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The Atkins's Diet

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The Atkins's Diet

In a society where ones' pants size measures their self worth, it is no wonder why "fad diets," have taken over in the struggle to lose weight. Over the past few decades, Hollywood has painted an unattainable image of the "perfect body." Although many celebrities physical appearance may appear healthy, the measures taken to obtain their body, can cause numerous health risks. It seems as though, every time people turn on their television, or flip through a magazine, there is a new diet claiming to "melt away the pounds." The truth is, dozens of these so-called miracle diets do take off weight- temporarily. The question people are then left with is, what diets really work?

The definition of diets is, regulated selections of foods, specially designed and prescribed for medical and/or general nutritional purposes. The purpose of diets is to promote an overall lifetime-wellness plan for good health ( Larson). Recently, there has been more interest by the public, geared towards the Revolutionary Atkins' diet. Although the Atkins' diet appears to be the dream diet in the battle against the bulge, it can cause serious health problems if done incorrectly ( Dr. Atkins' 72-80).

The Atkins' diet is a high-protein, low-carbohydrate diet, which has been attributed to the weight loss success of thousands. The Atkins' diet is based on the belief, that by increasing protein and decreasing carbohydrates, the body is forced to burn stored fat. Many researchers,

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who study the success of diets rich in protein, believe that insulin is the hormone that makes people fat. The body is an energy machine that powers its operations mainly through the use of glucose. Glucose, which is a basic form of sugar found in the blood, is predominantly found in carbohydrates. After consuming carbohydrates, the blood-sugar levels in the body are raised. When the sugar in the blood is raised, a hormone known as insulin is secreted. The insulin then converts a portion of the glucose into glycogen, which is found in muscle tissue and the liver. If the glycogen storage areas are filled, and there is still more glucose in the blood, that the body does not need, the remaining glucose is then converted into triglyceride. Triglyceride is the main chemical component of adipose tissue- otherwise known as the visible fat on the body ( Dr. Atkins' 46-50).

How does the Atkins' diet differ from other diets? Why is it that, through eating protein rich foods, and eliminating foods such as breads and pastas, that people are able to trim their waistline? The answer is ketosis. When following a low-carbohydrate diet, people force their bodies into a ketogenic state, forcing them to burn stored fat. Once a person begins the Atkins' diet, the high consumption of protein, will cause the insulin levels to become normal. At this point, the body will then begin to release ketones. These ketones, will then be released through a persons breath or urine, and is proof that their body is burning stored fat (Dr. Atkins' 52-54).

Before beginning the Atkins' diet, there are a few pre-diet steps. The first step is discontinuing the use of any unnecessary medications. It is also advised, that people schedule an appointment with their primary care physician. The purpose of this is to inform them of their overall health, prior to starting the diet. Through obtaining their cholesterol, triglyceride, glucose

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and insulin levels, people can measure their success in future medical check-ups ( Dr. Atkins' 72-74).

Once the proper medical precautions have taken place, people can begin what is known as the 14-day induction diet. The rules of the induction diet, although difficult to adjust to at first, are quite simple. The diet allows for no more than 20grams of carbohydrates per day. However, the carbohydrates must come from green vegetables, such as salad and asparagus. The diet does not allow any of the following: bread, pasta, fruit, grains or sugar. Even the most minuscule

amounts of these foods during the induction diet, will ruin the body's goal of achieving ketosis. What this diet does allow however, is the unlimited consumption of all meats, fish, fowl, shellfish, eggs and cheese. A typical meal plan for a day, on the induction diet, would be as follows:

Breakfast: a three- egg, ham and cheese omelet, two bacon slices and coffee or tea with

half and half and artificial sweetener.

Lunch: a large chef salad ,with the choice of oil and vinegar, bleu cheese or ranch

dressing. Water, herbal tea or diet soda to drink.

Dinner: a Gorgonzola-encrusted Rybeye, served with steamed asparagus, and a small

salad with dressing. Water, herbal tea or diet soda.

Dessert: a Ð... cup of sugar-free, JELLO chocolate pudding, made with heavy whipping

cream as opposed to milk.

Once obtaining the list of the allowed or "free foods," on the Atkins' diet, it is easy for people to design their own personal meal plan during the induction period ( Dr. Atkins' 79-82).

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On the 14th day of the induction diet, it is time to measure the results. Those who follow the diet correctly, should be experiencing numerous health benefits. First, they should be losing weight easily. Second, they should begin feeling more vigorous and energetic. Finally, they should be experiencing a decrease in headaches and body aches ( Dr. Atkins' 98-101). One of the many people, who have attributed their weight loss success to Dr. Atkins diet, is Sara Williams. Sara, began the diet on August 20th, and her starting weight was 180 pounds. Sara recorded her results every week. Upon her completion of the induction diet, she had recorded a total of 10 pounds lost. It has been 12 weeks since she started the Atkins' diet, and she has now lost a total of 30 pounds ( Sara Williams).

The Atkins' diet seems to be the answer to weight loss success. Why then, does it receive so much controversy? The truth is that, many physicians oppose diets rich in protein and high in fat. Because these diets are extremely high in dietary cholesterol and saturated fat, some doctors believe they can lead to serious cardiovascular diseases. The Physicians Advisory for the Atkins'

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