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Why The Atkins Diet is TOTALLY WRONG!

Have You Tried The Atkins Diet ?
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The most important step to minimize Glycation is to reduce our exposure to glucose. We’ve now seen that glucose has a direct toxic effect on our body’s proteins. It has further effects in poisoning the mitochondria, the cell’s energy powerhouse. We’ve had to address the love affair our medical Establishment has with the belief that carbohydrates are the primary foodstuff we need to consume.

We’ve also discussed how and why the information you need to be healthy remains hidden from you. Now, if you decide to follow a carb-restricted diet, it’s highly likely that your first exposure is to the plan presented by Dr. Robert Atkins, first published in 1972.I now want to describe the flaws in that plan and since we have multiple purposes here: preventing Glycation and also to use the low-carb protocol for weight loss and weight control, it’s important to understand the limitations to his plan.

I’ve spent a considerable amount of writing assailing Dr. Robert Atkins’s version of the low-carbohydrate diet, and for good reason. During the late 1980’s I turned to that diet and promptly gained 5 pounds. Dismayed over what I expected to be the miracle claimed by Dr. Atkins, I had to dissect the diet to find out why it had failed me and many others as well.

Because of the worldwide popularity of the Atkins’s program, we need to focus ourselves on the reasons not to follow his advice. I’ve spent well over 18 years helping Atkins’s failures achieve their weight loss goals. I believe the number of people failing on his program is not insignificant in spite of Dr. Atkins’s claims to the contrary.

This is unfortunate because the Atkins name has become synonymous with the low-carbohydrate diet.
When his version fails to help people meet their weight loss goals, they blame the low-carbohydrate diet, not Atkins’s version of it. They then give up on one of the most powerful diets, low-carbohydrate eating, for controlling appetite and hunger.

They start all over again, jumping from diet plan to diet plan, looking for an effective one, but never again availing them of a low-carbohydrate diet because that diet “failed.” What they don’t understand is that it was the Atkins’s version that failed, not the low-carbohydrate diet, itself.

Because of Atkins’s powerful influence on millions of people, it’s important to analyze thoroughly his claim concerning his version of a low-carbohydrate diet. In fact, the United States Department of Agriculture invited Dr.Atkins to appear as an expert panel member in that Department’s analysis of popular diet programs. It’s striking to me that they turned to Dr. Atkins particularly after all of the criticism he’s received.

Of all the negative claims made against Atkins, I’ve never seen a detailed discussion that analyzes his theories’ inconsistencies and downright errors. My goal, therefore, is to present an exhaustive analysis of the shaky scientific ground on which Atkins’s theories stand.

The principal claim made by Dr. Atkins is that one needs to set no limit to the amount of food he eats as long as those foods are restricted in carbohydrates. Obviously, this claim defies what every professional nutritionist accepts as the one fundamental truth in nutritional science: calories count. How is it, then, that Atkins came to disagree with this basic nutritional principle? Let’s see.

Atkins has, over the years, steadfastly maintained his position that the calorie theory is a myth. He tells us that many doctors believe that the only way to lose weight is to strictly control one’s intake of calories. He further states: “Doctors brought up in this school of thought will tell their patients that all diets are basically equal in regard to their weight-loss potential. The only thing that matters is how many calories you take in!”

Atkins disagrees with this school of thought and states: “This just isn’t so.” He tells us that a low carbohydrate diet provides metabolic advantages that allow one to eat as many calories as one ate before starting the carbohydrate-restricted diet and lose weight at the same time.

Some, indeed, he says, can eat even more calories and still lose weight. He states further that it’s not that “calories don’t count” (somewhat confusing us since he maintains that, in fact, they don’t count), it’s that you can just sneak the calories out of your body, unused or dissipated as heat. Atkins is a medical doctor, not a scientist, and as such, he rejects what every nutritional scientist knows as fact: the Laws of Thermodynamics.

Early in the book, Atkins places his ‘facts’ on the table. Let’s look at each and respond.

Atkins’s Fact #1: Almost all obesity exists for metabolic reasons: disturbances of normal metabolism, in effect a disease. He tells his readers that most studies have shown that obese people gain weight eating fewer calories than people without a weight problem.

Response: It’s now well established that obesity is not a result of genetic or metabolic problems but is, in fact, the result of environmental or behavioral pressures (for example, overeating or too little physical activity). For years there was a heated debate as to whether obesity was a product of the fact that obese people burned fewer calories than non-obese people.

Mis-reporting of food intake, particularly in obese people, is sometimes as much as 50%, or more, of their total daily calorie intake. In this case, an individual consumes 3,000 calories a day, but reports only an intake of 1,500 calories.

Dr. Gilbert Forbes tells us: “The finding of elevated energy expenditure in overweight subjects is so consistent, regardless of the method used, that any survey (see the Atkins survey of Harry Kronberg, below, as an example) that fails to show an increase in the mean caloric intake of a group of overweight subjects should be considered unrepresentative of their usual nutrient intake.”

So, I believe that Atkins had been stumped in the same way as the early researchers. Let’s look at an example that he presents in his book. He describes his meeting with a 39-year-old male, Harry Kronberg, whose height is 5 feet 6 inches and weight, 280 pounds. Atkins claims that Harry gained 70 pounds in the three years previous to reporting to the Atkins’s clinic while consuming a starchy, low-fat diet of approximately 1,700calories a day.

By using my technique of “putting-it-to-the numbers,” we discover that Harry was just another one of the many food intake mis-reporters. As we’ve learned, we can readily predict people’s calorie burn through the use of formulas developed during the last 100 years.

I applied these formulas to Harry and found that his Resting Metabolic Rate (RMR) at 280 pounds was 2,095 calories a day, almost 400 calories more than Harry claimed he was eating! Assuming a normal sedentary lifestyle, Harry’s Total Daily Energy Expenditure (TDEE) would be 1.55times his RMR, equaling 3,247 calories a day. Harry, therefore, according to the formula, mis-reported his food intake by a whopping 1,547 calories a day, under reporting what he ate by approximately 48%.

Atkins’s Fact #2: The metabolic disturbance in obesity is related to high insulin levels and insulin resistance.

Response: I can’t really disagree with his point about insulin, but it’s not a metabolic disturbance suffered only by the obese. It’s my argument that eating lots of carbohydrates is bad for one’s body and that people should consume little carbohydrate, in contrast with most “expert’s” opinions. Therefore, everyone has some difficulty with carbohydrates because human biochemistry is such that it converts carbohydrates into fat.

Atkins’s Facts #3 and #4: The metabolic defect involving insulin can be circumvented by restricting carbohydrates. Atkins says: “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.”

Response: Atkins told Harry Kronberg to eat as much as he wanted when beginning the carbohydrate-restricted diet. But the calories Harry ate when beginning the carbohydrate-restricted diet were far fewer than the calories consumed on his typical ‘mixed’ diet, despite Atkins’s claim otherwise.

Atkins calculated that Harry’s food intake on the carbohydrate-restricted diet was similar to the reported 1,700 calories he ate previous to following the Atkins’s program. If this were true - that Harry really was eating 1,700calories a day on his pre-Atkins’s diet — he would have lost weight because he needed about 3,200calories a day to live based on the metabolic rate calculations I’ve described, before. The fact is, however, that Harry was eating even more than 3,200calories a day on his pre-Atkins diet because he gained 70 pounds over three years.

Nothing else is possible. A reduction in Harry’s food intake via carbohydrate restriction to 1,700 calories a day would surely have caused him to lose weight. Of course, in his quest to lose weight, he could have eaten any type of food he wanted, as long as he restricted his calories to 1,700 a day!

Atkins Fact #5: A carbohydrate-restricted diet is so effective at dissolving fat that it can create fat losses greater than occur in fasting.

Response: This statement is simply absurd. Atkins’s justification for making this statement arises from his use of error-filled research papers and also from the fact that he doesn’t believe in the calorie theory and wants to sell books promising miracles.

Atkins tells us that he used to believe that people gained weight because they ate too much, but that he became enlightened when he learned that overweight people don’t overeat. Assuming that overweight people don’t overeat was a major mistake. As I’ve discussed, overweight people become overweight because they eat too much, a fact understood for the last 20years, a time during which Atkins could have modified his program for re-publication in 1992 and again in 1999.

He chose not to correct his errors maybe because he wanted to be consistent with his earlier writings? I don’t know why. Again, overweight people mis-report their food intake. Whenever an overweight person is placed in a confined environment and fed the number of calories he says that he consumes, he always loses weight. Atkins claims that he’s treated people living on700-800 calories a day who couldn’t lose weight by following a normal, carbohydrate-loaded diet.

This is unlikely because 700-800 calories is consistent with a state of starvation, an intake of daily calories that will, eventually, lead to death by starvation. By placing them on his diet, Atkins says, they lost weight even when consuming more calories.

He says: “When I make this claim, that you can lose more weight on a higher number of calories, I seem to be breaking the law — one of the hallowed laws of thermodynamics. Many powers-that-be get terribly provoked when I repeal their laws. But the calorie theory is a false law that is meant to be broken, and ketosis/lipolysis is the instrument for breaking it. ”On whose authority does he break the well established Law, the Law to which all reputable scientists subscribe? We shall see that it is his own “authority,” one based on errors, misinterpretations, and falsehoods.

Do not follow the Atkins version of the low carbohydrate diet!
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replied February 28th, 2012
I followed the Atkins diet and lost 107 pounds in 4 1/2 months - and came off my hypertension meds, my diabetic meds, my diuretics, my CPAP machine for sleep apnoea. I never had more energy and felt so well. All without exercise - i guess his pronises were true to my experience.
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replied March 24th, 2012
low carb atkins diet
Please tell me exactly which version of a low carb diet that I should use. I feel great on low carb diets, but I can't seem to lose any weight on them.
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replied May 25th, 2012
I have had great success with low carb. I am a big eater so this diet worked great for me. I found that to get started I totally pigged out on protein. Had three egg omelet (egg and cheese) with hot sauce, cheese slices, deli meat, steak, salad, mustard, pork rinds, cream cheese, broccoli, cauliflower, salsa, pimento cheese. If you seriously restrict for two weeks all of your cravings will disappear and you will find that you are unable to eat large amounts of these foods. I lost my weight in no time and now pretty much eat any foods that I want made from scratch minus rice, wheat (of any kind), corn, sugar, potatoes. I can alter almost any recipe to suit. Best of luck to you.
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