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10 Lies About The Atkins Diet
I found an interest article the other day and I thought it would be
good to share.
10 Lies About The Atkins Diet
Low carbohydrate diets such as Atkins have always been controversial,
but with the recent wave of new research and publicity, the controversy
is now raging hotter than ever. One headline in the San Francisco
Chronicle said that the battle between the low and high carbers had
become so heated since mid 2002 that "Knives had been drawn."
From my vantage point (as a health and fitness professional down in the
trenches), it looks more like tanks, artillery and machine guns have
been drawn! Tragically, the people being hurt the most by these "diet
wars" are not the experts, but the dieters.
After its original publication in 1972, The Atkins Diet was
regurgitated in 1992 as "Dr. Atkins New Diet Revolution," creating
a new surge of interest in low carbohydrate dieting. Then, in July of
2002, the controversy reached an all time high when the New York Times
Magazine published an essay by Gary Taubes titled, "What if it's
all been a big fat lie?" The article suggested that new research was
now proving the late Dr. Atkins had been right all along.
More research in 2003 seemed to corroborate the Taubes story: Two
studies in the New England Journal of Medicine in May of 2003, and
another in June 2003 in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and
Metabolism, suggested that Atkins was equally, if not more effective
for weight loss than conventional diets - at least in the short term.
With the publication of this new information, Atkins supporters
boasted, "See, I told you so," while their opponents fired back in
defense of their high carb, low fat positions. Meanwhile, low carb
foods and supplements became all the rage, bread and pasta sales took a
nosedive and the wheat industry cried the blues.
With differences in opinion as opposite as the North and South Poles,
it's become unbearably confusing and frustrating to know which weight
loss method is best and safest. At the date of this writing, in late
2003, obesity has reached an all time high -AGAIN! According to the
Journal of the American Medical Association, 64% of Americans are
overweight and 31% are obese, and it's only getting worse.
Obviously, the popular weight loss methods today - including the low
carb diet - are still missing something...but what?
If you're confused by the whole high carb, low carb thing and if
you're frustrated with your attempts at trying to lose weight and
keep it off, then this may be the most important report you will ever
read. In the next few minutes, you'll discover the real truth about
low carb diets and a real solution to the problem of excess body fat.
Read on to learn the 10 Lies about the Atkins diet and the truth that
will set your body free!
Lie #1: The Atkins and other low carb diets don't work
If your definition of what "works" is quick weight loss, then the
Atkins Diet DOES work. Recent studies showed that the Atkins Diet
causes greater weight loss than the American Heart
Association-recommended high carb, low fat diet. In fact, for obese
people with disorders of carbohydrate metabolism (hyperinsulinemia,
hypoglycemia, and insulin resistance), Atkins-style diets have been
shown to work especially well.
However, if your definition of what "works" is permanent fat loss, then
the Atkins diet doesn't fare so well... but neither do any other
diets. It seems that despite some encouraging initial successes,
Atkin's dieters still face the same difficulties keeping off the
weight as everyone else. Some of the same studies showing rapid weight
loss on Atkins in the beginning also showed substantial weight gain as
soon as the diets ended.
Truth is, a growing body of evidence is mounting that carbohydrate
restriction can accelerate weight loss in the short term, but it has
yet to be proven that it keeps the fat off in the long run.
Which approach towards low carb dieting is best is also up for debate:
Not all low carb diets are high fat or ketogenic and not all are
"ultra-low" in carbs. A low carb diet can be low in carbs and high
in fat, it can be low in carbs and high in protein, or it can be
somewhere in the middle.
I predict that continued research will discover that moderate
carbohydrate restriction (especially in a cyclical fashion) and careful
selection of carbohydrates, will in fact assist with fat loss via
hormonal control, metabolic efficiency and appetite regulation. I
believe that neither extreme - the severely restricted low carb diet
(ketogenic diet) or the very high carb, low fat diet - will emerge
Lie #2: There's a ton of new research proving the Atkins diet is
If you surf around the Internet for a while searching for "Atkins
Diet," you are likely to see a lot of advertisements and news briefs
pointing to the new research "proving" that Atkins is effective.
"New England Journal of Medicine Vindicates Atkins diet."
"Studies suggest Atkins diet is safe."
"New research challenges 30 years of Nutritional Dogma."
Truth is, these headlines are not giving you the full picture.
Until and unless you have closely examined these studies and the
researcher's interpretation of the results, don't be so quick to
believe the hearsay.
The general conclusion of nearly all these studies is that Atkins IS
equally if not more effective for short term weight loss than
conventional diets. However, nearly all the researchers also conclude
with remarks such as:
"The results are very preliminary,"
"The take-home message is that this diet deserves further study." "More
research is needed."
Furthermore, consider what the Atkin's diet was being compared to in
these studies: The traditional "food pyramid" diet with 60-65%
carbs including plenty of pasta, cereals and bread, right?
What if the traditional high carb diet is wrong too?
Don't write off carb restriction completely, but don't ditch all
your carbs yet either.
Lie #3: The new studies prove that the Atkins diet is healthy and
doesn't raise cholesterol as previously believed
In a May of 2003, the results of a 12-month study on the Atkins diet
were reported in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM). One group
followed the traditional food pyramid with 60% of the calories from
carbohydrates while the second group followed the Atkins diet.
After one year, Atkins participants had a greater increase in the good
HDL cholesterol and a larger drop in triglyceride than the high carb
group. Gary Foster, the leader of the study said, "Our initial findings
suggest that low carb diets may not have the adverse effects we
Conventional wisdom has dictated for years that saturated fat and
cholesterol were dangerous and unhealthy, contributing to coronary
heart disease. This led most health professionals to condemn low carb
diets that allowed large amounts of saturated fat.
This belief is now being questioned. Many authors such as Mary Enig and
Uffe Rashnkov have presented compelling cases that dietary cholesterol
and saturated fat do not cause heart disease. The latest research seems
to confirm this. However, many factors affected the results of these
In some studies, the subjects did not follow the Atkins Diet to exact
specifications and never entered ketosis, so conclusions about The
Atkin's Diet, ketosis and coronary health cannot be drawn yet. In
other studies, cholesterol-lowering drugs were used. And in still
others, some subjects actually showed increases in total cholesterol.
Those who did show improvements may have previously been on a high
refined sugar, high saturated fat diet and dropping the sugar was one
step in the right direction. Furthermore, some of the drop in blood
cholesterol could be attributed to the decrease in body weight.
Clearly, you can't lump all dietary fats into the same category.
Processed and chemically altered trans fats have been condemned by
virtually every health and nutrition expert on the planet. Other fats,
like salmon and fatty fish, are among the healthiest and
cardio-protective foods you can eat. Much evidence is showing that
reasonable amounts of naturally occurring saturated fats such as those
found in whole eggs and red meat also need not be feared (especially in
the absence of sugars).
Truth is, all the information we have available at this time indicates
the "fat phobia" and "fat makes you fat" scare has been
unfounded because not all fat is the same. However, claims that diets
very high in overall and saturated fat are healthy and safe for long
term use are still premature.
Lie #4: The Atkins diet will help you keep fat off for good
Dr. Atkins writes that his diet "Is so perfectly adapted to use as a
lifetime diet that, unlike most diets, the weight won't come back."
It's a weight loss axiom that the more extreme a diet and the faster
the weight loss, the more difficult it is to maintain the results.
Slow, steady and balanced seems to win the race when it comes to weight
Unfortunately this isn't what most people want to hear. The four
pounds per week and up to 15 pounds in the first two weeks that Atkins
promises sounds much more impressive.
There are two things you really need to know about rapid weight loss:
(1) What kind of weight was lost? How much of it was body fat and how
much was water, glycogen and lean tissue?
(2) Are you going to you keep the weight off for good?
Most low carbers won't keep the weight off for more than a year, and
many will fall off the wagon long before that.
Keith Ayoob, a spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association
(ADA), said in an official ADA statement about the 2003 NEJM studies:
"Twelve months is an equalizer; you hit a wall. Your lifestyle starts
to be affected and you get bored. A high dropout rate is a sign that
extreme diets can be difficult to maintain.
Truth is, despite Dr. Atkin's claims and the new research apparently
supporting them, we still don't know what will happen in the long
run. Based on the results of the recent three, six, and twelve month
studies, researchers have begun to organize longer trials. One of them
will be five years in length.
What you will probably see in long term studies is that Atkins and
other very low carb diets, while effective for weight loss in the short
term, will be found no more effective for long term fat loss than any
other restrictive diet (and that's NOT very effective).
Lie #5: Calories don't count and you can eat as much as you want
while on the Atkins diet.
Dr. Atkins proposed that calories don't count and he advised his
clients to eat as much as they want while on his program. Atkins wrote,
"The so called calorie theory has been a millstone around the necks of
dieters and a miserable and malign influence on their efforts to lose."
Here's the truth about calories and low carb diets:
When you go on a very low carb (ketogenic) diet with more fat, your
appetite is diminished and you feel fuller. Appetite control may be a
legitimate benefit of the Atkins diet, especially for individuals who
struggle with hypoglycemia, hunger and cravings. As Dr. Atkins points
out, "Our physical urges are hard to combat."
However, this does not mean you can eat as much as you want. It means
that your hunger may be blunted on Atkin's plan, causing you to
automatically eat less without counting calories or even thinking about
People on the Atkins diet who lose weight are not eating more than they
burn and losing fat in spite of it. Whether you count calories and
consciously eat fewer than you burn, or you don't count them and
unconsciously eat fewer than you burn, either way, the end result is
While counting calories in the literal sense is clearly not always
necessary, you always have to be aware of calories and portions. No
diet or special combination of foods can override the law of calorie
Anyone who believes that you can eat as much as you want and still lose
weight is living in a dream world.
Lie #6: A brand new study just proved that the Atkins diet gives you a
metabolic advantage so you really can eat as much as you want
A 12 week study conducted by the Harvard School of Public Health and
presented in October 2003 to the North American Association for the
Study of Obesity found that subjects on a low carb regimen lost just as
much weight as those on a standard high carb, low fat diet.
The shocking part was that the group on the Atkins diet could eat 300
more calories than the group eating the conventional high carb food
pyramid diet. This left researchers scratching their heads saying,
"It doesn't make sense - it defies the laws of thermodynamics." "A
lot of our assumptions about a calorie is a calorie are being
Unfortunately, some of the Atkins troops were quick to interpret the
results as meaning, "See, I told you calories don't count."
Actually, calories do count and the explanation for these results is
A calorie is NOT just a calorie. If all calories were created equal
then a 2000 calorie diet of Krispy cr=E8me doughnuts would have the same
effect as a 2000 calorie diet of chicken breast and green vegetables.
Do you really think these two diets will have the same effects on your
health and body composition?
Certain foods and certain diets DO give you a metabolic advantage. One
advantage is the effect of a diet's composition on your hormones;
namely insulin and glucagon.
A second advantage is called the thermic effect of food. The thermic
effect of food means that a certain number of calories are used just to
digest and absorb the food, leaving a net calorie value substantially
less than the total amount of caloric energy that was contained in the
For example, a lean protein food such as chicken breast has a thermic
effect of around 20-30%. This means that for every 100 calories of
chicken breast consumed, the NET energy utilized by the body is only
70-80 calories. (Some people call this "negative calories.")
Stated differently, this means you really CAN lose weight on a higher
calorie intake if you eat foods with a high thermic effect.
What's especially interesting - giving confirmation of the
metabolic advantage of a high protein diet - is that the foods
provided in this particular study were low carb, but NOT typical Atkins
fare. Instead of lots of red meat and saturated fat, the subjects ate
mostly fish, chicken, salads, vegetables and unsaturated oils.
I think study's director, Penelope Green, hit the nail on the head
when she said, "Maybe they (the low carb, high protein group) burned up
more calories digesting their food."
Truth is, not one study has ever proven that you can "eat as much as
you want" on Atkins or any diet. Even when a diet provides a
metabolic advantage, AFTER that advantage is factored in and you look
at NET calorie utilization, you are still left with the calories in
versus calories out equation.
Lie #7: The Atkins diet causes faster and greater FAT loss than
Most health, medical and nutrition organizations recommend that you
lose weight (body fat) at a rate of no more than 2 pounds per week. In
his book, Dr. Atkins says that the average weight loss in the first two
weeks on his plan is 8 to 15 pounds.
Like many diets, Atkins overstresses total weight loss (and quick
weight loss), while not stressing enough the difference between body
weight, body water, body fat and lean body mass.
Truth is, low carb diets definitely cause greater weight loss,
especially in the initial phases. But this is mostly due to a large
drop in water weight and glycogen (stored carbohydrate), not
necessarily increased fat loss.
Weight loss is the wrong goal! Your goal should be permanent fat loss
and you should be measuring and tracking your body fat percentage and
lean body mass on a regular basis.
Don't gloat over large, rapid "weight losses"... it might be
mostly water and muscle.
Lie #8: Carbohydrates make you fat
Dr. Atkins wrote, and I quote, "Carbohydrates are the very food that
makes you fat." He also wrote, "Diets high in carbohydrates are
precisely what most overweight people don't need and can't become
These are very misleading statements of half-truth.
The "carbs make you fat" myth is probably the most pervasive and
damaging lie about weight control ever told. It's caused tremendous
confusion and frustration to already confused and frustrated dieters.
First, focusing primarily on any macronutrient (protein, carbs or fat)
or macronutrient ratio should be secondary to energy balance. What
makes you fat is eating too many calories.
Truth is, you can't blame all "carbohydrates" as a group for why
we are getting fatter. What type of carbohydrates are we talking about?
There are good carbs and bad carbs. The "bad" carbs are the refined
ones; white flour and white sugar products like white bread, white
pasta, sugar sweetened cereals, candy and soft drinks.
To avoid confusion, I would suggest never using the word
"carbohydrate" without putting the adjective "refined" or
"natural" in front of it.
Ironically, Dr. Atkins did make this distinction in his book, yet he
still chose to recommend removal of almost ALL carbs during the
induction and weight loss phases of his diet - even the healthy and
nutrient-dense good (natural) carbs. This creates rapid weight loss and
the appearance of a hugely successful diet right from the first week.
Again, the real questions a What kind of weight was lost and can you
keep the weight off for good?
A healthy, maintainable fat burning diet should be centered on natural
foods - and for most people, that includes natural carbs in
moderation - not the total removal and demonizing of all carbohydrates.
Lie #9: Ketosis makes you feel better and doesn't affect your
The human organism is neither pure carnivore, nor pure vegetarian. Your
body is a remarkable machine that is fully capable of adapting to
whatever fuel is provided in predominance. You can burn protein, fat,
or carbs for energy and most people can adapt well to using dietary fat
for energy after a short adjustment period. However, carbohydrates are
your body's preferred - and most efficient - fuel source for
strength training and vigorous physical activity.
Many low carbers believe that fat is a more efficient energy source
than carbohydrates, but this is not true. Fat is not a more efficient
energy source, it is only a more concentrated energy source.
Since the fuel for muscular contraction is carbs (glycogen) a high fat,
low carb diet is not the best approach to fat loss for athletes,
bodybuilders or highly active individuals. These diets simply don't
support high intensity training.
Very low carb diets might be a temporary quick fix for the sedentary,
severely overweight, or those with orthopedic conditions that prevent
any exercise. It seems that ketogenic diets take off weight even with
little or no exercise (although the weight loss won't be pure fat and
you may not keep it off). Some Atkins dieters even report feeling more
energetic after adapting to the low carbs and high fat. It's likely,
however, that most of them were relatively inactive. Low carbs and high
activity don't go well together.
Truth is, a more balanced diet of natural foods combined with exercise
is a much better way to take off pure fat for good.
Anyone who CAN exercise SHOULD exercise! Of the two methods for
creating a calorie deficit - burning more, or eating less - the
former is the superior method with far fewer downsides. Any fat loss
program that does not make exercise the centerpiece is ultimately
destined for failure.
Lie #10: Ketogenic diets (very low carb) are the secret to fat loss
The term "low carb" is used very broadly. To some, a diet like the
Zone, which consists of 40% carbs is "low carbs." To others, "low
carb" is more extreme. A ketogenic diet is a VERY low carb diet,
usually between 40-70 grams of carbs per day or less. The induction
phase of the Atkins diet is limited to only 20 grams per day.
Because they allow virtually no carbohydrate, ketogenic diets, by
definition, are extremely strict and nutritionally unbalanced. It's
an irrevocable law that the more "extreme" a nutrition program is,
the greater the side effects and the more difficult the diet will be to
Dr. Atkins claimed, "Ketosis is the secret weapon of super effective
Truth is, while some recent studies have suggested low carb diets do
work, not a single study has proven that it's necessary to restrict
carbs so severely that you go into ketosis.
The benefits of reduced carbs and more protein/fat include a higher
thermic effect, appetite regulation and hormonal control. What the low
carb folks don't want you to know is that a moderate reduction in
carbohydrates (and/or removal of processed carbs) is often all it takes
to get these benefits, while being much easier to maintain for the long
So if ketogenic and very low carb diets aren't the best way to
achieve permanent fat loss, then what is the best way???
Dr Atkins made many excellent points about weight control in his book.
He spoke out on the evils of processed carbohydrates. He identified
carbohydrate sensitivity and hyperinsulinemia as contributing factors
in obesity. He spoke of the metabolic advantage of high protein. He
pointed out that there may not be a direct one to one correlation
between saturated fat, dietary cholesterol and heart disease.
To his credit, Dr. Atkins had discovered some important facts about
weight control, and had the courage to publish and stand by them long
before anyone else did. In the end, unfortunately, he drew some
questionable conclusions from this information and, like so many other
diet gurus, he left out some large and important pieces to the puzzle.
If permanent fat loss were as simple as removing carbohydrates from
your diet, then why has obesity surged to an all-new high in 2003 and
why are there so many Atkins failures?
Could it be possible that the conventional high carb, low fat food
pyramid approach and the Atkins diet approach have BOTH missed the
mark, and that the optimum diet for permanent fat loss is somewhere in
Could it be possible that dieting is the absolute worst way to lose
body fat and that the proper type of exercise program combined with a
more balanced approach to nutrition is the answer?
One of the biggest errors weight loss seekers make today is to accept
one philosophy completely or reject it completely. They take a side and
"take up arms" to defend their position without considering the
merit of each individual piece of the philosophy. Most of the weight
loss programs being promoted today contain perfectly valid points, but
as a whole, are a total mish mash of truth, half-truths and lies.
That's why, for over 20 years, I have literally turned myself into a
human guinea pig in my search for a sensible and healthy method of
permanent fat loss. I studied and then personally tested the low carb
diet, the high carb diet, and nearly every other diet in between. I
found good points and bad points in all of them, many of which I have
already revealed to you in this report.
I then compiled all the positive points of each fat loss method into a
structured format, while discarding all the negatives. What emerged was
nothing short of remarkable: An all-natural system that has allowed me
to peak at a body fat level of 3.4% and to maintain my body fat at 9%
or less all year round, for the last 15 years... without drugs, extreme
diets, or unnecessary supplements. It's worked for thousands of other
If you would like to learn exactly what I discovered about permanent,
natural fat loss from two decades of study and experimentation... and
if you'd like to learn how it can help you escape the diet wars for
good, and finally achieve the body you've always wanted, I encourage
you to visit my fat loss web page at
http://hop.clickbank.net/?kelliott07/burnthefat and take a look for
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