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The Atkins Diet Essay

1809 words - 7 pages

The Atkins Diet

Am I fat? This is a question that almost every American says to him or herself everyday. Everyone is concerned with their appearance and wants to look their best all of the time. With the media today, the looks that appear to be “normal” aren’t always achievable for the average person. The question really is, to what extreme will people go to achieve the look that they want? Even if it affects their health, people today are going to great lengths to get their idea of the picture perfect body. Exercise and diets have always been a part of people’s lives, but now the new diet crazes such as the South Beach Diet, Atkins Diet, and the increasing use of diet pills that contain ephedrine, there is controversy as to the affects these diets will have on people’s health.

The most common and advertised diet today is the Atkins Diet. It’s known as the low carbohydrate diet and is known to help people lose great amounts of weight over a rather short span of time (Atkins, 2001). (The diet focuses on four nutritional principles: weight loss-cutting down sufficiently on the intake of carbohydrates, weight maintenance-determining level of carbohydrates that can be consumed in order to still lose weight, good health-meeting all nutritional needs and promoting good health, and finally disease prevention-through the use of this diet it can lower your risk of certain diseases (Atkins, 2001)). Many people use this diet in hopes of losing a sufficient amount of weight over a short period of time. With this low-carbohydrate, high-protein diet it has been a success to many (Atkins 2001), but now the controversy is whether or not it is healthy.

The decrease of carbohydrates and the increase of high protein foods is one of the major concerns of the diet. High protein diets typically contain higher than recommended amounts of cholesterol, saturated fats, and protein, and very low amounts of fiber and other important dietary supplements (PCRM, 2004). “High Protein diets are not recommended because they restrict healthful foods that provide essential nutrients and provide the variety of foods needed to adequately meet nutritional needs. Individuals that follow these diets are at risk for compromised vitamin and mineral intake, as well as potential cardiac, renal, bone, and liver abnormalities (Cohen, 2003).” More specifically the risk for colorectal cancer, heart disease, impaired kidney function and osteoporosis increase greatly with the use of this diet (PCRM, 2004). Colorectal Cancer is one of the most common forms of cancer among the leading causes of cancer-related mortality (PCRM, 2004). Long term high intake of meats, especially red meat, is associated with significantly increased risk of this cancer(PCRM, 2004). Heart disease is the number one cause of death in the United States today. High protein diets are extremely high in dietary cholesterol and saturated fat. High levels of saturated fat clog arteries and pose...

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