Attkins: Hoax or Legitimate Diet?
I will confess I had dismissed Atkins as a total hoax, especially when my
mom’s fifty-three-year-old friend developed serious osteoporosis, after a
few years on the diet. Now, having researched the Atkins diet, I've
learned there is a lot that's positive about Atkins' approach. Still, I'm
convinced there are better ways to get the benefits of Atkins without its
As you're undoubtedly aware, Dr. Atkins' basic premise is that we've all
been eating too many carbohydrates, especially refined white flour and
sugar. “If you Replace most of those carbohydrates with more fat and more
protein”, says Atkins, “then you'll lose weight.” However, contrary to
popular opinion, Atkins is not a "no carb" diet. Even in its strict
initial "induction" phase, Atkins allows three cups of salad greens or two
cups of greens plus one cup of chopped non-starchy veggies like broccoli
or red peppers. You must remember fruits and vegetables are carbs!
Gradually anyone on this diet is suppose to increase their carbs in their
diet until they discover their individual Atkins Carbohydrate Equilibrium
(ACE), which is the level of carbohydrate consumption at which you will
not gain weight.
It is factual that much of the rise in American obesity and diabetes can
be pinned on our enormous consumption of refined carbohydrates. A person’s
body turns carbohydrates into glucose (blood sugar) to fuel your body.
Intaking too much glucose too quickly your body will be overstrained; your
pancreas must extract excess insulin to rush the excess glucose out of the
blood stream, and into your fat cells. If you eat fewer carbs or limit
yourself to whole unrefined carbs that transform slowly into glucose,
you'll go easy on your pancreas, avoid diabetes, and stop feeding your fat
That's mainstream nutrition science. But what's the best way to limit your
carbohydrates? Dr. Atkins uses a concept he calls net carbs. From the
carb count of every food, he deducts any fiber and sugar alcohols
(maltitol, sorbitol, mannitol, etc.), arguing that these types of
carbohydrates do not spark insulin production and fat storage. It's true
that different carbohydrates have a different effect on your blood sugar.
The twenty three carb grams in a cup of cheerios will cause a much quicker
rise in blood sugar than the same amount of carbs in a half cup of
lentils. It's essential to your health to understand how to
distinguish "good carbs" from "bad carbs."
Counting net carbs, however, is a tedious and difficult way to sort the
good from the bad; unless you're conveniently...