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How To Lose Weight Essay

1951 words - 8 pages

Americans are more overweight today than ever before. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), more than one third of U.S. adults – over 72 million people, were obese in 2007-2008. This includes 32.2% of men and 35.5% of women (CDC 2). With the high rate of obesity in the United States, dieting and weight loss is on the minds of many Americans. In the text book, “Nutrition – an Applied Approach”, Thompson and Manore describe a healthful diet as one that offers a variety of foods, is balanced, and that also provides an appropriate amount of nutrients to maintain a healthy weight (39). The best way to choose a diet plan is to evaluate which plan would be the healthiest for you, while enabling you to have the most success with your weight loss efforts. In reviewing diets, your choices include confined diets, money-hungry diets, and the wisest choice, the real world diet.
The two most popular “confining” diets are the Atkins Diet and the South Beach Diet, both of which restrict the amount of carbohydrates a person can consume. Dr. Robert Atkins, the founder of the Atkins Diet, addresses the fact that carbohydrates need to be burned immediately, and if they are not, then they are stored in the body as fat. His argument is that if you considerably reduce the amounts of carbohydrates you are consuming, your body would switch to burning fat, which would in turn lead to weight loss (Atkins 1). The Atkins plan consists of four phases, with the first phase being almost 100% confining, limiting daily carbohydrate intake to only twenty grams. This phase is to last a minimum of two weeks, and continue until the person is making considerable progress towards his or her goal weight. During the second phase, the dieter would gradually add fruits and vegetables to their diet in five gram increments as long as the person’s weight is still decreasing. Phase three allows the dieter to continue to add more carbohydrates at a rate of ten grams per day until the person reaches his or her goal weight, at which time that person would enter phase 4 of the plan, known as the maintenance phase.
The South Beach Diet is similar to Atkins Diet in that it restricts a person’s carbohydrate intake in the initial phase of a three phase weight loss cycle (Agatson 1). This diet also allows a person to gradually add carbohydrates as she gets closer to her goal weight. While both the Atkins and the South Beach diets do encourage portion control, eating regularly, drinking water, and having an active lifestyle, there are also problems associated with this type of diet. One problem is that carbohydrates are the body’s main source of energy, so by drastically reducing the amount of carbohydrates a person is consuming, the energy level is also going to be decreased. Another potential problem with carbohydrate restricting diets is that if a person reduces carbohydrates too much it can cause ketoacidosis. This is a condition in which the body has too many...

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