Some of the popular diets are low carbohydrate diets, low fat diets, correct carbohydrates diet and perfect proportions and careful combinations diet. Atkins diet is one of the popular diets recommended for weight reduction. In this article, the benefits and harms of Atkins diet will be explored through review of literature and critical analysis.
Atkins diet is a type of low carbohydrate diet that was first introduced by Dr.Robert. C. Atkin in 1972 and revolutionized in the 1990s (Goodwin, 2006). The diet mainly constitutes high-protein meats, poultry, eggs and full-fat dairy products. The diet banishes carbohydrate foods like rice, bread and pasta and encourages intake of high-protein, high-fat food. Atkins diet is based on the fact that consumption of carbohydrates raises the glucose levels in the blood which in turn triggers insulin secretion from the pancreas (Harvard Medical School, 2007). However, high insulin levels make the person feel hungry and this again leads to increased carbohydrate intake. Carbohydrate meal is more satisfying and people prefer to eat such meals when they are hungry. The weight gain thus continues. On the other hand, fatty diet is more satisfying and filling and people tend to eat less. Fatty diet does not make the insulin levels surge. Also, diets low in carbohydrate cause dehydration because not much water is released in the metabolism. Hence the body mobilizes carbohydrates from the stores in the liver and muscle. This results in weight loss (Harvard Medical School, 2007).
There are basically four phases in the Atkins diet. They are induction, ongoing weight loss, premaintenance and maintenance phases. The duration of each of the phases depends on the extent of obesity of the person and response to the diet. Most often than not, Atkins diet is recommended in the induction phase during which time, carbohydrate intake is restricted to less than 20 grams per day.