Thursday, September 19, 2019

The Safety and Long-term Effectiveness of the Atkins Diet :: Health Nutrition Diet Exercise Essays

Low-carbohydrate diets, such as the Atkins diet, may not be the best choice for weight loss due to long-term ineffectiveness, potentially negative side effects and a lack of long-term research. Ever since the recent popularization of the Atkins diet researchers have been trying to prove Dr. Atkins’ claims and determine whether or not the diet is safe. The current body of research available on dieting supports a diet low in fat and high in complex carbohydrates with an emphasis on calorie reduction. Studies have also shown a strong link between diets high in fat and both increased cholesterol and increased risk of heart disease. The Atkins diet is the opposite of what has generally been recommended; it requires the reduction of carbohydrates to 5% or less of total calories leaving fat and protein to make up the rest. The high fat and low-carbohydrate content of this diet goes against most diet research, has potentially harmful side effects and there is insufficient e vidence to judge the long-term effectiveness of the Atkins diet. The long-term effectiveness can be determined by the ability of dieters to lose and maintain weight loss with few negative side effects. Weight maintenance is as important as weight loss to long-term health. One nutritionist said, â€Å"the American public needs to be told that diets are not followed for 8 days, 8 weeks, or 8 months, but rather form the basis of everyday food choices throughout their life† (Blackthorn). The Atkins diet may act more as a quick fix without really offering a long-term solution. Preliminary studies show that the Atkins diet is unable to maintain weight loss. While low-carbohydrate diets do initially cause weight loss, most dieters begin to regain weight after six months. One study showed that, after 12 months, dieters following the Atkins diet had regained over 30% of weight that they had lost in the first six months on the diet, dropping from 7% cumulative body weight loss at six months to 4.4% cumulative body weight loss at 12 months. This weight gain may in part be due to the difficulty dieters have in following the dietary recommendations, but if the Atkins diet cannot help dieters keep the weight off than it is no better than any other diet we have and the side effects may be worse.

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