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Atkins Diet

Healthy Eating and the Atkins Diet

Dr. Robert Atkins is probably the most famous advocate of a low-carb diet, but he wasn't the first one to recognize that the reduction of refined carbohydrates is the basis for many of the most effective weight loss programs. Dr. Atkins published his diet book in 1972 after reading a 1958 study paper written by Dr. Alfred Pennington. In 1961, Dr. Herman Taller wrote a book entitled "Calories Don't Count." Dr. Taller promoted a low-carb diet reinforced by ingesting about four ounces of polyunsaturated oil, particularly safflower oil. Taller used the diet to correct his own problem with chronic obesity. In 1964, Robert Cameron wrote a diet pamphlet called "The Drinking Man's Diet." Cameron did not advocate drinking, but was promoting a low-carbohydrate diet with an occasional carbohydrate-free cocktail.

The whole point is that high-protein, low-carbohydrate diets do work. Overweight people, even the morbidly obese, have experienced weight loss while using the Atkins Diet. Most of these have been able to keep the weight off as long as they followed the principles set forth by Dr. Atkins. These principles were tested scientifically and have been found to be healthy when followed closely. The Atkins program received a lot of criticism as being "unhealthy," but research done at a major medical school proved otherwise.

Our diets should collectively contain protein, carbohydrates, fats, and fibers. All of these are necessary for a healthy diet, but some of them can trigger a negative metabolic response. Carbs are the source of energy, but refined carbohydrates, those made up of processed sugars and starches, can trigger a negative insulin response that will cause the body to store fat. Protein in the diet is necessary for the rebuilding of muscle tissue. Fat from meats and polyunsaturated fats from vegetables provide energy and assist in the absorption of protein by the cells. Fiber aids in digestion of food and elimination of waste.

Dr. Robert Atkins used ketosis as the basis for measuring diet success. "When the body is burning stored fat," said the good doctor, "ketones form in the body." This ketosis is measured by using ketone strips dipped in the dieter's urine. The strip turns color if ketosis is ongoing; blue if mild and increasing darker as the ketones increase. Dark purple is the acme of the scale.

Like most of the low-carb diets, Atkins advocated the limiting of carbohydrate intake to less than 60 grams per day. This enables the dieter to eat nutritionally-balanced meals of meats, vegetables, and fruits by referring to a carbohydrate content chart. The dieter quickly learns which foods have the highest carb count and eliminates those from their diet.

Healthy Eating