at South Beach Diet have

tried to solve it by introducing carbohyfrates after the 14 days

initial phase.

8. What about the “fat makes you fat” theory?

According to Anthony Colpo, one of the most articulate of the

Atkins diet defenders:

“Some folks have been so inculcated with the simplistic

“fat makes you fat” theory that they just cannot believe

a diet high in fat can lead to a loss of bodyfat.

The fact is, high fat diets can result in spectacular fat loss

– as long as carbohydrate intake is kept low. Eat a diet that

is high in both fat and carbohydrate and your bodyfat

percentages will head north real quick! ”

9. Does Atkins diet cause coronary heart disease (CHD)?

On May 26, 2004 A Florida businessman filed suit against

the makers of Atkins diet.

The man claimed as a consequence of following the low-carb

diet, he suffers from severe heart disease, necessitating

angioplasty and a stent

One of the fiercest opponents of Atkins diet, the Physicians

Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) President

Neal Barnard, M.D, said that the diet proponents “push dieters

to avoid healthy foods, like rice, beans, and pasta, while

ignoring the risks of high-cholesterol, high-fat meat and

cheese. The idea that cholesterol and saturated fat don’t

matter is a dangerous myth.”

But what does the other side say? As expected, we hear

a totally different story.

Here is Anthony Colpo’s take on the CHD issue:

“A low carb diet based on paleolithic food choices, that is,

a diet based on free-range animal products and low

carbohydrate, low-glycemic plant foods, fits the bill quite

nicely. So go ahead, eat your steak and salad!”

10. Are there any other health risks?

In additon to CHD – coronary heart disease – Atkins diet has

also been blamed for a number of other “atrocities”, such as:

colon cancer, impaired kidney function, osteoporosis,

complications of diabetes, and to cap it all: constipation,

headache, bad breath, muscle cramps, diarrhea, general


A few quick answers to some of these accusations from

Anthony Colpo:

Kidney disease: “Bodybuilders and strength athletes have

been consuming high-protein diets for decades. Given the

widespread global participation in these activities, if the

claims of kidney damage were true, by now there would be

an enormous number of case studies of ex-bodybuilders

and strength athletes afflicted with kidney disease,” which

is obviously not the case.

Osteoporosis: “a low-carbohydrate, high fat, high protein

diet is a far better choice for building strong bones than

a low-fat, high-carbohydrate diet.”