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The Controversial Atkins Diet

Essay by   •  February 19, 2011  •  Essay  •  1,035 Words (5 Pages)  •  1,110 Views

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The Controversial Atkins Diet

The Atkins diet is a controversial topic to discuss. Now, having deeply researched the Atkins diet, I have learned there is a lot that is positive about Atkins' approach. Still, I'm convinced there are better ways to get the benefits of Atkins without its downsides. By eating healthily and exercising, a person can reap the same benefits.

As you're undoubtedly aware, Dr. Atkins' basic premise is that we've all been eating too many carbohydrates, especially refined white flour and sugar. "If you Replace most of those carbohydrates with more fat and more protein", says Atkins, "then you'll lose weight."(Atkins, 4) However, contrary to popular opinion, Atkins is not a "no carb" diet. Even in its strict initial "induction" phase, Atkins allows three cups of salad greens or two cups of greens plus one cup of chopped starchy veggies like broccoli or red peppers. Gradually anyone on this diet is suppose to increase their carbs in their diet until they discover their individual Atkins Carbohydrate Equilibrium (ACE), which is the level of carbohydrate consumption at which you will not gain weight. However, many people miscalculate or don't calculate their carbs at all. These people potentially suffer from unexpected side effects or they gain even more weight.

It is factual that much of the rise in American obesity and diabetes can be pinned on our enormous consumption of refined carbohydrates. However, most of the studies have been performed on obese people. If scientists were to study an average weight American, I am sure they would have different results. There are many factors that come into play, exercise being one of the most important. Exercise is essential to a healthy lifestyle. Exercise makes a person's heart stronger, helping it pump more blood with each heart beat. The blood then delivers more oxygen to the body, which helps it function more efficiently. Exercise can also lower blood pressure, reduce a persons risk of heart disease and reduce levels of LDL (bad cholesterol), which clogs the arteries and can cause a heart attack. At the same time, exercise can raise levels of HDL (good cholesterol), which helps protect against heart disease. Combined with a healthy diet, exercise can speed up weight loss. Exercise can also maintain weight loss; it helps people burn calories faster, even while they are sitting still. Furthermore, the majority of obese people that are studied are unhealthy beforehand, and therefore a high consumption of carbs is not the only factor linked to obesity; having no exercise can make a person obese too.

Since scientist now believe that high carbs are easily correlated with obesity, the best way to limit carbohydrates, is to keep track of how many grams are consumed. Dr. Atkins uses a concept he calls net carbs. From the carb count of every food, he deducts any fiber and sugar alcohols (maltitol, sorbitol, mannitol, etc.), arguing that these types of carbohydrates do not spark insulin production and fat storage. It's true that different carbohydrates have a different effect on your blood sugar. The twenty- three carb grams in a cup of lucky charms will cause a much quicker rise in blood sugar than the same amount of carbs in a half cup of healthy lentils. Therefore, it's essential to your health to understand how to distinguish "good carbs" from "bad carbs."

On the other hand counting net carbs, however, is a tedious and difficult way to sort the good from the bad; unless you're conveniently eating "Low Net Carb" products sold by Atkins Nutritionals or carrying around the net carbs chart from the back of an Atkins book. Some people believe the Atkins diet is unreasonable

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