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Atkins Diet Positives and Negatives

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Updated July 20, 2008

Atkins Diet Book Image Courtesy of Pricegrabber

Note:

This discussion of the positives and negatives of Atkins is apart from those of low-carb diets in general. People whose bodies are suited to low-carb eating tend to feel better on them, be less hungry, and have positive health responses (lower triglyercides and blood glucose; lower blood pressure, higher HDL, among others ).

Positives of The Atkins Diet:



The thrill of eating "forbidden foods" - Atkins dieters are often very happy to find that steak, butter, and cream are back in their diets. They should note, however, that Dr. Atkins advocates eating a variety of fats, and not neglect olive oil and Omega-3's.

It�s relatively simple to catch on to - After you learn what foods to eat and some basic carb counts, you don�t have to think about it much.
It emphasizes finding your own carb level � To me, this is the biggest strength of the diet. I do think it�s clear that different people have different levels of sensitivity to carbohydrates, and it�s a big plus to attempt to help people zero in on that.

It�s popular and therefore easy to find support and information. There are a lot of Web sites devoted to Atkins, and your library probably has quite a few of the books.

Negatives of the Atkins Diet:



It�s popular. Everyone has heard of it � and almost everyone seems to have misconceptions about it. If you talk about your diet, you may get to feel that you�re defending it a lot.

It requires counting the carbs in everything your eat.

Induction - The most controversial aspect of the diet is the Induction phase, and it has become so identified with Atkins that many people think it IS the diet. Induction has several difficulties:
�Carb Crash� � Some people have a negative reaction to the diet around days 3-5. Although the cure is easy (eat more carbs) and the reaction would transient in any case, people have a lasting memory of this feeling � I have met many people who were turned off low-carb diets altogether by this reaction. More on Carb Crash
Getting all necessary nutrients on an extremely low amount of carbohydrate. This wouldn�t be so bad if Induction truly only lasted two weeks, but many people extend it, and Atkins says that some people who are extremely �metabolically resistant� will need to stay on a very low-carb diet permanently to lose weight or maintain weight loss. Although vitamins and minerals can be replaced with supplements, phytonutrients cannot, to the detriment of long-term health.
Boredom - For all but the most creative, a very low-carb diet such as Induction gets very boring very quickly � another thing that turns a lot of people away from low-carb diets.
After Induction, the main negative is that it takes a lot of fiddling to figure out what carb level is going to work for each person. I don�t know many who actually stick precisely to the �rules� � adding exactly 5 daily carbs every week, for example. On the other hand, it really does take some experimentation for many of us to figure out what works best of us, and it�s nice that Atkins provides some guidance.

Check Out My Opinion of Atkins' Induction Phase::

  1. About.com
  2. Health
  3. Low Carb Diets
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  5. Atkins Diet Pros and Cons - Weighing the Positives and Negatives of the Atkins Diet

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