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Does the Atkins Diet Really Work?

The Atkins Diet, also known as the Atkins Nutritional Approach is a diet program that is developed by Doctor Robert Atkins, focusing on low-carbohydrate meal plans. The Atkins Diet has been one of the most popular diet programs in the US because it has a great, long-term plan for shedding off the excess pounds as well as proper weight management. This diet provides a completely different manner to look at food – it explains that having the right meal plan and eating the right type of food can alter the way your body works. With Atkins, you can convert a fat-storing body to a body that burns more fat than ever before.

Atkins Diet Reviews

Yes - It does work
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Question is, does it work? Yes, it does work. You will lose weight quickly if you eat just meat. If it were possible to eat lean meats and a few vegetables I don’t think this diet would be that bad for you. It works well to get over the sugar addiction, you can eat all you want and anytime you want. Unfortunately I found it impossible to maintain as I was so bored with just eating meat and cheese. I absolutely think the best option is eating lean meats vegetables and throw in some fruit so you don’t go crazy. My weight-loss slowed down, but it was easier to maintain.

May 26th, 2015
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No - Dangerous and lethal long-term!
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The Atkins diet is dangerous, misleading and ultimately ineffective. However, there’s enough truth around it to make a compelling story… but it’s almost as though Atkins and his acolytes read took just half Nutrition 101 and ignored the rest. Atkins is based on the faulty interpretation of research in Europe going back 80 or more years.

Yes, excessively bio-available carbs (sugar, white flour) will raise cholesterol, increase fat and increase the risk of heart disease, but no carbohydrates at all is really STUPID !
Yes, there is such a thing as glycogen reduction through carbohydrate deprivation thereby building up the fat enzymes in the blood to cause ketosis. But extending this carbohydrate regime for more than 3 days is NOT healthy (want to have a ketone like acetone (nail-varnish remover running around your arteries?) Extending carbohydrate deprivation for longer than 2 weeks could damage kidneys, and extending this for months is simply INSANE!

However, Atkins major misunderstanding is that there is a major difference between the bio-available carbohydrates present in soft-drinks, fruit juices, sugar, potatoes, and rice and those present in veggies. You would have to eat around 60 lbs of cooked cabbage or celery to get all your calories, and most veggies contain only a handful of Calories per ounce. The process of digesting vegetables probably consumes more energy than it contributes while contributing valuable nutrients, anti-oxidants and indigestible cellulose to the diet.

But vegetables perform an even more important function – they keep the body alkaline at a healthy pH of 7.4, to counteract the tendency of meat, fish and cheese to acidify the body. In addition, they minimize the gastric effects of too much protein. Even those veggies or cereals that are rich in starch such as potatoes, rice or whole-wheat flour are usually eaten with other foods (butter, cheese) that slow down breakdown to sugars in the gut and the absorption of that sugar.

Having said that, it is possible that Atkins could help users lose weight and transition to a more healthy diet, but my suggestion would be to sign on to a healthy diet with maybe just 3 days of Atkins at the very beginning. And a balanced diet is much easier to maintain for life with no feelings of deprivation.
And as for desserts and chocolate… why not? Once the taste buds have lost their lust for sugar and sweetness, far less dessert or ice cream will be needed to satisfy.

(PS: Gary Taubes book “Why we get fat” is a readable and useful primer in this area.)

Iain Stewart
March 17th, 2011
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Yes - It Works!
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This diet is the only diet that works and works fast! It will reduce cholestorol, tryclicerides, and even reduce the need for insulin , all while helping you to lose wight. Recipies are everywhere – you dont need to go without much – except sugar and carbs. There is a subsitute for just about everything. Even desserts! My favorite: low carb peanut butter fudge – Yummmm! And cheesecake is already a rich dessert – just make it with splenda and a crust made out of crushed nuts and butter. The previous guy wrote about the bathroom stinky part – but hey…. any change in diet must come out somewhere – i dont know of anyone who smells good – no matter what kind of diet. The diet IS hard to stick by – but it works -with a little will power – just depends on how determined you are to lose weight.

September 15th, 2010
Gloucester, VA
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No - Looks easy; hard to maintain
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By now, millions have tried this diet; some swear by it, while others proclaim it dangerous, unsatisfying, or just plain baloney. I am among the latter. I followed the Atkins Diet for about 4 months in the summer and fall of 2001, at the insistence of friends who’d been on it for at least a year. That they were both a couple of tub o’ lards didn’t sink in. (Call me naive.) In the first 2 weeks of the diet, you are heavily restricted as to what you can eat (not “how much”, just “what” – with Atkins, portion control is tossed out the window) so that your body goes into a state called “ketosis”, in which you allegedly rid your body of excess carbohydrates and burn off the sugars in your system. At about this time, all the tomato plants we’d planted began to bloom, making my partner very happy to munch away on them, while I was stuck being envious and miserable because tomatoes are verboten on this diet plan. Pressing on, I faithfully adhered to the plan and ate all the rich, fatty meats and cheeses my now-greasy hands could wrap around. Unlimited amounts of meat and cheese is a big selling point of Atkins, and many get wide-eyed and express the kind of sheer glee one would expect to find in a small child being given a new puppy. And yes, I was one of them. Initially. Unfortunately, by the end of that first month – and I thought this could NEVER happen! – I was pretty sick of meat and cheese. I craved vegetables – all kinds of wonderful vegetables! – like never before, and I’ve ALWAYS loved veggies. One aspect of the diet that they CERTAINLY do not tell you about in the book, and which only your CLOSEST friends will ever tell you about, is the room-clearing, paint-peeling effect your gas will create, thanks to the gobs of cheese, gallons of heavy cream (regular milk not being allowed), sides of beef and slabs of bacon you’ve consumed. And this isn’t just the discreet kind of gas where you just excuse yourself for a moment, take care of business outside, and pop right back in like nothing happened. Oh no! I’m talking “sonic boom” kind of gas, where there is NO MISTAKING who did it! None of that “silent but deadly” here! You will also find yourself getting REAL acquainted with bathrooms. Your own, your friends’, your family’s, anywhere, anytime, ALL THE TIME. (Any surprise they don’t write about this in the book???) And, because most meat products (especially bacon) and cheeses have a healthy dose of sodium, you’ll also be guzzling water like CRAZY. As a naturally big guy, I drink A LOT OF WATER. Always have. But with Atkins I felt like I could never get enough! I would drink – in one sitting – a gallon of water…and then start a second! But what finally made me stop the diet was that it is ultimately unsatisfying. If you LOVE FOOD – and I mean REALLY LOVE FOOD – you’ll be unhappy. If you eat a lot of rice (like I do), forget Atkins; rice – like potatoes and starches – is verboten. Oh, they may say “down the road” you can eat teeny, tiny portions of it but those portions are so small as to be an insult, certainly not worth even preparing it. And vegetables: if you enjoy veggies, this is not the diet for you. Cauliflower, broccoli, and asparagus are about it, really, and while I love them, that’s not much to go on. And then there are desserts. Like dessert? Hmmm? Oh well! Too bad for you! All you’re going to get, really, is Jell-O. I don’t much care for gelatin so about all I could make was sugar-free pudding mix with heavy cream (again, milk isn’t allowed…ever), which creates a mousse so thick you could spackle with it. Rich??? Oh man! Literally, one or two spoonfuls of the stuff was more than enough. Now, there are probably other desserts you can make, but Atkins forgets that people – especially FAT PEOPLE – don’t just love meats and cheeses, after all; we love DESSERT, too. Did I lose weight, though? Yup. Lost 40 pounds in 4 months. LOOKED great but my insides felt greased-up and I was miserable knowing I couldn’t eat the healthy foods I was craving like never before. Would I recommend Atkins? Well…no. Yeah, it works, but for the long-term? I don’t think so. And Atkins can be EXPENSIVE, something else you won’t find in the book and which friends and colleagues might forget to add. Unless you’ve been living under a bridge or on Mars, you KNOW the price of meat, cheese, and cream already are. Now imagine buying a cart FILLED with all those goodies. Meat, cheese, and cream for breakfast. Meat, cheese, and cream for lunch. Meat, cheese, and – you’ll be excused for burping for the umpteenth time today – cream for dinner. And for snacks? Oh yeah, you guessed it: meat, cheese, and cream! HOORAY! I always encourage those who tell me they’re going to try it to “be prepared”, and when they ask “why”, I tell them everything. EVERYTHING! No punches pulled. I would normally received one of those shocked, sorry-to-be-YOU looks, as if it could NEVER happen to THEM, and I say to them what I say to you now: “You’ve been warned.”

John Abramson
September 16th, 2009
Key West, FL, USA
8 of 11 people found this review helpful.
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