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Atkins Diet Plan: Pros and Cons
- The Atkins Diet plan made low carbohydrate diet very popular
- During the four phases of the diet, carbohydrates are gradually increased but are always restricted to a certain point
- Because the diet allowed people to eat many foods they enjoyed, it was considered easier to follow than traditional diets
- Reduced fiber levels, increased saturated fat intake, and increased fatigue were just some of the drawbacks associated with easy diet plans
The Atkins Diet plan was developed in the 1970’s by Dr. Robert Atkins. The essence of the plan is to more strictly control carbohydrates. Because the idea of eating meat and cheese to lose weight instead of starchy vegetables was appealing to many people, the diet boomed in 2003. While the supposedly easy diet plans provided by the Atkins approach are not as popular today, understanding the pros and cons of his approach to weight loss can help in your own dieting success.
Understanding the Atkins Diet Plan
Before we look at the pros and cons, we need to understand a little bit more about this method of weight loss. One of the most common misconceptions is that the Atkins diet permanently restricts carbohydrate intake. This is not really the case. The diet plan is divided into four phases. In the first phase, carbohydrates are reduced to only 20 grams or less per day (one slice of wheat bread contains 12 grams of carbohydrates). However, this stage lasts only a few weeks then dieters begin slowly increasing their acceptable carbohydrate limits. Even at the end of the final phase, you’ll still be restricting your carbohydrates but at a more moderate level than in those early weeks.
Benefits of the Atkins Diet Plan
For those people who were able to get past those grueling first weeks, they did experience weight loss. In fact, because the diet also provided a solution for correcting those weight loss plateaus (by shaving off another five grams of carbs a day), it helped people stick to their diets better without getting frustrated.
Another major plus for the diet is that it allowed dieters to eat many of the foods they crave the most while trying to lose weight. Plus, the first few weeks were effective in breaking the carbohydrate cravings that are the downfall for many diets.
Many dieters also found out that thanks to the wide range of available artificial sweeteners, eating the foods they loved that normally contain sugar could be done under this diet. In a way, it was the dream diet for millions of people which is explains why 1 in every 11 adults were on the Atkins diet in North America in 2004.
Drawbacks of the Atkins Diet Plan
Although these easy diet plans had plenty of benefits for dieters, health experts were quick to point out the myriad of health risks associated with this type of dieting. For example, fiber intake is almost non-existent on this type of diet. Without fiber, dieters ended up suffering from constipation and other digestive problems in greater numbers. They also put themselves at greater risk of colon cancer by staying on the diet for a long time. Plus, fiber is useful in reducing cholesterol and high blood pressure, two conditions which were likely to increase with a diet high in saturated fats thanks to all of the meat and dairy being consumed.
Other dieters complained of feeling tired all of the time on the diet. This makes sense because carbohydrates are our body’s main source of energy. Without it, we are going to feel exhausted and that’s going to cause a lack of exercise, another problem associated with the diet.
The information supplied in this article is not to be considered as medical advice and is for educational purposes only.
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