The Atkins Diet Theory

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By Tess Thompson

The Atkins diet is among the most popular low-carbohydrate diets. It is also perhaps one of the most controversial ones. Many experts have doubts about whether it promotes healthy weight loss, since a health weight loss plan is meant to focus on health as much as a reduction in weight.

The essence of the Atkins weight loss program is based on a belief that carbohydrates are the underlying cause of obesity. Reducing carbohydrate intake, the theory suggests, results in natural weight loss without making you feel hungry all the time. In addition, it also claims to reduce the risk of heart disease and improve memory.

The theory behind the Atkins diet is that when the amount of carbohydrates in your diet is reduced to a minimum, the body goes into a state of ketosis-- meaning that instead of burning carbohydrates, the body starts to burn stored fat to meet its energy requirements. The state of ketosis also reduces appetite. Therefore, one ends up eating less than what one normally would. Since excess fat tends to gather on the hips, belly and thighs, the body automatically starts to burn this stored fat when carbohydrates are not being ingested. This phenomenon results in natural weight loss.

On the other hand, when the intake of carbohydrates is high, the body quickly converts the carbohydrates into sugar, which enters the blood stream. To maintain blood sugar levels, the body secretes insulin. Insulin enables the glucose to be stored in the body as glycogen in the liver and muscles. Once these storehouses of fat are filled (something that occurs fairly quickly) to capacity, the insulin converts the extra sugar to fat. Ketosis, as the theory states, burns excess fat-- and the body resumes normal metabolic function after some time.

Perhaps the major reason behind the large popularity of the Atkins diet is that it allows and encourages foods that most dieters dream about. In the process of following this diet, you may actually consume more calories than ever before-- mainly because the diet includes foods that have a high fat and protein content. Red meat, fish (including shellfish) and butter is allowed in the diet. Even mayonnaise with tuna and olive oil on salads is fine. Regular cheese is allowed instead of low-calorie. Even though you may feel that the recommendations of the diet are weird and seem to defy logic, it is extremely essential to follow the guidelines in the induction phase, as these guidelines kick-start the weight loss program.

In the Atkins diet, there is little emphasis on exercise, but it is still a highly recommended way of how to naturally lose weight fast. Instead, it suggests supplemental vitamins to remain healthy.

The diet restricts carbohydrates to 20 grams (net of fiber) per day, even as the well-accepted theory is that most of us need at least 40 grams per day. Even though the logic and theory of the Atkins diet is sound, a balanced diet which includes the minimum level of all nutrients is essential.

While supplements can be taken for ingesting the adequate amount of iron and minerals, intake of a basic minimum level of carbohydrate is essential for the proper functioning of the body.


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