The Carb-Cutting Atkins Diet
America is getting fatter. Recent statistics have shown large leaps in
percentage the overweight in our country. As the obesity epidemic continues
to grow, companies and nutritionists around the country work at a fanatical
pace to develop new techniques which they claim can help prevent the
emergence of an overweight America. Often, these techniques include diets –
ranging from the highly sensible to the highly controversial. One such meal
plan, which has recently been in the center stage of the media, is the
carb-cutting Atkins Diet. Started in 1972 by the late Dr. Atkins, the diet
of his namesake has had books, TV programs and even energy bars dedicated
to it. One of these bars, the Atkins Advantage® claims to be able to help
with weight loss by lowering sugar levels in the blood, which in turn will
aid in fat burning. One important question remains though: Is this claim
supported? However, before answering this problem, we must first
understand how the diet in question works.
While many diets attempt to limit the number of calories consumed per
meal, the Atkins diet instead tries to lower the carbohydrate content of
these meals. The reasoning comes from the theory that carbohydrates -
complex sugars found in bread and starchy foods, will lead to an increase
in levels of another chemical, insulin. Insulin is a chemical that
regulates several important factors in the human body, including that of
weight and hunger. Nutritionists supporting the Atkins plan believe that
high levels of insulin in the bloodstream actually slow down the body’s
process of burning fat, known as lypolysis. In addition, Atkins supporters
claim that because of the chemical’s ability to store sugar from the blood
for future use, dieters who eat many carbohydrates will end up with
uncomfortably low levels of blood sugar. This low level will then trigger a
craving for more carbohydrates in the dieters, forming a vicious cycle.
Therefore, Atkins dieters almost completely eliminate their carbohydrate
intakes, taking more protein and fat to offset this loss. The Atkins
Advantage® bar is no exception to this rule, almost completely eliminating
carbohydrates and leaving a scant 2.9 grams of complex sugar. The
developers of this bar claim that the lower carbohydrate content will lead
to a lower blood sugar level, which will in turn, prevent the increase in
insulin levels throughout the body. One must wonder though, if the claims
are indeed true. Recent tests seem to support at least some of this.
After several tests and studies, scientists are able to say with relative
confidence that the Atkins bar actually does reduce blood sugar levels.
Recent studies have found that foods low in carbohydrates do, in fact, lead
to lower levels of blood sugar. Trials that compare blood sugar levels of
dieters who ate a piece of white bread, versus those who ate a...