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Atkins Diet

Atkins diet

Definition

The Atkins diet is a high-protein, high-fat, very low-carbohydrate regimen. It emphasizes meat, cheese, and eggs, while discouraging foods such as bread, pasta, fruit, and sugar. It is a form of ketogenic diet.

Origins

Robert C. Atkins, a cardiologist and internist, developed the diet in the early 1970s. It first came to public attention in 1972 with the publication of Dr. Atkins' Diet Revolution. It quickly became a bestseller but unlike most other fad diets , has remained popular. At last count, it had sold more than 15 million copies worldwide. Since then, Atkins authored a number of other books on his diet theme before his accidental death in 2003.

Benefits

The primary benefit of the diet is rapid and substantial weight loss. By restricting carbohydrate intake, the body will burn more fat stored in the body. Since there are no limits on the amount of calories or quantities of foods allowed on the diet, there is little hunger between meals. According to Atkins, the diet can alleviate symptoms of conditions such as fatigue , irritability, headaches, depression , and some types of joint and muscle pain .

Description

The regimen is a low-carbohydrate, or ketogenic diet, characterized by initial rapid weight loss, usually due to water loss. Drastically reducing the amount of carbohydrate intake causes liver and muscle glycogen loss, which has a strong but temporary diuretic effect. Long-term weight loss is said to occur because with a low amount of carbohydrate intake, the body burns stored fat for energy.

The four-step diet starts with a two-week induction program designed to rebalance an individual's metabolism. Unlimited amounts of fat and protein are allowed but carbohydrate intake is restricted to 15-20 grams per day. Foods allowed include butter, oil, meat, poultry, fish, eggs, cheese, and cream. The daily amount of carbohydrates allowed equals about three cups of salad vegetables, such as lettuce, cucumbers, and celery.

The second stage is for ongoing weight loss. It allows 15-40 grams of carbohydrates a day. When the individual is about 10 pounds from their desired weight, they begin the pre-maintenance phase. This gradually adds one to three servings a week of high carbohydrate foods, such as a piece of fruit or slice of whole-wheat bread. When the desired weight is reached, the maintenance stage begins. It allows 40-60 grams of carbohydrates per day.

Preparations

No advance preparation is needed to go on the diet. However, as with most diets, it is generally considered appropriate to consult with a physician and to have a physical evaluation before starting such a nutritional regimen. The evaluation should include blood tests to determine levels of cholesterol , triglycerides, glucose, insulin, and uric acid. A glucose tolerance test also is recommended.

Precautions

Adherence to the Atkins diet can result in vitamin and mineral deficiencies. In his books, Atkins recommends a wide range of nutritional supplements, including a multi-vitamin. Among his recommendations, Atkins suggests the following daily dosages: 300-600 micrograms (mcg) of chromium picolinate, 100-400 milligrams (mg) of pantetheine, 200 mcg of selenium , and 450-675 mcg of biotin .

The diet is not recommended for lacto-ovo vegetarians, since it cannot be done as successfully without protein derived from animal products. Also, vegans cannot follow this diet, since a vegan diet is too high in carbohydrates, according to Atkins. Instead, he recommends vegetarians with a serious weight problem give up vegetarianism , or at least include fish in their diet. In 2003, a physicians group warned that high-protein diets may cause permanent kidney loss in anyone with reduced kidney function. They also can increase people's risk of colon cancer and osteoporosis .

Side effects

According to Atkins, the diet causes no adverse side effects. Many health care professionals disagree. In a fact sheet for the Healthcare Reality Check Web site (http://www.hcrc.org), Ellen Coleman, a registered dietician and author, said the diet may have serious side effects for some people. She said complications associated with the diet include ketosis, dehydration, electrolyte loss, calcium depletion, weakness, nausea , and kidney problems. "It is certainly riskier for overweight individuals with medical problems such as heart disease, hypertension , kidney disease, and diabetes than it is for over-weight people with no health problems," she said.

People with diabetes taking insulin are at risk of becoming hypoglycemic if they do not eat appropriate carbohydrates. Also, persons who exercise regularly may experience low energy levels and muscle fatigue from low carbohydrate intake.

Research & general acceptance

Opinion from the general medical community remains mixed on the Atkins diet, but is generally unfavorable. There have been no significant long-term scientific studies on the diet. A number of leading medical and health organizations, including the American Medical Association, American Dietetic Association (ADA), and the American Heart Association oppose it. It is drastically different than the dietary intakes recommended by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the National Institutes of Health. Much of the opposition is because the diet lacks some vitamins and nutrients, and because it is high in fat. In a hearing before the U.S. Congress on February 24, 2000, an ADA representative called the Atkins diet "hazardous" and said it lacked scientific credibility.

Just a month after Dr. Atkins' death, two studies offering scientific support of the diet's claims emerged. The research found that people lost weight without raising their cholesterol. However, one of the studies showed that at the end of one year, dieters regained much of the weight.

DR. ROBERT C. ATKINS 19302003


Dr. Robert C. Atkins graduated from the University of Michigan in 1951 and received his medical degree from Cornell University Medical School in 1955 with a specialty in cardiology. As an internist and cardiologist he developed the Atkins diet in the early 1970s. The diet is a ketogenic dieta high protein, high fat, and very low carbohydrate regimen resulting in ketosis. It emphasizes meat, cheese, and eggs, while discouraging foods such as bread, pasta, fruit, and sugar. It first came to public attention in 1972 with the publication of Dr. Atkins' Diet Revolution. The book quickly became a bestseller but unlike most other fad diet books, this one has remained popular. At last count, it had been reprinted 28 times and sold more than 10 million copies worldwide. Since then, Atkins has authored a number of other books on his diet theme, including Dr. Atkins' New Diet Revolution (1992), Dr. Atkins' Quick and Easy New Diet Cookbook (1997), and The Vita-Nutrient Solution: Nature's Answer to Drugs (1998).

During his life, Atkins saw about 60,000 patients in his more than 30 years of practice. He also appeared on numerous radio and television talk shows, had his own syndicated radio program, Your Health Choices, and authored the monthly newsletter Dr. Atkins' Health Revelations. Atkins received the World Organization of Alternative Medicine's Recognition of Achievement Award and was named the National Health Federation's Man of the Year. He was the director of the Atkins Center for Complementary Medicine which he founded in the early 1980s until his death in 2003. The center is located at 152 E. 55th St., New York, NY 10022.

Ken R. Wells

Training & certification

There is no formal training or certification required.

Resources

BOOKS

Atkins, Dr. Robert C. Dr. Atkins'Age-Defying Diet Revolution. New York: St. Martin's Press. 1999.

Atkins, Dr. Robert C. Dr. Atkins' Diet Revolution: The High Calorie Way to Stay Thin Forever. New York: Bantam Books. 1989.

Atkins, Dr. Robert C. Dr. Atkins' New Diet Revolution. New York City: Avon Books. 1992.

Atkins, Dr. Robert C. Dr. Atkins' Health Revolution: How Complementary Medicine Can Extend Your Life. New York: Bantam Books. 1990.

Atkins, Dr. Robert C. Dr. Atkins'Vita-Nutrient Solution: Nature's Answer to Drugs. New York: Simon & Schuster. 1998.

PERIODICALS

Alger, Alexandra. "Meat's Neat." Forbes (August 11, 1997): 129.

"Atkins Diet Vindicated But Long-term Success Questionable." Obesity, Fitness and Wellness Week (June 14, 2003): 25.

Carroll, Joanne. "The Ketogenic Diet: A Practical Guide for Caregivers." Journal of the American Dietetic Association (March 1998): 316-321.

Cray, Dan, et al. "The Low-Carb Diet Craze." Time (November 1, 1999): 72-79.

"Doctor Group Describes Dangers of Atkins Diet." Obesity, Fitness and Wellness Week (August 9, 2003): 33.

Gotthardt, Melissa Meyers. "The New Low-Carb Diet Craze." Cosmopolitan (February 2000): 148.

Hammock, Delia. "Dr. Atkins' New Diet Revolution." Good Housekeeping (June 1997): 127.

Howe, Maggy. "Excess Pounds." Country Living (November 1995): 60-61.

Merrell, Woodson. "How I Became a Low-Carb Believer." Time (November 1, 1999): 80.

Turner, Richard. "The Trendy Diet That Sizzles." Newsweek September 6, 1999): 60.

OTHER

Atkins Center for Complementary Medicine. 152 E. 55th St., New York, NY 10022. 212-758-2110. http://www.atkinscenter.com.

Ken R. Wells

Teresa G. Odle

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Atkins Diet

Atkins Diet

Definition

The Atkins diet is a high-protein, high-fat, and very low-carbohydrate regimen. It emphasizes meat, cheese, and eggs, while discouraging foods such as bread, pasta, fruit, and sugar. It is a form of ketogenic diet.

Purpose

The primary benefit of the diet is rapid and substantial weight loss. By restricting carbohydrate intake, the body will burn more fat stored in the body. Since there are no limits on the amount of calories or quantities of foods allowed on the diet, there is little hunger between meals. According to Atkins, the diet can alleviate symptoms of conditions such as fatigue, irritability, headaches, depression, and some types of joint and muscle pain.

Description

The regimen is a low-carbohydrate, or ketogenic diet, characterized by initial rapid weight loss, usually due to water loss. Drastically reducing the amount of carbohydrate intake causes liver and muscle glycogen loss, which has a strong but temporary diuretic effect. Long-term weight loss occurs because with a low amount of carbohydrate intake, the body burns stored fat for energy.

The four-step diet starts with a two-week induction program designed to rebalance an individual's metabolism. Unlimited amounts of fat and protein are allowed but carbohydrate intake is restricted to 20 grams per day. Foods allowed include butter, oil, meat, poultry, fish, eggs, cheese, and cream. The daily amount of carbohydrates allowed equals about three cups of salad vegetables, such as lettuce, cucumbers, and celery.

The second stage is for ongoing weight loss. It allows 20-40 grams of carbohydrates a day. When the individual is about 10 pounds from their desired weight, they begin the pre-maintenance phase. This gradually adds one to three servings a week of high carbohydrate foods, such as a piece of fruit or slice of whole-wheat bread. When the desired weight is reached, the maintenance stage begins. It allows 40-60 grams of carbohydrates per day.

Opinion from the general medical community remains mixed on the Atkins diet. There have been no significant long-term scientific studies on the diet. A number of leading medical and health organizations, including the American Medical Association, American Dietetic Association (ADA), and the American Heart Association oppose it. It is drastically different than the dietary intakes recommended by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the National Institutes of Health. Much of the opposition is because the diet is lacking in some vitamins and nutrients, and because it is high in fat. In a hearing before the U.S. Congress on February 24, 2000, an ADA representative called the Atkins diet "hazardous" and said it lacked scientific credibility.

Preparations

No advance preparation is needed to go on the diet. However, as with most diets, it is generally considered appropriate to consult with a physician and to have a physical evaluation before starting such a nutritional regimen. The evaluation should include blood tests to determine levels of cholesterol, triglycerides, glucose, insulin, and uric acid. A glucose tolerance test is also recommended.

Precautions

Adherence to the Atkins diet can result in vitamin and mineral deficiencies. In his books, Atkins recommends a wide-range of nutritional supplements, including a multi-vitamin. Among his recommendations, Atkins suggests the following daily dosages: 300-600 micrograms (mcg) of chromium picolinate, 100-400 milligrams (mg) of pantetheine, 200 mcg of selenium, and 450-675 mcg of biotin.

The diet is not recommended for lacto-ovo vegetarians, since it cannot be done as successfully without protein derived from animal products. Also, vegans cannot follow this diet, since a vegan diet is too high in carbohydrates, according to Atkins. Instead, he recommends vegetarians with a serious weight problem give up vegetarianism, or at least include fish in their diet.

Side effects

According to Atkins, the diet causes no adverse side effects. Many health care professionals disagree. In a fact sheet for the Healthcare Reality Check Web site (http://www.hcrc.org), Ellen Coleman, a registered dietician and author, said the diet may have serious side effects for some people. She said complications associated with the diet include ketosis, dehydration, electrolyte loss, calcium depletion, weakness, nausea, and kidney problems. "It is certainly riskier for overweight individuals with medical problems such as heart disease, hypertension, kidney disease, and diabetes than it is for overweight people with no health problems," she said.

People with diabetes taking insulin are at risk of becoming hypoglycemic if they do not eat appropriate carbohydrates. Also, persons who exercise regularly may experience low energy levels and muscle fatigue from low carbohydrate intake.

DR.ROBERT C. ATKINS (19302003)

Dr. Robert C. Atkins graduated from the University of Michigan in 1951 and received his medical degree from Cornell University Medical School in 1955 with a specialty in cardiology. As an internist and cardiologist he developed the Atkins Diet in the early 1970s. The diet is a ketogenic dieta high protein, high fat, and very low carbohydrate regimen resulting in ketosis. It emphasizes meat, cheese, and eggs, while discouraging foods such as bread, pasta, fruit, and sugar. It first came to public attention in 1972 with the publication of Dr. Atkins' Diet Revolution. The book quickly became a bestseller but unlike most other fad diet books, this one has remained popular. At last count, it had been reprinted 28 times and sold more than 10 million copies worldwide. Since then, Atkins has authored a number of other books on his diet theme, including Dr. Atkins' New Diet Revolution (1992), Dr. Atkins' Quick and Easy New Diet Cookbook (1997), and The Vita-Nutrient Solution: Nature's Answer to Drugs (1998).

Atkins has seen about 60,000 patients in his more than 30 years of practice. He has also appeared on numerous radio and television talk shows, has his own syndicated radio program, Your Health Choices, and authors the monthly newsletter Dr. Atkins' Health Revelations. Atkins has received the World Organization of Alternative Medicine's Recognition of Achievement Award and been named the National Health Federation's Man of the Year. He was the director of the Atkins Center for Complementary Medicine which he founded in the early 1980s until his death. The center is located at 152 E. 55th St., New York, NY 10022.

KEY TERMS

Biotin A B complex vitamin, found naturally in yeast, liver, and egg yolks.

Carbohydrates Neutral compounds of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen found in sugar, starches, and cellulose.

Hypertension Abnormally high arterial blood pressure, which if left untreated can lead to heart disease and stroke.

Ketogenic diet A diet that supplies an abnormally high amount of fat, and small amounts of carbohydrates and protein.

Ketosis An abnormal increase in ketones in the body, usually found in people with uncontrolled diabetes mellitus.

Pantetheine A growth factor substance essential in humans, and a constituent of coenzyme A.

Triglycerides A blood fat lipid that increases the risk for heart disease.

Resources

BOOKS

Atkins, Dr. Robert C. Dr. Atkins' Age-Defying Diet Revolution. New York: St. Martin's Press. 1999.

PERIODICALS

Cray, Dan, et al. "The Low-Carb Diet Craze." Time November 1, 1999: 72-79.

Gotthardt, Melissa Meyers. "The New Low-Carb Diet Craze." Cosmopolitan February 2000: 148.

Merrell, Woodson. "How I Became a Low-Carb Believer." Time November 1, 1999: 80.

Turner, Richard. "The Trendy Diet That Sizzles." Newsweek September 6, 1999: 60.

OTHER

Atkins Center for Complementary Medicine. 152 E. 55th St., New York, NY 10022. 212-758-2110. http://www.atkinscenter.com.

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Atkins diet

Atkins diet Weight reducing diet originally proposed in 1972; a ketogenic diet in which carbohydrate intake is strictly limited but fat and protein are permitted in unlimited amounts. It is effective for weight loss, since ketonaemia reduces appetite, and protein appears to reduce appetite, but it runs counter to modern advice on a prudent diet.

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Atkins diet

At·kins di·et / ˈatkinz/ • n. a diet high in protein and fat and low in carbohydrates, prescribed for weight loss.

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