Side Effects of Atkins Diet
What are some side effects of Atkins diet, a high protein weight loss program?
The Atkins diet became one of the most popular diets beginning in the late 1990s. By 2003, it seemed everyone had either tried the diet, or knew someone who had.
The diet, developed by Dr. Robert Atkins, has followers fill up on high-fat foods while eliminating most carbohydrate heavy products such as bread, potatoes, pasta, rice, chocolate, crisps, biscuits, and cake. Even traditionally safe foods, like fruit, milk and some vegetables, cannot be consumed in the early stages.
Nutrition experts have worried for years about the possible adverse reactions and negative side effects of Atkins diet, which is a radical diet, and new evidence and studies seem to suggest that this diet, though effective in the short term, does indeed have many unpleasant health risks associated with it.
The Atkins theory states that the body must use its fat stores to provide the energy it would otherwise obtain from carbohydrates, once the carbohydrates have been cut from the diet. You will burn more calories as you burn fat, and thus you will lose weight faster than if you tried to cut fat instead of carbohydrates.
Additionally, blood sugar levels will remain more stable throughout the day after cutting the carbohydrates, and craving leading to overeating should also decrease, further aiding rapid weight loss.
As encouraging as this seems, unpleasant side effects of Atkins diet have be documented. The body enters a state called ketosis as it burns fats, because burning fats results in the production of ketones. Ketosis can cause bad breath (halitosis), chronic fatigue, weakness, lightheadedness, insomnia and nausea. Some individuals also experience constipation as a consequence of avoiding typically high-fiber foods such as fruits, vegetables, beans and legumes, whole wheat pasta, brown rice, and wholegrain breakfast cereals.
Should the diet be continued for longer than a few months, many health professionals have expressed concern that dieters will encounter even more serious dangers and side effects of Atkins diet. The high intake of fat, particularly saturates, may increase the risk of coronary heart disease.
Another of the side effects of Atkins diet is that its unbalanced nature may also lead to nutritional deficiencies, which cannot be supplemented with a daily multivitamin. Nutritional deficiencies cause health problems in later life, but are also especially concerning if the dieter is young and still developing.
For example, poor intakes of bone-building calcium (found in dairy products) may increase the risk of osteoporosis, while meager rations of antioxidant nutrients (found in fruits and vegetables) have been linked with a host of health problems, ranging from heart disease and cancer to premature ageing and cataracts. Some experts are also worried that high intakes of protein may cause kidney problems or further weaken bones.
A less frightening, but still concerning, issue stems from the lack of variety in the diet. Such boring diets rarely provide the results that they promise because people cannot stick to them. Likewise, a vegetarian cannot possibly follow the diet due to the over emphasis on meat products.
Furthermore, other sources of protein - nuts, seeds, beans and many vegetables - can be found on the banned list in the early phases. Most nutritional experts believe the Atkins plan fails to teach people about the basic principles of a balanced, healthy diet, but rather glorifies quick fix measures that can be detrimental to long term health. Rumors that Dr Atkins suffered from heart problems and obesity at the time of his death have further tarnished the popularity of this radical diet, and as of this writing its popularity has dropped significantly in favor of new and more balanced diet trends.
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